Following a recommendation, Enlightened Lighting was approached by Clean Slate Events to assist in the design and implementation of the Christmas decorations at Heathrow Airport’s new flagship, Terminal 5. The concept had already been defined and Enlightened Lighting was presented with a visual proposal that we had to turn into reality.
There were several challenges with the project. The first was that of ambient light levels. The terminal has been designed to be a bright space, allowing as much natural light into the building as possible, supplemented by a large number of discharge light sources – all competing with the images that we were trying to create.
The second challenge was how to physically mount the lights and balloons. The balloon manufacturer, Cameron Balloons, provided an inflation system for the smaller domes, Enlightened provided Robe LightDome fan bases for the large spheres, which inflated the spheres, supported the lights, and ensured adequate cooling.
The final challenge was reliability. All the equipment chosen had to work uninterrupted for eight weeks, with no facility for getting back to any of the fittings after the installation for maintenance.
All these factors led us to be very specific in the choice of equipment we selected. We chose to use equipment that we knew to have a good reliable history, and stands up to the testing demands of a professional hire business.
After conducting demonstrations with prototype balloons and materials, we arrived at a solution for all the different sized balloons. The products selected were 6x Robe ColorSpot 700EAT, 15 x Studio Due Archileds and 36 x Anolis Arcline Optic 36’s. After minor modifications to improve the light distribution in the specific applications, we had a plan that would work.
With the added complexities of working “Air Side” at the UK’s largest airport, the installation was seamless, carried out on consecutive nights whilst the airport was closed to the public for a brief five hours a day.
Within the Departure Lounge there are two primary seating areas, known as the North and the South Squares. Both areas had similar installations, with different artwork and graphics on the balloons and in the moving lights.
Control of all the fixtures was implemented using dedicated rack-mounted computers running Chamsys MagicQ, with ArtNet to DMX decoders to run the 3 DMX Universes in each square. Added resilience to this was also made possible by the automatic takeover function within MagicQ, that would allow one computer to run both squares if one of the computers were to fail.
Coupled with remote monitoring and access, we were able to monitor the status of the installation and even upload new programming routines from the comfort of our offices at the request of BAA.
Fresh faced in the New Year, the team arrived to complete the night shift again. Removing the lights in the space of a couple of nights, the equipment then once again found its home back on the shelves in our warehouse ready for the next project.
“A big thank you to you and your team for a great job on T5.
The balloons are lit beautifully and they have photographed really well.
You really put the effort in above and beyond what most people would.”
Charlotte Boyens. Director. Cleanslate Events.
“Just wanted to say a massive thank you to all of you that helped in the installation of the Christmas decorations in T5. The decorations came down last week and both the install and derig went amazingly well, almost without any hitches. I think that it is testament to the great team and the collaborative working. We received a lot of positive feedback for the design so thanks to Cleanslate/Freestate for coming up with the ideas and getting a great team together to deliver it.
Hopefully the install will be even easier and slicker next time round!”
Design Technical Leader, Heathrow Airport BAA
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