Robe helps DesignSpace create drive-through
Friday, 2 July 2021
robe-designspace-23DesignSpace was an immersive drive-through visual extravaganza of light and video art (photo: Micah Rind)
USA - The entertainment technical and production industry has risen to the pandemic challenge with so many prescient and imaginative responses of how to present art, entertainment and stimulate emotional engagement during a time of separation and isolation. None was more innovative than DesignSpace, the brainchild of John Featherstone of US-based design collective Lightswitch.
DesignSpace was an immersive drive-through visual extravaganza of light and video art, presented and curated in close collaboration with John’s contacts at Arizona State University (ASU), and utilising over 160 Robe lighting fixtures, among others.
Working in conjunction with Jake Pinholster, associate dean of ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design & The Arts, plus several student artists, designers, and technicians plus his own team at Lightswitch, John’s concept transformed four levels of concrete functionality within ASU’s main parking garage into a vibrant gallery backdrop for 30 unique pieces of visual art.
These were enjoyed across 12 evenings of shows over a three-week period by approximately 30,000 people in 4,000 vehicles.
To illuminate this pop-up gallery space - both for safe driving and aesthetic reinforcement - John chose four types of Robe luminaires - 78 x Spiider wash beams, 58 x MegaPointes, 14 x ESPRITES and 12 x ColorStrobes. These were part of approximately 800 lights, plus LED screens, media servers, projectors and other lighting, video, and audio kit.
Lighting was supplied by rental specialists Video West with a team led by Donny LoDico and ILC (Intelligent Light Creations), with video and audio also delivered by Video West.
The idea of creating an immersive drive-through light art experience dawned on John as he was thinking about the many final year students on design, production and technical courses who will graduate this year – without having had the usual opportunities of working on major practical projects.
That, coupled with the vast amount of valuable lighting, sound and video equipment that has been lying idle while shows have been on hold, together with the many industry professionals keen and anxious to move forward and beyond this pandemic scenario.
“The bottom line is that it’s really important to nurture our future industry practitioners during the tough times as well as the good times,” John declared.
Once the designed artworks with their plans for realisation were submitted and selected, Lightswitch plotted out a route approximately a mile long embracing all four levels of the car park.
The larger video and projection pieces were located on the top floor and the diversity of smaller projects - from glitter balls to forests of LED tubes - were all accommodated on the lower floors, with a coherent ‘lighting narrative’ linking all of them together.
The different Robe lights were placed on all four levels on an assortment of stands, with many on the floor dramatically striping the drive-path for the vehicles and lighting the backgrounds to some of the art.
All lighting was running on an MA network, programmed by Dennis Connors, Chris Merriman and Hailey Featherstone. John’s daughter Hailey majored in technical theatre at ASU with a focus on lighting design, graduating five years ago to become a lighting professional. Since then, she’s worked for Beyoncé, Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift and Eddie Izzard amongst others.
“ALL the student design pieces were amazing,” states John, adding that the work by HYBYCOZO (Hyperspace Bypass Construction Zone) - a series of large-scale installations that investigate geometric exploration through light, shadow, and perception - was outstanding.

Latest Issue. . .

Tweets from our Friends