A range of scenic elements were incorporated into the design (photo: Louise Stickland)
Sweden - Working closely with technical director Ola Melzig, as well as production designers Frida Arvidsson and Viktor Brattstrom, Tait's European division supplied elements for the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmo. The design concept was to bring the audience and artists physically closer together and bring an intimate live experience to the next level. A three dimensional environment was created on stage, with impressive depth and multiple layers creating interesting landscapes for the live audience and televised broadcast.

Tait provided a 450sq.m rolling main stage, including a downstage apron, pantograph stairway and four flaggapault lifts for dynamic performer stage entrance and exit. A catwalk leading to a B-stage was also provided, integrated into the B-stage was a triple scissor lift that could move up to 6m above the arena floor.

A range of scenic elements were incorporated into the design, including an upstage ground supported projection wall, with two flown centre sections. Two 14m tall scenic arches were fabricated using a steel framework and support ballasts that was then clad with a scenic stress skin panel comprised of fibreglass, polystyrene and brushed aluminium panelling.

The arches were integrated with lighting elements and positioned to frame each side of the stage. To complete the design, a 45m wide ground-supported scenic landscape projection wall sits behind the arches. The rear projection wall was installed utilising a ground support structure created with rental truss. At its centre, an 18 metre wide portion of the wall was rigged with variable speed chain motors which allowed the designers to open and close the wall, creating alternate lighting and projection effects.

Sixty two kinetic sculptures were also hung from variable speed 'Micro Winches' throughout the Malmo Arena. 48 of the octahedron shaped units were suspended over the audience, with the remaining 14 units hung over the mainstage. Each unit is controlled by five channel wireless DMX; 3 channels for the RGB LED inside the fixtures, and two channels for their speed and position. All of the units were controlled by the lighting operator via an Art-Net patch to TAIT/FTSI's award winning Navigator control system. By making each unit individually controllable with regard to colour, speed, and position, we provided one cohesive large sculpture that is constantly changing, which allows the designers to create an endless variation of looks.

Tait designed, prototyped, manufactured and installed the 62 variable speed 'Micro Winches' in seven weeks. Designed as a dual line winch that uses an electromechanical lifting line with a low voltage line running through its core, it allows power and data to be integrated into the lifting lines, resolving cable management issues.

A 36m long flying bridge was also created for performer entrance over the audience to the B stage. The bridge consists of 22 variable chain motors and has integrated scenic fascia/handrail as well as integrated lighting positions. The immense 9980kg bridge begins at the second tier at the front of house stage left position and spans over the audience four metres above the ground, allowing 25 people to cross at a time. The B-Stage Triple Scissor lift raises up to meet the bridge and performers access the catwalk that is connected to the mainstage via a removable set of scenic stairs.

Ola Melzig, technical director said, "It's been a true pleasure working with Tait. Their innovations, their quality, precision and finish is just stunning. I've never seen anything even close to this level of performance. We are all amazed with what Tait has been able to give us for Eurovision 2013."

There will be full coverage of Eurovision 2013 in LSi magazine's July issue - coming soon.

(Jim Evans)

Latest Issue. . .