When Storefront for Art and Architecture celebrated its 30th anniversary with a multi-sensory gala, the institution turned to WorldStage for artful lighting solutions for a very special event.
The gala was the last event held in the decayed grandeur of Temple Court, a hidden treasure at 5 Beekman Street in New York's Financial District. The landmark Victorian brick and terra cotta structure, which boasts a nine-story atrium topped by a glass ceiling, and its annex are slated for redevelopment as a hotel/condominium.
More than 600 guests came together to mark three decades of the SoHo non-profit gallery with festivities that included five commissioned projects, a "Chronotaste" culinary timeline of 30 dishes and a Thirty Something Auction. An afterparty on the ninth floor followed.
"Temple Court is such an inspiring place to work; it's really magical," says WorldStage design director Shelly Sabel. "Storefront anniversary was about exploring time, and this was a space weathered by time but still ornate in its decay."
Storefront wanted an exciting way to usher guests through Temple Court's faded beauty and up to the ninth floor for the celebratory Thirty Something Auction. So the gallery commissioned Sabel to create Beekman Variations, a series of lighting compositions that bring to life the different architectural elements of Temple Court's spine. Guests traveled through the installation on a visual voyage of the nine-story atrium, exploring the multiplicity of spatial narratives in the core of the building.
At the heart of Beekman Variations was "a series of simple lighting solutions positioned on the floor along the balcony railings - they were cued in alternating clockwise and counter-clockwise directions to build and progress, to undulate and transform the spine of the building," Sabel says. "Storefront wanted an almost incandescent quality - not party lights. So I used a soft, neutral palette that didn't distract from the beauty of the building. The lights on the ornate railings made them look gilded."
WorldStage also provided lighting fixtures for a downstairs art installation, stair lights in the atrium, and wireless programmable LEDs, which were positioned on the roof to showcase the building's turrets visible through the elegant skylight. Some of the LEDs were later moved from the roof to the afterparty on the ninth floor where their blue light was reflected in a mirror ball installed by WorldStage.
In a fun salute to the neighboring Woolworth Building, where Storefront had previously held a gala event, WorldStage created a custom template of the gallery's logo and projected an arty version of the bat signal onto the landmark skyscraper. "With the Woolworth Building's permission, we projected the illuminated Storefront logo onto their building from the ninth floor of Temple Court 500 feet away," says Sabel. The unexpected projection surprised and delighted guests.
In fact, everyone agreed that one of the last parties staged in the faded grandeur of Temple Court was a night to remember. "From thought to reality, from concept to action WorldStage is the fastest, easiest, straightest bridge I have ever taken," says Storefront director Eva Franch.
WorldStage Inc., the company created by the merger of Scharff Weisberg Inc and Video Applications Inc, continues a thirty-year legacy of providing clients the widest variety of entertainment technology coupled with conscientious and imaginative engineering services. WorldStage provides audio, video and lighting equipment and services to the event, theatrical, broadcast and brand experience markets nationally and internationally.