What It Is: The Shanghai flagship of a country-wide chain of superclubs. Space Plus started out with a location in Chongqing in 2016, the brainchild of some 27-year-old zillionnaire who plans to open more than a dozen Space Pluses (Spaces Plus?) around China. He also wants to set up a franchise of smaller "Space" clubs, with a planned 44 venues nationwide. Ambitions.
Ours opened up in June, moving into the concrete shell of an old shipping exhibition center on the riverbank north of Lujiazui. Like a monolithic, LED-ridden hermit crab. It's big. It's 'uge. 12,000sqm in total, featuring four distinct partitions that anywhere else in the city would qualify as its own club. By comparison, TAXX, Shanghai's next biggest, is 3,000sqm. The management told us they have nearly 400 employees and they're still understaffed.
Subspace is the smaller techno slash house subvenue, open Thursdays to Saturdays, with a sound system blasting directly into the compact dancefloor and bar, and tiered seating towards the back. The interior has something like 6,000 light units installed, and the whole ceiling lights up like the creatures from The Abyss. Feels like partying in cave in the Marianas Trench.
Photos provided by Space Plus
Towards the back of the complex is Stage, broadly described as the hip-hop room but pretty multi-purpose. It opened in September with space for about 360 people and an outdoor patio that can hold about the same. Catwalk stage, giant LED screen backing the DJ booth, one huge, 'uge disco ball right in the center. And poles! For pole-dancing.
The basement holds a trippy KTV complex with seven themed rooms. 8k-15k minimum spends, we were told. "Very stable money," we were told. Believable! Who wouldn't party in this on a Tuesday.
The main draw is the Main Room, aka "Space Plus." Facing directly onto the riverfront (and the parked yachts of billionaires), the cavernous hall of drinks cabinets and 8-10k minimum check tables is fitted out with a gigantic Funktion One sound system and surrounded by LED plates. When it's all on and running, complete with lasers, dancing holograms and flashing roof installation, it looks like the inside of Armin Van Buuren's head. They have two separate control stations for the lights flanking the DJ... booth doesn't quite cut it. The DJ altar.
As you might expect, the main draw for Space Plus is the big-name EDM shows. A recent line-up reads like a listicle off DJ Mag: Martin Garrix, Afrojack, Gianluca... incidentally, DJ Mag ranked Space Plus the 53rd best club in the world this year. Feel like that tells you everything you need to know about this place. Should have just led with that.
First Impression: God, they put so much money into this. So much money. Even the bathrooms feature these hyper-tech 45k rmb German toilets that heat up, self-clean, light your cigarette and cover for your ass when you get busted. The whole place is just a monument to Chinese megaclubbing. Can the carnal needs of Shanghai's moneyed, EDM-craving youth sustain an aircraft carrier at the end of a cul-de-sac, a 30-minute Didi ride from most of Puxi or a 20-minute walk from the nearest metro? Plus, it's in Lujiazui, which is just another mental hurdle clubbers will have to learn to clear. Where do you pre-game in Lujiazui? Where do you get convenience-store cigarettes at 2am?
Space Plus is for kids with Lambos and cards made of rare metals. Kids who drop five figures at lunch without blinking. The rest of us are just window-dressing and backdrop for their epic, epic parties. But Space Plus is so awe-inspiring it might just be worth that hit to our egos.