As soon as the excitement of the 2016 Brit Awards presentations finished at London’s O2 Arena, the buzz continued through the night as the stellar line up of artists, celebrities, beautiful people and VIPs headed into central London for the after-shows … the most talked about of which was again Warner Music’s extravaganza.
Staged at the Freemason’s Hall in Covent Garden, the full technical and creative production was delivered by Maestra London, led by Justin Hammond, production designer Jenny Woollard, project & event manager Aisha Tarayan and technical managers Adam Jones and Edwin Higgins … working closely with event designer Jason Morais from Warner Music, turning his vision into a reality.
Multi-layered detail was the key to creating a jaw-dropping transformation of the space into a glamourous, chic scenario where guests could party the night away in sumptuous surroundings, enjoying more amazing music.
Setting the visual production apart were the high quality finishes coupled with a slick technical production that complimented another highly memorable Brit Awards.
The scope of Maestra London’s work at Freemason’s Hall included supplying all the technical infrastructure – set, lighting, rigging, audio and all the scenics and décor – including carpeting, furniture, drapage and soft-goods, co-ordinating the colours, styles and all the aesthetics to create five dynamically different spaces.
Making an Entrance
Making an immediate impression - on approach or walk-in - to an environment is paramount to how guests perceive and enjoy their time there, and this year the Maestra team excelled with the rigging of an enormous 2.8 metre diameter mirror ball in the entranceway!
Lit with five Robe Pointe moving lights, this illuminated all the surrounding streets with piercingly bright fragmented light, showering the pavements, roads and surrounding buildings.
Its beacon like appearance represented a complete reinvention of the glitter ball that made headlines across the national press, trended on social media and became a talking point for the whole evening!
It also ensured that absolutely no one could miss the venue!
A ground support structure was designed to fit exactly into the available space and wrapped in sparkly fabric as the 500Kg mirror ball was suspended via a 2-tonne motor.
Once inside, guests could choose to chill in the main space, in two bars or in one of two VIP areas – all with completely different atmospheres.
Lighting & Visuals
Several versions of the Warner Music ‘lozenge’ logo were designed and fabricated for the event and hung at strategic points around the venue to provide subtle brand underscoring. The most visible one had 96 integrated retro-filament lightbulbs and was flown on another ground support structure just after the entrance, popping out 3D style from a mirrored ceiling and back wall which was also part of the set installation.
Ground support structures were installed in three of the five rooms, making it infinitely easier to place lighting and sound kit exactly where needed for best impact and quality. Carefully concealed, the supports were blended so well into the backgrounds and decor that they remained invisible to most!
Moving lights installed throughout the venue were primarily Robes – a mix of Pointes, ROBIN 600E Washes, and LEDBeam 100s – around 52 in total and these plus Martin Atomic strobes were controlled via a ChamSys MQ100 control desk with Playback and Executive Wings.
Eight Star Beam lasers, also controlled via the MQ100, were part of Masetra’s specification and also helped create WOW factors in the main room.
A hundred and fifty CORE ColourPoint wireless battery powered LED uplighters from Wireless Lighting were scattered liberally throughout each area and the connecting walkways and paths, spread out everywhere, doing what they do best, which is washing walls, coves, ceiling details and highlighting other features.
The main room dancefloor was covered in a J&C Joel gloss vinyl surface with additional embossed detail and the DJ booth was clad with gold-sprayed 3D décor tiles.
Carpeting in the first bar was an amalgam of five different colours cut into diamond shaped patterns to reflect the vibe and energy of the space, some of which was infused with glitter.
A 1.7 metre wide shimmering Warner logo was fabricated and hung in this area, while the chandeliers in the corners of the room were fitted with taxidermy birds for some extra playfulness.
LED strip lighting and tape was applied to most of the larger furniture pieces and also installed around the floors in all areas to introduce additional depth and dimension to the rooms, as well as to provide low level practical lighting, so guests could see where to step.
Some discreet and classy David Bowie elements were present in Bar 1 as a tribute to the much-missed creative and musical genius who passed in January. Flashes of orange were incorporated into the décor in Bar 1 and a 2 metre wide by 1 metre high ‘Let’s Dance’ lightning bolt graced the side of the club room wall.
The 8 metre long bar at the centre of the space served as the main bar and nucleus of the party, sponsored by Ciroc vodka and backed by a sumptuous 8 metre wide black velvet drape at the end, and another large Warner lozenge logo flown just above bespoke Ciroc illuminated signage.
Maestra sourced custom LED light strings which were dramatically swagged in from the ceiling to the back of the bar.
The Club Room was also linked to the first VIP room, which was sponsored by Italian fashion label DSQUARED2, and Maestra’s visual treatment which evoked a cool, hip, arty Studio 54 style.
The navy blue carpets were juxtaposed with luxurious silver grey velvet drapes and deep green velveteen sofas. The room lighting featured 7 x Robe PATT 2013s, their fantastic brushed aluminium retro casings on stands offsetting the room perfectly and their warm tungsten glow accentuating the loungey ambience.
The second VIP room was set aside for super-VIPs and personal guests of Warner’s top level executives, and this featured a sexy, slick gentleman’s club feel with lots of different height platforms at the back, 1960’s styled green carpets and swanky modernist furniture, complete with bright bubble-gum pink Warner logos at each end.
Sounding Out the Spaces
Maestra specified d&b sound systems for all the spaces.
In the Main Room two arrays of Y8s and Y12s combined (two of each speaker per side) were installed, powered by D20 amps and with a DiGiCo SD10 / 24 console for the FOH mix and another SD10 full size running the d&b M4 monitors and IEMs onstage, utilised for various DJs and a performance by singer and rising star Anne-Marie.
The subs were ground stacked B2s and Y-SUBS and a selection of mics included a Sennheiser wireless system as part of the audio package.
The bars were both fitted with d&b T10 systems chosen for their compact size, power and excellent quality, again driven by D20s.
Other live performances on the night included Grandmaster Flash and Diplo who played in one of the VIP rooms, while Mark Ronson also took to the decks … for an impromptu DJ set.
“Jenny and the team produced an exceptional job and we are all very proud to have been part of another Warner Music after-party which received so much positive feedback.
“Managing the full production - all the set / décor and creative elements as well as the technical – made the process infinitely easier and ensured consistency and coherent aesthetics throughout” commented Justin Hammond, adding that the client also benefitted from only having one company to liaise with, making the workflow highly efficient.
Maestra London managed up to 60 crew on site at peak times and the challenges were really in the scheduling, especially on site, where everything had to be unfolded like a giant jig-saw and built in a specific order, keeping everything going to avoid departments having too much ‘down’ time.
The get-in commenced on Monday and had to be ready for Wednesday’s show stopping night on the town!