LIGHTING TODAY02 Apr 2024
Over 250 Elation Proteus Illuminate Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Founding Day Art Installation
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Lighting designer Thomas Giegerich of bright! studios and ES:ME Entertainment Services teamed up to illuminate a stunning agal art piece for Saudi Arabia’s 2024 Founding Day celebration and used over 250 Elation Proteus luminaires to fulfill the brief. The event, held on February 22, commemorated the founding of the first Saudi state and showcased the rich heritage and enduring spirit of the Kingdom.

An agal, a traditional cord worn by Arab men to secure their headcloth, served as the centerpiece of the art installation, symbolizing the cultural richness of the region. Thomas, Managing Director of bright! studios, brought his expertise to the project, crafting a dynamic light show that captivated audiences and could be seen across Riyadh.

Rain or sand protection

In partnership with Alex Wuerfel, CEO of ES:ME Entertainment Services, Thomas orchestrated the intricate lighting design using Elation’s IP-rated Proteus fixtures, chosen for their beam characteristics as well as their adaptability to the often harsh environmental conditions of the Middle East. Alex, a long-time collaborator of Giegerich’s, recommended the Proteus fixtures.

“At this time of year in Saudi it’s more about the possibility of heavy rain than a sand storm so it was an easy choice for me to make,” stated Alex, who has relied on Proteus on similar projects across the region since 2019. “I like to use Elation Proteus with their marine grade specification because they work under all conditions.” Alex fulfilled the role of technical director for the event, with ES:ME Entertainment Services serving as the lighting vendor.

A lasting impression

Founding Day is a new annual holiday in Saudi Arabia with cities across the country holding cultural and artistic events. In the capital city of Riyadh, celebrations took place across multiple sites, including King Fahad Library Park where the agal piece stood.

“The vision for the art installation was to create a regal ambiance reminiscent of a crown, symbolizing the Kingdom’s heritage,” explains LD Giegerich. “We encircled the agal with 120 Proteus Hybrids on the ground with 24 Proteus Excaliburs crowning the top, three circles of lights that provided a striking contrast to the square shape of the agal piece. The beams were visible from across the city and the entire installation really left a lasting impression.”

Depth and contrast

The juxtaposition of the Proteus Excalibur beams against those of the Proteus Hybrids added depth and contrast to the display, creating a mesmerizing visual spectacle. “We had decided on the Proteus Hybrid but we wanted a really punchy beam that would look good in contrast to it and we chose the Excalibur,” Thomas said. “We wanted to give people something special, something that was visible from afar, and we accomplished that.”

Twisters

One of those special looks was what the designer calls ‘twisters’ in which he tilts the three circles of fixtures while panning to create an intricate, overlapping spiral beam effect. He says he saw the Excalibur at a shootout in Frankfurt last year while making fixture choices for the upcoming UEFA EURO 2024 championships and fell in love with its ability to do color while projecting a powerful mid-air effect.

Twinkle

To enhance the visual look of the art piece further, 60 Proteus Rayzor 760 fixtures were placed between each agal rope, creating an enchanting twinkle effect that delighted onlookers. “The client wasn’t convinced of putting lights at that position,” Thomas shares, “but we didn’t intend to do more beams or punchy lighting with them. Once they saw the eye-candy twinkle effect they can produce (SparkLED), they loved it. It was super beautiful and a real lifesaver.” An additional 30 Proteus Rayzor 760s adorned the King Fahad Library façade, extending the ambiance of the event.

A 5-minute light show synchronized to music ran every half hour with sweeping beams, chases and intricate patterns of light filling the sky, to the delight of crowds. “The combination of the Hybrids and Excaliburs was really extraordinary and the outcome was very well received,” Alex concludes. “Thanks to a great team for making this happen.”