Robe lighting was invited by the Czech Consulate in Athens, Greece, to create a special lighting scheme for the official launch of “La Grace”, a replica of the famous 17th century corsair (pirate) ship captained by Czech seafarer Augustin Heřman, which took place in the exclusive and picturesque harbour at Flisvos Marina, Athens.
The vessel has been lovingly recreated by a group of Czech enthusiasts in a shipyard in Suez, Egypt, which still uses historic and traditional building methods. The pre-planning and research for the project took three years and the actual construction process another two years. The new La Grace will serve a multi-functional international role as a sea cadet training facility and as a tourist attraction worldwide.
A team of equally enthusiastic individuals from the company, all with an eye for design and aesthetics – Josef Valchar (MD) Petr Kolmaka (Anolis Sales Manager), Radim Zlebek (Robe Technical Support) and Jiri Baros (Marketing Manager) – travelled to Athens for the occasion, where they were supported on site by Robe’s Greek distributor, Philippos Nakas.
“We had many visual elements to consider for the inauguration ceremony lighting scheme,” said Valchar, “The fabulous setting was one, then there was the colour and texture of the sails, the wooden materials making up the boat, her elegant shape and contours, all of which amounted very much to a ‘personality'”.
“Very much central to our lighting design was the desire to enhance La Grace as she was, retain her natural beauty, and ensure that the lighting was chic, theatrical and dramatic,” said Jiri Baros. “It could not be overpowering, but at the same time we had to make La Grace even more spectacular for this occasion”.
The major part of La Grace’s hull and the sails were illuminated by four Robe CitySkape Xtremes, a high powered outdoor LED fixture with 188 homogenised RGBW LEDs, positioned on the quayside. The two masts – made out of trees from the Czech Moravian highlands, the region in which Robe’s factory is located – were up-lit by four Robe CitySource 96s.
The decks and four replica cannons were bathed in light from four CitySkape 48s, making a dramatic contrast, and evoking the mood of the original La Grace’s successful working days as a ‘privateer’ vessel when, sanctioned by the government, it defeated two Spanish frigates, despite only being a brig.
The spanker sail at the back was used as a projection surface, fed with images by a Robe DigitalSpot 7000 DT rigged on a stand on the quayside. This enabled a wide variety of environmental scenes to be created – fire, water, stars, skies and so on. During the launch ceremony itself, statistics and information about the build process and the methods used were projected onto the sail.
All fixtures were controlled via an Avolites Tiger Touch console.
Captain Josef Dvorsky (also one of the owners) was “delighted” with the illuminations, as were thousands of visitors who thronged the quayside for the ceremony, which was organised by LaGrace Ltd. in co-operation with the Lamda Flisvos Marina S.A., with the support of the Mayor of Palaio Faliro, the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Athens and the Honorary Consul of the Czech Republic in Piraeus.
As part of the launch event entertainment programme, La Grace was open for public viewing for two days complete with a crew of pirates onboard who staged shows and mock battles.