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Architectural Lighting at the 2008 Nobel Banquet

The Nobel Banquet is the highest profile event of the year in Sweden, as well as recognized and watched throughout the world. Hosted by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden in partnership with the Nobel Foundation, the banquet immediately follows the esteemed Nobel Prize Awards each year.

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The Nobel Banquet is the highest profile event of the year in Sweden, as well as recognized and watched throughout the world. Hosted by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden in partnership with the Nobel Foundation, the banquet immediately follows the esteemed Nobel Prize Awards each year. It has been held annually on December 10 in the Blue Hall of Stockholm City Hall since 1934. It is attended by the King and Queen of Sweden and the other members of the Royal Family, plus approximately 1,300 guests, including Nobel Laureates, politicians, dignitaries and other VIPs.

Per Sundin was again called in as Lighting Designer for the event, an honor bestowed upon him for twelve consecutive years now. Ola Melzig was Production Manager, overseeing all aspects of lighting and video from build up through broadcast.

The team was responsible for four areas: The Blue Hall, where the banquet takes place; The Golden Hall, where the post-dinner dance is held; the Prince’s Gallery, where the King holds a reception for the Nobel Laureates; and the exterior of the building. The Blue Hall gets the most attention as this is where the guests spend the majority of the evening and is the most televised portion of the night.

Sundin used a variety of LED to achieve different looks inside the Blue Hall. Down on the floor level, 22 pcs 600mm LEADER LIGHT Light LED strips were custom mounted on pillar brackets over each of the 22 stone columns surrounding the hall. “They’re perfect,” said Sundin, “They’re bright and lightweight and don’t consume a lot of power. I get perfect color from a deep amber to a rich blue.” LED video screens were used in the 14 windows on the second floor, displaying video content throughout the evening.

“Stockholm City Hall is a challenging venue,” Melzig explained, “There are no rigging points, no ramps, we have to be extremely conscious of our power consumption, and absolutely everything needs to be hidden when possible. It’s a huge advantage to work with most of the same team as in past years. Since we know exactly how to rig it, and what we can and can’t do, the basics go up quickly and we have more time to experiment with new stuff or try our favorites in new ways.”

One specific product that has become a favorite for this event is W-DMX™ by Wireless Solution. The Blue Hall is an enormous space and the lighting is spread out in virtually every corner, high and low. The Nobel Committee questions the necessity of anything that detracts from the aesthetics of the room during the banquet, and DMX cable is one thing that’s easy to replace, as well as being a time saver. “W-DMX is a life saver at this event,” said Melzig, “In past years we’ve used it on moving lights that had W-DMX receivers built in. This year we had to light the Prince’s Gallery, where the King holds a reception for the Nobel Laureates. From front of house, the Gallery is on the other side of a room where the Nobel winners are interviewed on live TV, so we couldn’t run cable through there. The signal went through three thick marble walls with no problem whatsoever.”

A W-DMX™ Generation 3 BlackBox S-1 transmitter was used in combination with a BlackBox B-500 booster and directional antenna to ensure penetration of the three thick stone walls. On the other side, a W-DMX BlackBox R-512 receiver delivered a perfect signal to 6 SGM Genio Mobile LED units. Inside the Blue Hall, W-DMX was used for an MDG Atmosphere fog machine which delivered special effects during the entertainment segments. Even in an environment thick with cell phones, live broadcast cameras and numerous radios, none of the W-DMX controlled equipment ever lost signal. “It’s just so important for equipment to be reliable for this event,” said Melzig, “and if a product helps us solve a problem, it makes it an easy choice.”

While the Blue Hall got most of the attention from the television cameras, it was the exterior of Stockholm City Hall that really shined. Per Sundin used 30 pieces of 1200mm LEADER LIGHT LED LINE to light the exterior walls. He then added 4 pcs SGM Palco 5 narrow beam fixtures for the tower. The tower was illuminated a blue-green on the lower section, giving depth to the enormous bells within, and the crowns on top were lit gold with 18 DTS Helios fixtures with Amber and White. The lower part of the tower was done with 28 pieces of SGM Genio Mobile. Exterior lighting fixtures were supplied by Interlite AB of Sweden. The exterior lighting has been so well received that there are talks of making the installation permanent.

“We used more LED this year than in years past – a trend that I believe will continue,” said Sundin, “We used it in the Blue Hall, the Prince’s Gallery and of course, the exterior. I was very pleased with their dependability.” He concluded, “This is a wonderful show to do year after year – creating a beautiful and warm environment while it’s snowing outside. The room is the same, the tables and china are the same, but we’re able to create a completely new atmosphere each year through lighting. We’re grateful to use products that not only do their job well, but give us extra flexibility to do more.”

Used products:
LL PRO LINE 50 OneChip RGB 1200 30x
LL PRO LINE 50 OneChip RGB 600 22x
LL PRO DRIVER 36

Source: interlite.se , Photos by Ralph Larmann

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