Sébastien Thévenin, marketing, communication and design manager for Airstar, shares his thoughts on the lighting market and offers advice to integrators on lighting projects.
What do you think is the most exciting technology in lighting at the moment?
There are many exciting technologies in lighting, but as far as Airstar is concerned, the most interesting way of moving forward is to combine existing technologies and put them together: LEDs, VPs on moving heads, ARTnet… The whole thing is amazing, and improving very fast. This makes our job exciting because it changes from one show to the next!
Tell us about a favourite recent installation your company has been involved with.
Airstar is very proud to be involved into great installations, such as the Olympics and even more recently the FIFA Soccer World Cup. Our products have the ability to combine lighting and decor skills, making them light-efficient and an integral part of a given show. Airstar’s way of thinking is slightly different from other companies, as our products are both a source of light and a piece of decor; we are not trying to hide the light sources, but rather giving volume and life to light.
To get back to the Olympics, custom-made products have been used during the closing ceremony, being part of the show, to lift flying performers; at the same time, our industry range of products (namely the Sirocco 2) was lighting the technical side of the event: emergency exits, rescue teams, etc.
This perfectly reflects the duality of our company; what was at the beginning considered as an inconvenience finally became a huge advantage. When all the lighting devices are more and more controlling light direction, beam, focus… Airstar has been creating 360°, diffuse and glare-free lightings for more than 20 years.
Pictured is a 10m-diameter air-blown lighting balloon deployed at a recent classic car show in the Grand Palais, Paris. Airstar also supplied helium-filled lighting balloons from its Lunix range, measuring between 2m and 2.5m in diameter, for the event.
What three pieces of advice would you give to an integrator looking to move into the lighting world?
- Be lucky and creative! There are so many creative companies these days, you have to come up with a real innovative product to step into this world.
- Be humble: the lighting world uses many different devices, and the combination of all these devices makes the project. You have to realise your product won’t be the main actor of a show, but part of a great team combining various talents to make the best show possible.
- Be tough: when you have found your innovative product, then you have to convince users of its added value on a project.
In lighting projects, what factors are most commonly overlooked?
- Creativity: think differently! There are many ways to give a twist when using a product to get a new effect.
- Don’t think products, think about the project: if you have the idea, you will find the right way to realise it.
- Keep it simple: Probably the most difficult thing to achieve… When all drafts are made, you have to get rid of all the unnecessary parts, make the project less complex and then go straight to the point to avoid any misunderstanding for the audience.