Chauvet on the carpet in Brussels’ Grand Place
Thursday, 8 November 2018
brusselsflowercarpet2-wThe Biannual Flower Carpet in the Grand Place
Belgium - Once every two years, Brussels’ Grand Place becomes even more breath-taking as its cobblestone surface is transformed into a magnificent carpet of colour by over a half million flowers. Artfully arranged in an intricate design, the floral panorama flows gracefully, softening the gilded baroque buildings that surround it to create a vista of almost mythical beauty.
Like most enchanting creations that seem to spring forth naturally, the Biannual Flower Carpet at the Grand Place is in reality the result of intensive planning and hard work. In 2018, a team of 200 volunteers laboured for six hours to install the carpet the day of the event. Illuminating their efforts and tying the floral display into the square’s historic buildings was a carefully developed lighting design by Geoffrey Oelbrandt of Studio Artfex that included Chauvet Professional Rogue R3 Wash fixtures, supplied by Deltarent.
"Despite the beautiful historical location, it’s a remarkable challenge to generate a technical production for a flower carpet of 70 by 24 meters,” said Oelbrandt, who also lit the 2016 Biannual Flower Carpet. “The technical installation has to merge into the surroundings, being very discreet, while still producing a maximum effect." 
Although the load-in for the event was relatively short - all was installed in one day - the programming of the LEDs on the square’s buildings took two days. "The last night before the opening, we finalised the entire show," says Oelbrandt. "Our LO Glenn De Clerck and the entire team at Studio Artfex deserve a great deal of credit for making this happen." 
The results of Oelbrandt and the Artfex team’s efforts were nothing short of astonishing. They didn’t merely light the multi-coloured begonias that made up the carpet; they used lighting and video to add depth and texture to the display, endowing it with a sense of movement that captivated the more than 120,000 people who turned out for the event.
Lighting was also used to colorize the surrounding buildings, including the famous Brussels Town Hall and the Museum of Brussels, which is housed in the Maison du Roi. Coordinating the colours of the buildings with those of the flower carpet, Oelbrandt gave the square a sense of intimacy, making it seem more personal and welcoming.
The 12 Rogue R3 Wash fixtures Oelbrandt used played a key role in helping him create his immersive array of colours. Positioned on two 9m portal frame trusses outside the third floor of the Museum of Brussels, the RGBW LED moving fixtures were used to project light 40 meters to the carpet. Drawing on the fixture’s wide 12° - 49° zoom range, he was able to vary coverage area, which helped him achieve the sense of movement on the carpet that he was after.
An equal number of spotlight fixtures joined the Rogue units in lighting the floral display. Other beams and projectors were used to project light and video on the carpet and buildings. LED strip fixtures, which were controlled via DMX by means of a 3D visualiser, provided added colours to the historic buildings, coordinating them with the illuminated carpet.
(Jim Evans)

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