South London based drapes and soft goods specialist Cover It Up delivered a number of ingenious scenic and aesthetic solutions to their client, The Hospital Group, for the launch of Sky Atlantic's new HD entertainment TV channel, staged at the TSO venue in Nine Elms, Vauxhall, London.
The project was managed for Cover It Up by Elliot Stennett, and made use of their extensive stock of different coloured velvets, and was asked onboard after working on many previous projects for the Hospital Group and event producer, Selina Robson.
For this one, their brief involved the complete draping of the main room, a gala dinner for 350 VIP guests with 2 stages hosting speeches, awards, live entertainment, plus a separate casino room and after-party area.
“We had to transform this somewhat prosaic warehouse space into a beautiful and glamorous setting for the occasion,” explains Stennett, who created the environmental design proposal for the draping based on a detailed brief from the client. His previous knowledge of the venue was a big asset in knowing what would work.
A semi-circular drive-through entranceway was created in an annex to the main space from black wool serge drape, This is normally used as storage for double-decker London tourist buses, but for the event, arriving guests would pull up and disembark their vehicles which then drove straight off and out again to keep the traffic flow quick and efficient. This involved about 300 square metres of black wool serge material flown from steel wire rope in the ceiling, with some on pipe-and-drape.
From there, guests walked through a tunnel and then into a bar area, which Cover It Up had draped out with sumptuous plumb coloured velvet, featuring 6 metre high walls with a casement roof of black cotton fabric. The drape was rigged to trussing, with the fabric making the roof stretched taught to contrast with the fullness of the draped walls.
The walls of the main room featured a complete wrap of smart black velvet and were also flown on trussing. The velvet went from the floor to the height of the trussing, and the look was then finished off with a layer of back trevira suspended on steel wire rope between the top of the ceiling and the top of the truss line, creating a 14 metre height of black all around.
At one end were the 2 stages, a central one for the Awards presentations and speeches and one to the side for the band. Cover It Up backed both of these with 12 metre wide drops of blue velvet, complete with a header that concealed the top of a large HD screen measuring 10 metres wide by 7.5 tall, and a set of legs. This was all in the same matching blue velvet, and was a new set of custom drapes made up in Sky Atlantic's electric marine corporate blue colour.
To the side of one of the main room walls was the casino room, created as a 15 metre square space, walled in 6 metre drops of red velvet and a black casement roof.
In the back-of-house area a set of sections for dressing rooms, green rooms, production offices, toilets, etc, were created by the Cover It Up team using approximately 50 sets of pipe-and-drape.
The get in took place over 4 days with 6 Cover It Up crew on the first 2 days, 2 on the second two days and for show day, ramping up again to 8 for the out.
The challenge was matching all the colours up over the several large surface areas that were draped, getting the blue of the new drapes spot-on and the logistics of building the base areas of the event in such a way that lighting, sound, video, staging and other departments could also work, sometimes simultaneously, installing their elements of the event.
Cover It Up's extensive stock of velvets meant that 90% of the requirements could be met from what was already in their warehouse, which also speeded up the planning and preparation.
The end result was spectacular, the client was delighted and a keynote speech by HBO's CEO mentioned that it was one of their best launch events to date.
For more press info. on Cover It Up, please contact Louise Stickland on +44 (0)1865 202679/+44 (0)7831 329888 or Email [email protected]'. To contact Cover It Up direct, call +44 (0)20 7635 7080 or check www.cover-it-up.com