Robe took a completely different approach to the 2015 PLASA London expo, creating a fully immersive piazza environment in their ‘Arena’ space – the largest stand on the exhibition floor - which became a showcase for the latest products built for theatres from the Czech manufacturer, including the new DL7S Profile, the latest DL4 range and the BMFL Blade … amongst others.
The stand design was inspired by the magnificent decorated marble and painted stucco of the Palacio Nacional (National Palace) in Mexico City, the seat of the federal executive which is located on the city’s main square, El Zócalo. Much of the current Palacio’s building materials are from the original palace that belonged to Moctezuma II during the Aztec Empire.
To replicate this as practically and effectively as possible at the ExCeL Centre, Robe collaborated closely with drapes specialists J&C Joel who provided some elaborate digitally printed scrims, plus ‘cobbled’ flooring and black drapery which was installed by their crew.
The show-stopping stand lighting was programmed to accentuate the environment and included a full transformation alternating between night and day, complete with custom soundscape… birds tweeting during the day, crickets stridulating at night, etc.
This highlighted the many subtleties, nuances and the intricate detail that can be achieved by utilising the range of featured Robe fixtures, as well as underlining the importance of the theatre market.
Centre stage of the product line-up was the powerful new DL7S Profile luminaire. This LED fixture is impressing key players in the theatre and performance lighting community with its homogenised source, ability to produce perfect skin tones, its excellent tungsten emulation, subtle and intricate full spectrum colour mixing and high colour rendering index. All these are ideal characteristics for theatre and TV applications.
The flow of people around the stand was carefully calculated and managed. Inside the ground floor arches of the Piazza were a series of demonstration areas, where visitors could receive full product demos and also see the products close up.
Other arches provided integrated yet distinct areas for Anolis, Robe’s architectural LED sister company, and for haze and fog specialists MDG which is distributed by Robe UK.
The positioning of Anolis enabled this area to function as a relaxed independent-but-related meeting space, and the set-up also encouraged interest from those wanting to discuss potential architectural and architainment projects.
Robe’s hourly rock lighting show – an exhibition favourite - was concealed behind a set of theatrical tabs which also resembled the Palacio façade. These opened ahead of an extremely energetic lightshow revealing various other new and launched products – including Square, the ColorStrobe, the PATT 2013 and the BMFL Blade – blasting around the stand, drawing enormous crowds every day.
Another big hit with the audiences was the “One Man One Light” performance, staged in a separate ‘black box’ space, where top South African theatre lighting designer Michael Broderick demonstrated the immense range of elegant, beautiful and dramatic effects that can be produced using just one single Robe BMFL Blade luminaire with a ‘back-to-basics’ creative starting point.
The One Man One Light Show – which debuted in Johannesburg in July and also played the Hilton Arts Festival in Durban in September – was invited to London by Robe’s CEO Josef Valchar. It played four times a day to a packed house every time.
Robe CEO Josef Valchar comments, “We have enjoyed a fantastic show. People have really taken our theatrical approach seriously and also appreciated the amount of planning and hard work that went into delivering the entire presentation concept. We have had enormous amounts of positive feedback”.
Photos: Louise Stickland