Airstar provides After Dark centrepiece
Friday, 4 January 2019
balloonOne of the main attractions at After Dark was a 6m inflatable luminous moon (photo: James Wicks)
UK - The award-winning, opulent grounds of 18th-century villa, Chiswick House, served as the canvas for an illuminating display where classical architecture met modern technology, care of renowned lighting designer, Nick Gray from Renegade Design. Several art installations by up-and-coming artist Finn Thomson also featured at the event, which was launched on Thursday 15 November, and ran from Thursday to Sunday until 30 December.
After Dark was billed as a festive extravaganza like no other - which meant no reindeers, fake snow or Santa Clauses in sight. Instead the event organisers opted for vibrant state-of-the-art light displays that offered a sleek, modern and classy experience - as well as providing stunning picture content for snap-happy social media fans - in a breath-taking historical setting with delicious food and drink aplenty.
One of the main attractions at After Dark was a 6m inflatable luminous moon, which was suspended outdoors between the trees and provided the ideal spot for photos and feasting.
Producer / founder of After Dark, Sophie Lemm, reports: “We set out to do something that hasn’t been done before, but we couldn’t have predicted that Serge from Kasabian would create original music for us to use on the house or that we would get to work with other great artists such as Finn Thomson.”
She continues: “From the beginning we wanted to work with Starlight Design. With their experience and prestigious client base we knew we could rely on them to light the grounds. We also have a long-standing relationship with Renegade Design and have worked with Nick Gray on many fashion shows and live experiential events. Sumee Holloway, After Dark founder, and our own lighting expert oversaw the whole process.
“We did our research and spoke with a few different companies before settling on Airstar, who we felt understood our idea very well, and engaged with us from the start in finding solutions for rigging and flying the moon. The service throughout has been constant and unwavering.”
Luke Baudouin, UK events lighting manager for Airstar, comments: “We made some small prototypes in nylon and PVC to see how pronounced the seams would be in different materials. The PVC solution was chosen in the end, as it brought a great glossy finish and the seams were much less obvious. It’s the first time we’ve really worked with PVC material, particularly on a large outdoor project like this.”
He continued: “Once we were happy with the material, we had to run tests using the internal lights. The initial setup of a warm white LED cluster of seven lamps was good, but cold white seemed to have a nicer effect. We also added a dimmer to control the intensity - it only runs at about 10-15% to maintain a level of subtlety, and we’ve employed external lights to hide the seams even further.”
The Airstar Pendulair balloon was fitted with a total of 24x 12W, 4,000 kelvin LED lamps, which were as close to cold white as possible in a dimmable lamp. The LEDs could be switched off during the day to save energy, though the lights and onboard fan were constantly powered and the balloon had an external pressure release valve. All of the exposed hardware was treated with a waterproof solution, so the rain couldn’t interfere.
(Jim Evans)

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