London-based live communications and production agency DesignScene production-designed and managed the first full scale large live event to be staged at the new flagship St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, a charity fundraiser organised by the Anderson Foundation in aid of The National Autistic Society.
It is the second year that DesignScene has produced the event for the Anderson Foundation. The project was managed for them by Ben Turner, and designed by DesignScene’s creative director, Attila Keskin. “It was very exciting to be working in London’s newest high profile hotel,” said Turner. “As nothing this large had been done before, we had a real chance to set a standard.”
The St Pancras Renaissance Hotel is being hailed as one of London’s most romantic buildings after many years of restoration to its original 1873 Gothic Revival splendor.
The high profile Anderson Foundation event for about 250 people was staged in the hotel’s main space off the main reception areas. DesignScene’s brief included the specification and supply of lighting, sound and AV equipment plus all other technical infrastructure requirements and the challenges included limited power availability and no flying facilities, so all technical elements had to be ground-supported.
The glass roof added another dimension. In summer this makes it effectively a daylight venue for the early part of the evening, so any design and visual aesthetics have to simultaneously blend and/or contrast seamlessly with the changing natural light levels in tune with the transformation from light to dark.
A basic Steeldeck stage was installed and finished with a pale grey carpet and mirror edging, and a Perspex lectern supplied for speeches. The evening’s live music entertainment was provided by top session band, the All Stars, with whom DesignScene works on many events. At the back of the stage DesignScene erected three 20ft high by 10ft wide graphics, featuring the event logo and the National Autistic Society logos prominently displayed, which was ground-supported by tanks traps and scaffolding.
Twenty battery powered wireless LED uplighters were used to illuminate the room’s architecture – a highly effective low power option that added a layer of brightness and definition at the start of the evening, becoming more theatrical and moody as the environment morphed into dark.
Keskin’s lighting design was optimised and specific to all the lightsources being floor-based. Eight striking two metre high mirror-clad plinths were placed around the room, with Vari*Lite 2500 moving lights on top, used to create atmospheric environmental lighting.
Onstage were eight Martin Professional MAC 250 moving lights, six LED battens and six Source Four profiles on stands which dealt with the band and various speakers.
All lighting was controlled using an Avolites Pearl console. It made the room appear larger than its real size and, with a design centred around quality light sources placed in strategic locations, facilitated great creativity with a small number of fixtures.
As always, the DesignScene team worked closely with those creating the table designs and floristry, especially in choosing colours.
The sound brief called for a high quality system that was good for live music and the spoken word, so a d&b was chosen. Six d&b T10 speakers were arranged in ground-stacked clusters for the main stage left and right arrays, with T10 outfills and d&b Q-SUBS, all powered by d&b’s proprietary D12 amplifiers. For monitors, four d&b M4 wedges were supplied.
The FOH sound desk was a Yamaha M7 digital and the sound spec also included eight channels of Shure in-ear monitors and Shure Beta 87A wireless mics.
The video and screen design was deliberately neat and compact, with two 50 inch plasma screens flanking the stage and another six – all on stands – spread around the room to ensure that all guests enjoyed a clear view of the stage action from wherever they were seated. Two Sony DSR450 cameras (running on wireless RF data transmission) were used to provide IMAG feeds back to a Di-VentiX 2 HD switcher.
The key technical production equipment was supplied to DesignScene by one of the company’s regular partners, east London-based Presentation Rentals.
In the corner of the main room, DesignScene installed a four metre curved white high gloss light bar, together with matching glass and chrome poser tables and chrome stools which were outside on the terrace, together with a selection of plants. This all came from DesignScene’s hire stock.
Guests started their evening at a reception in the main hotel bar – The Booking Office (once the station’s booking office) – and then moved into the main space to enjoy dinner and all the entertainment.
The show was presented by Sky Sports’ Matt Lorenzo. There was a silent auction running throughout, and also a traditional live auction hosted by Johnny Gould, together with speeches and presentations by the National Autistic Society and others. After dinner, the band was introduced and played a set accompanied by legendary soul singer Mica Paris. After this, the All Stars played out for the remainder of the evening.
The evening was a huge success, raising £141,000 for the National Autistic Society and the client was delighted with the results in all aspects.