Carnival of soles


High-energy dancing and rock and roll were all part of the product presentation as Skechers reinforced its niche in the hip shoe market at Super Show 99 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta last February. "Skechers took over the 54,000-sq.-ft. (4,860 sq. m) Murphy Ballroom to announce it is a major player in the shoe world and sporting goods industry," says Peter West, project manager for Lindsay West, a Portland, OR-based corporate special event producer. "They are aiming at a broader market, now that most of the people who wear sports shoes do not wear them to play sports, but to look cool."

With this in mind, West worked with a Skechers in-house design team, including Allen Wix, Marty Brown, and Jason Greenberg, to create an environmental design to convey the Skechers sales philosophy. "Skechers is a state of mind, and an attitude springing from California style," says West. Their environment vibrated with music, video monitors, and a live show inside a space whose translucent blue walls were lit with 80 blue ML-PL9 Osram Sylvania compact fluorescent lamps. Two ribbed entry tunnels were filled with the sound of jet planes taking off.

The rock-style lighting was designed by Greg Cunningham of the Los Angeles office of Lightswitch, with equipment supplied by Light & Sound Design. "We went for hard-edged rock lighting," says Cunningham, who worked with the blue color scheme of the room. The fixtures over the stage were hung on truss like a concert rig, with High End Systems Studio Spots(TM) and Studio Colors(R) controlled by a Flying Pig Systems Wholehog II console with SMPTE time code.

"The booth was a big circle with the stage in the middle and video screens around the perimeter," says Cunningham. "The stage lighting was also used to light the room between performances." His show lighting stayed in the blue theme, with reds and purples added, and a contrasting yellow look for between the shows.

Guests entered the space via an escalator that led to a lobby area where the two ribbed tunnels were lit with chasing blue lights from 36 single-cell cyc units placed on the floor. There were also 36 ETC Source Four PARs placed two-by-two on trussing between the ribs of the tunnels. These had gels ranging from Lee 118 (Light Blue) and 119 (Dark Blue) to Lee 180 (Dark Lavender).

The tunnels led to a reception desk under a round truss with eight Studio Spots, eight Studio Colors, and six Source Four PARs. A central three-dimensional globe display was lit from above by 30-degree Source Fours with irises and L202 half CT blue correction. The gray-carpeted floor was animated with gobos and patterns from the Studio Spots.

With a total lighting package including 112 ETC Source Four PARs, 96 ETC Source Fours, 33 Studio Colors and 35 Studio Spots, as well as two Wholehogs, one ETC Expression console, and four racks of 48x2.4kW ETC Sensor dimmers, plus a dozen 2kW fresnels and 60 PAR-64s, the look was clearly rocking and rolling. "The overall effect was that the audience tended to come into the space and stay," says Cunningham, who also designed the lighting for Skechers' opening night concert with KC and the Sunshine Band. "They treated it like a club. It was a great place to hang out."