i-Pix BB4s and BB7s LED luminaires were right in the front line along with the glamour and clamour of the latest London Fashion Week (LFW), where they played an integral part in Nick Gray's lighting design for the British Fashion Council (BFC) Tent at Somerset House. This was the BFC’s official show venue for the September 09 event and hosted up to 8 shows a day - all of which needed to look fabulous and different.
Gray's design company Renegade was asked to light several venues, adding an injection of fresh new style in the visuals department to celebrate the 25th anniversary of LFW. At the BFC tent they were working for production company, Bacchus.
The tent was lower than it has been previously, and black throughout for the first time, creating a more intimate and very slick tailored vibe. Gray's rig was designed to dovetail and blend incongruously in with the venue. The 'spine' truss above the 45 metre long white runway was tucked unobtrusively up into the apex of the roof and perfectly followed the contours of the tent.
Attached to the sides of the spine truss were 9 x BB7s, used to cast a gentle glow on the audience for the walk-in states. Their funky flower-like shape made them an ideal fit for the aesthetics and vibe of the auditorium - whether on or off - and the quality of the light output was exactly the right texture for the effect Gray wanted.
Sixteen BB4s were built into an archway at the entrance to the runway - 8 per side. These were used to help create dramatic silhouette and coloured backdrop effects as the models made their entrances into what was effectively a powerful light box.
Gray has used BBs on many other occasions, but in this specific instance, he chose them because he was able to achieve a perfect white balance between them and the tungsten source key lights illuminating the runway. "I wanted to get the idea of lighting 'flowing' all round the room," he explains.
"The BBs have given us massive flexibility and enabled me to keep it looking interesting," states Gray, adding that it also enabled him to create a unique set of looks for each of the different shows. He and his Renegade partner Jonny Gaskell have used BBs numerous times before for live shows - Kasabian, Orbital, Groove Armada, etc - but this is the first time he's utilised them in a fashion environment.
"The colours are great," continues Gray, explaining that the pastel ranges worked a treat for the Jasper Conran show, which required pinks, lilacs, pale greens and a variety of off-whites. "We were able to produce every single colour he asked for."
On another show, some of the outfits featured UV sensitive materials, which they were able to pick up by running all the BB7s in full saturated congo blue and adding one extra unit at the front end of the runway.
Lighting in the BFC tent - which also included approximately 170 Source Four profiles - was programmed and operated by Ricardo Lorenzini using a grandMA full size console. All lighting equipment was supplied by Neg Earth and crew chiefed by Ben Howell.
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