Driving rain? Check
Gale force winds? Check
Beautiful Lighting Designs – No matter the obstacles? We got it.
This past weekend Ampa Events provided lighting designs for celebrations associated with the Reunions Weekend at the University of Virginia. Quite a weekend. 9 Locations. 18 events. 4 Thunderstorms. All in a weekends’ work for us.
We arrived at UVA on Thursday, and immediately divided up our teams and began installation. We were faced with a few challenges from the start. How can we create designs in these areas which are beautiful, safe in outdoor settings, and can be changed relatively easily from evening to evening. This is what I like to call Ampa ingenuity.
Our answer was LED lighting fixtures. For those of you how don’t know about LEDs, they are all the rage in lighting. Essentially, these fixtures combine tiny Red, Green, and Blue diodes to create light, while using around 15% the power of conventional fixtures. What does this mean to you? I can dial up literally any color on demand, they produce next to no heat (in an already warm tent), reduce cabling and power needs, and are friendlier to the environment. Although LEDs have been out for some time, it’s only in the past couple of years the technology truly matured into fixtures which are reliable, produce high quality light, and in a cost effective manner.
In the tent outside Peabody Hall, we installed sheer fabric draperies around each of the large tent center poles. Inside the draperies we installed LED lighitng fixtures, making the whole column glow. The first night, we chose soft lavender colors, but for the second night, we set all of the columns to fade through colors together, creating a changing dynamic environment. We also installed additional LED fixtures arouns the perimeter, bathing the ceiling in soft light, with different colors each night.
In another tent outside Brooks Hall, we utilized additional LED lighting fixtures to bathe the tent in light, but also supplement this look by overlaying a floral scroll pattern, creating a unique a unique and sophisticated design. A central aspect to this design was a canopy created from strings of small lights. We changed this by adding a fabric canopy beneath it for the second nights’ event.
For me, the highlight of the event was lighting the Rotunda. Having studied architectural history, the Rotunda at UVA holds a special spot in my heart, and the ability to enhance those architectural features really put a smile on my face. We used lighting fixtures positioned at the base of the columns to “uplight” the columns. Using this technique, we also lit Cocke Hall, and the amphitheater.
But the fun didn’t stop there. On the lawns leading two the rotunda, additional dinners were to be served. How do we light a large outdoor space? Our answer: Airstar Balloons. These are really awesome devices, not due to their complexity, but their simplicity. You take a large balloon, about 8′ in diamater. Fill it with helium, put 4 650W light bulbs inside, and voila! You light a field.
Unfortunately, the weather brought us some storms over the weekend, and some of the events were canceled due to safety concerns for the guests. But true to form, we adapted to every situation presented to us, and made it happen.
Thanks to the wonderful people at the UVA Alumni office for bringing us in, the wonderful engineering staff at UVA for their help, and John from Skyline Tent Company for such wonderfully installed tents for us to work in.
Can’t wait to do it again next year!