Award winning event technical production specialist Maestra’s UEA based operation delivered rigging, staging, sound, lighting and video / AV for Blend Abu Dhabi, a special event to relaunch the YAS Marina Formula One circuit meeting space.
Attended by event organizers, production companies, suppliers, social influencers, media and other organizations and individuals from across the event spectrum, all with different interests in the world of live events, the pressure was on for Maestra’s team on site, led by project manager Aaron Merchant, to deliver something unique.
They co-ordinated technical production for four different areas, the main conference space, the pit garages, the reception area and entrance and the afterparty staged in the chic, rooftop Luna Lounge.
A stunning sculptural set design for the conference session’s stage was conceived by the YAS Event Centre team and augmented by Maestra, who suggested the lighting scheme which really energized the idea.
The set comprised 28 geometric structures made from semi translucent white sheer material which was stretched over a series of wooden frames in different shapes and various sizes with the largest around 2 metres wide. All were internally lit with a single LED PAR.
The colours and intensities could be changed and chased to great effect creating a fantastic ‘living, breathing’ ambience to the room.
The PARS were all controlled via the ChamSys MQ 60 console which was running the other stage and room lighting which comprised Martin MAC Aura LED Washes and MAC 700 Profiles, all hung on a number of 22 metre long trusses flown from the venue’s structural roof beams.
Towards the back of the venue, Maestra built two 4 metre high ground supported systems onto which a total of eight swings were attached.
One of the objectives for the organisers was to show how conference presentation could be more ‘out-of-the-box than the standard … with funky, edgy and eye-catching aspects all with the potential to capture audience attention and engagement through being interesting and stimulating to look at.
The YAS Event Centre has three inbuilt state-of-the-art Barco seamless edge screens in the main area. Each measuring 8 metres wide by 2 metres tall - and the room itself can be divided into three separate sections if desired using removable walls.
Maestra hooked their Analog Way Ascender 32 multi-screen switcher into the screens so they could be utilised for the conference presentations, with material running on a number of MacBook Pros for the inputs.
The main room’s sound system was a QSC line array comprising six top speakers and two subs with a Yamaha LS16 mixer for control. Sennheiser wireless mics were provided together with a full Clearcom talkback.
Three breakout rooms related to the main conference space were each kitted out with a 75 inch screen, a choice of wireless mics, single speakers and a small mixing desk.
One of the most impressive technical design features of the event was the custom ‘digital entranceway’ built at the top of the steps leading into the building.
This was specially built by Aaron and his crew. The 4 metre wide by 3 metre tall arch was made up of 10mm LED screen, with a 2.5 metre doorway in the middle through which guests passed as they entered the event.
The screen was rigged to a trussing and scaffolding structure built around the doorway, and the arch – fed with content provided by the client running on a laptop via a scaler - had great visual impact and the desired WOW factor effect.
A complete mock-up of the structure was built in Maestra’s warehouse in Dubai to ensure that the concept would work and could be efficiently replaced on site. It proved quite a brain teaser getting the positioning of both structure and screen perfect.
“It was a great example of how LED can be used creatively” commented Aaron, adding that they were very keen to illustrate this to all those present, and start them thinking about how different and interesting objects and effects can be achieved using LED products.
The pit garages were kitted out with a selection of lighting and audio chosen by Maestra in keeping with the overall beach theming of the space, complete with hammocks, loungers and pergolas. SGM P-5 LED floods were used extensively to light the space and imbibe it with a sunset glow.
The sound system comprised Electrovoice speakers, a Yamaha mixer and a selection of mics, and the buffet and refreshment stations were set up in here, so it was important for these to be clearly seen as well as to enhance the ambience with the appropriate lighting and sound.
The reception area featured a 5 x 3 metre surface of Maestra’s 3mm LED surface complete with 10% curve, which the client loved. This was fed with a wide range of content including animations and ambient material.
The lightweight screen – 10Kg per panel - was rigged and up-and-running in an hour and it looked fantastic. The curved screen also adds many more possibilities for building alternative shapes in LED.
The afterparty area in the contemporary Luna Lounge was lit with a selection of MAC Auras, Elation Pro Beam 5R Extremes and MAC 700 profiles, all rigged to four truss totems, there was a Meyer MICA sound system and Maestra also provided a full DJ set up.
Aaron worked with 16 crew for the one day event, twelve Maestra technicians and four locals for the in and the out, with a show crew of himself plus five from Maestra.
“This was a very important project for Maestra Dubai and it was an overall enjoyable experience for us working on the world renowned YAS Marina Circuit.” commented Aaron.
“The Maestra staff heading each department had a free rein to push envelopes in creativity, especially lighting, which resulted in a great experience for the audience. The entire YAS Events Centre staff was very accommodating in ensuring that our delivery was smooth, and the overall result was stunning with many visitors commenting on the entire event and how unique it was to the region.
“We are definitely looking forward to exploring new horizons with our technology and delivering the event again in 2018”.