Blueprint's Alvaro Prol promises more privacy and more intimacy at M.I.A.

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      Blueprint’s newest Vancouver nightclub, M.I.A., will offer patrons an opportunity to fly a little lower under the radar.

      “We want people to keep their phones in their pockets,” Blueprint co-owner Alvaro Prol told the Straight by phone. “We don’t want people taking photos of the DJ and their friends.”

      M.I.A. opens on March 26 in the space formerly occupied by Shine Nightclub at the corner of Cordova and Water streets. Signs inside M.I.A. will politely ask people not to text-message or snap images.

      Prol said that he’s not opposed to the use of social media, but in this space Blueprint wants people to feel like they’re at an intimate house party.

      “You don’t want to be that jerk on the phone or using the flash to take pictures because you’re just not living and talking to people around you,” Prol said.

      M.I.A.’s entrance will be at 350 Water Street, which is east of the old entrance to Shine. Clubgoers will enter a tunnel and from there, they’ll emerge inside a lush purple and red room, supplemented by L.E.D installations.

      According to Prol, a huge open-concept bar takes over the former staircase area in Shine. There will also be second bar serving sake and mixed green-juice cocktails.

      “Nothing is the same,” Prol said. “It’s a brand-new build. It’s a total flip of the space.”

      M.I.A. enables patrons to go off the grid, so to speak.

      One of the highlights is the Funktion One sound system, which Prol described as “world renowned”.

      “The best clubs in the world have it,” he noted. “We hid most of the system underneath the booths and then we’ve exposed the horns so you can see them. It will have a really sexy look.”

      At M.I.A., the company plans to feature emerging artists on weekends and some international acts during the week.

      Blueprint operates five other clubs in Vancouver: the Caprice, Venue, L.E.D. Bar, Celebrities, and Fortune Sound Club. M.I.A. is in the same building as Blueprint’s new Gastown office.

      Prol pointed out that the city’s historic district has drawn more clubgoers in recent years, including some who also spend time at the company's Granville Street locations.

      It appears that Gastown is also becoming more popular to investors. Prol revealed that Blueprint’s building was recently sold to a buyer from Dubai. The company has long-term leases on its office space and the nightclub, so there are no plans to move.

      So who will be the clientele at M.I.A.?

      “We’re hoping to have cultured people who are down with more of a sophisticated environment,” Prol said. “We are proud of the product we’ve put together from the branding to what we’ve done with the space itself.”