“Lighting the dome at the Globe Arena is a wish come true for me," says Fredrik Jönsson, lighting designer for Eurovision Song Contest at the Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm. "I live around the corner, and this is my home arena."
Jönsson has done hundreds of gigs at the Globe Arena but has never really been able to work on the dome, given its scope. "We have tried it but never had the budget to do it properly before and use it in a design," he says. "The Globe is the world’s largest hemispherical building, and you don’t know that until you get into the arena; you don’t get the perception of that height."
And that height is, well, high. The dome has a diameter of 110m (360'), and the distance from its equator to the top is actually bigger than the room itself, as the room has the flat floor of the ice rink. From the ice rink up to the technical bridge is 36m (118'), and from the bridge to the apex of the dome is 46m (151')--ten meters more. "You just can’t see that because the dome has never been lit properly before," Jönsson says. "For Eurovision, we did laser scans to measure the arena properly for the first time since it was built in 1989, and so we got an accurate 3D model."
Once the immensity of the dome's dimensions was fully realized, lighting it became more of a reality. "I put 200 SGM P-5 LED fixtures up there, positioned in pairs so there is one narrow focus for the top part and one wider that overlaps, with others all around the dome," Jönsson says. "Every time an executive from the arena visited, I made them walk in and look up. They should do this permanently because it adds so much to the room. It helps people understand just how large it is and gives perspective on events in the room in a way they can’t appreciate when it is in shadow."
Jönsson adds that the result was "super cool. During Ireland's performance, we used a lighting trick on either side of the stage that reflected up into the dome, making one massive mirrorball, but we were very careful during songs, as it is a very reflective surface, so usually we kept it down or in black out. If we used a color up there, like red, it makes the whole arena red because it reflects a huge amount of light. You have to treat it as a huge, soft light to add to an event or show off the room.”