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RT Events Team Reflects Artist’s Vision at “Amazônia” with Chauvet Professional
France – “Through my work, I try to achieve perfect balance between light and dark.” Every lighting designer has been moved by this aspiration. These words, though, were not uttered by someone directly involved in lighting design, but by a visionary who has mastered the art of its creative soul twin: photography.
Internationally acclaimed Franco-Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado made this statement in reference to Amazônia, his breath-taking, seven years in the making photographic journey into the still-unspoiled heart of the world’s greatest and most awe-inspiring wilderness.
Salgado’s masterpiece is fittingly celebrated at the Amazônia Exhibition at Palais des Papes, which runs until 30 November. Designed by Lélia Wanick Salgado and accompanied by evocative music from Jean-Michel Jarre specifically written for the occasion, this experience features over 200 black and white photographs that reflect the striking complexity and beauty of the Amazon.
Enhancing the power of the exhibit and making it even more transformative is a beautifully balanced lighting design by RT Events that features 166 Chauvet Professional fixtures.
Subtle and discrete, their lighting manages to add to the exhibit’s immersive effect without ever distracting from the deeply personal experience visitors have losing themselves in the mesmerising photographic images. This accomplishment was not lost on Salgado who noted: “The RT events team did a brilliant job, achieving a strong chiaroscuro that was very consistent with my photography.”
As usual, creating ‘magic’ requires a great deal of planning and hard work. The lighting of Amazônia in the Palais des Papes was no exception. The great chapel of the revered and historic structure where the exhibit took place was completed during the pontificate of Clement VI in 1351. It is a hauntingly beautiful space with excellent acoustics, but it did present challenges as far as the exhibit setup was concerned, especially in light of the scale of this project.
“Given the size of the room (52m by 25m), it was necessary to recreate a complete grill with truss to bring it up to the scale of the expo,” said Eric Tabusso, the project manager “It was necessary to build the extraordinary primary framework (500m of structure) for an exhibition in order to have the right hanging points and lighting angles. Constraints of weight, access (all by hand on the second floor, stairway with 60 steps), and positioning of the feet of structures also were important considerations.”
Complicating the set-up was the building’s official status as an historical structure, which precluded having any hang points on the walls. Nevertheless, the team was able to hang the necessary lighting fixtures, as well as speakers, monitors, sound bars and video projections on square truss to create an all-encompassing visual and auditory experience in three different spaces, the main cathedral and two auxiliary rooms. Impressively, they accomplished this all within a tight time frame, as they were not permitted to work during daylight hours when the general facility was in use.
True to Salgado’s vision of having his work “float” through space, the team created precise fields of light with their 82 Ovation E-910FC and 24 Ovation E-910 FC IP ellipsoidal fixtures. “Some works were very precisely lit with our Ovation ellipsoidals, as we did not want to overflow in light,” said Richard Lespiat, project manager. “The thing was not always obvious depending on the positioning of the works and the projectors. The choice of the E-910projectors allowed us to have great latitude of use and exceptional rendering. Also of great importance was the zoom, which allowed us to adapt perfectly to the sizes of the various photographs.”
Also featured in the rig were 43 Ovation P-56WW and 17 Ovation P-56FC par style projectors. Speaking of these units, Christophe Landry, technical manager noted: “Some areas were lit with the artist's desire to be more diffuse, hence the use of Chauvet Professional par units in addition to the 100W ellipsoidals, to give us an optimal overall rendering. The intensity of each projector has been adapted according to each work with the permanent collaboration of the technical team and the artist.”
The selection of the energy-efficient fixtures also helped the design team deal with the relative lack of power draw in the almost 700-year building. Beyond being LED units, the Ovation projectors produce a high volume of illumination per watt. This allowed the team to use fewer of them at the exhibit.
"RT Events has made a significant investment for this project and for the future, which will allow us to make available an important quantity of ellipsoidals from December", declared Frédéric Malosse, managing director and Alain Hedde, associate director. If the stunningly beautiful work done at Palais des Papes for Amazônia Exhibition is any indication, it was a wise investment indeed.
24th November 2022
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