2016 Friends of the High Line Spring Benefit

In preparing for our fifth year with the Friends of the High Line Spring Benefit, event designer Bronson Van Wyck presented us with several photos from a Rihanna concert he attended.  The photos featured a gigantic plastic-like translucent stage backdrop on to which multiple kinetic and random displays of color and texture played across the backdrop's surface in a rich variety of textures and vibrant and continuously changing color tones.

The mission from the Van Wyck & Van Wyck team - let's think about how we can create this idea ......... The creation though not to be in the source of the inspiration's venue - a concert arena, but rather in a 500 foot long x 30 foot wide venue with roughly 15' - 20' ceilings and seating for a 1000 guests plus staging, audio, and video design and production.  Another challenge!

Drawings were shared, a sample lighting demo created for collaborative discussion and - upon arrival of the event week and following two days of load in and lighting / audio / video checks - the vision appeared ....... Event design by Van Wyck & Van Wyck, catering by Bite, lighting design, video production services, and audio design and production by L & M Sound & Light .....

Signature Theatre Company's 25th Anniversary Gala Benefit

In the world of gala benefit special events, the lighting design is, often, in the visual background playing its vital role of emphasizing and supporting the "physical" event design by the event florist and/or event designer.  Given the opportunity to play both a transformative and major visual part comes along only once in a while and, when given the opportunity, running with it and creating something really special is incredibly creatively satisfying.  

For the Signature Theatre Company, a vital NYC cultural institution at this point in its 25 year life on the Off Broadway theatre scene, and working under the producing and planning umbrella of experiential and entertainment production agency Empire Entertainment, we designed and executed a transformative visual environment in the theatre's Frank Gehry-designed lobby for both the evening benefit's pre-program cocktail reception and after-party.  Guests entered the lobby to a classic soft amber-toned setting and, later, exiting the Irene Diamond Theatre from the evening's program honoring Signature founder James Houghton, guests found themselves in a completely transformed environment featuring a dynamic lighting system for the band and dance floor and dynamic lighting changes throughout the expanse of the lobby via a wireless lighting install wrapping around the entirety of the "signature" iconic raceway that is the central feature of the shared lobby space.

Thanks and gratitude to both the Signature Theatre's artistic and executive staff and to Empire Entertainment for inviting us back for our 3rd year with this excellent benefit and, particularly, for allowing us to play such a wonderful visual role in a particularly significant year in the company's artistic life.

Rolls Royce Black Badge Wraith Reveal at Canoe Studios

Car reveals - always filled with dramatic potential - are wonderful creative fun and, when it comes to a luxury vehicle's debut, any idea of restraint or subtlety is almost creatively non-existent when it comes to making as big a splash as possible.

Working under the design and production umbrella of David Beahm Experiences, we pulled out all the stops from our bag of lighting tricks this past week for Rolls Royce's "Black Badge" line of vehicles at Canoe Studios in the Starrett Lehigh building at 601 West 26th Street.  In addition to lighting design and lighting production, we also brought to the table top of the line video projection services for the pre-reveal video roll and a rumbling sound track via our state-of-the art audio production services and expert personnel.  

The video rolled, the sound rumbled, and, as the projection screen rolled out, the Rolls Royce Black Badge Wraith was revealed in a flash of light and fog as the curtain parted and the vehicle rolled forward towards the assembled audience.

Great fun and a great evening for all involved.

The Frick Collection's Young Fellows Ball ... As seen through the eyes of Instagram

A highly anticipated and always sold out 600 person social scene ticket, The Frick Collection's Young Fellows Ball (benefiting The Frick's education program) is a scene unto itself with regard to attire combined with elevated ambiance and atmosphere.  For our now 4th year in a row with the event and for the 2016 edition, we collaborated with event design firm Van Wyck & Van Wyck to create a vibrant lighting design and audio environment for the evening's "Palladium Nights" - the invitation's title name - and from this followed an evening  of deeply saturated contrasting color palettes - augmented with spinning disco mirror balls of course - in the elegantly classical Garden Court along with a very well dressed guest scene on the dance floor set in The Frick's Music Room.  

To capture "what was it like?" for this party, social media tells the best story much more vibrantly over pretty (but ultimately empty) room shots of our work and the event's dynamic setting - the Young Fellows Ball is without question most certainly very well documented by those attending through the wide open eyes of Instagram, from which a sampling of photos of we perused and downloaded and are here below. Enjoy.....

Looking back and looking ahead .....

Concluding our "12 Days of L & M" series of daily posts over the past almost two weeks, we look back over the past year and realize that our days and weeks were filled with many, many wonderful occasions spanning the many wonderful creative, visual, and technical design and production possibilities inherent within the special events scene.  Each special event was uniquely special in its own way to those who hosted it and we were grateful to be retained and trusted to plan and execute our design and production services from start to finish for each and every one.

Looking ahead, we look forward to another great year, focused on the creative possibilities and requests of our clients and colleagues, and wish everyone the best for a successful and fulfilling 2016.

See you at our next event together .....

The New York Public Library's Bartos Forum

This space - one of New York's event venue architectural gems - is a classic favorite of ours to provide design and production services throughout the year.  With its Beaux Arts architectural style and 30 foot high elliptical dome of glass supported on four leaping arches of cast iron, the vast open space always presents a stunning presence when entering from the elegant marble columned foyer just off of 42nd Street near Fifth Avenue.

Three selected events for which we were retained to provide design and production services in 2015 showcase a few of its considerable presentational and visual possibilities .....

Transformation

Lighting and lighting design's transformative nature and creative visual possibilities are evident - by way of considerable contrast with each other - at two Metropolitan Museum of Art benefits we designed in 2015 in the Temple of Dendur - NoRuz in early March (benefiting the Persian Art galleries) and Acquisitions in December (funding particularly significant art purchases).   In addition to lighting design and lighting production, we provided comprehensive audio design, audio production and entertainment backline, and video services for each of the two events.

NoRuz Benefit - March 2015 - Metropolitan Museum of Art

Acquisitions Benefit - December 2015 - Metropolitan Museum of Art

F.A.R.E. / F.A.B. 2015 - The Food Allergy Ball

An amazing organization in every respect with regard to its mission and support from individuals, major corporations, and high profile restauranteurs, the Food Allergy Research & Education organization hosts a major New York City benefit each fall.  For this year's edition at the American Museum of Natural History, we were retained to provide comprehensive lighting and audio design and production, video production services, and staging for the 500+ person benefit.  The dinner and presentation - hosted in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life - required a very rapid setup commencing in the mid-afternoon to be ready for lighting / audio / video checks by 5 p.m.  Our crew of 30 staff and lighting / audio / video technicians commenced the task with the end result being a successful event for all involved.  Remco Van Vliet and the creative team at Van Vliet & Trap provided the event design and decor, catering by the ever professional Restaurant Associates, and planning and production overseen by the excellent team at First Protocol New York. 

Luis Palau Association's "New York City Fest" in Central Park

Whereas the late fall Keno Brothers event (detailed several posts below) was our largest interior event of 2015, internationally known evangelist Luis Palau and the Luis Palau Organization's New York City Fest held in Central Park earlier in July was most certainly our largest and most logistically vast in scope outdoor event in every way.  Comprehensive audio design and audio production - featuring our K-Array Firenze digitally steerable slim array technology and concert audio system - and lighting design and lighting production for the outdoor stage and 60,000+ audience across the expanse of the Great Lawn of the park capped off the traditional end of the peak New York summer event season in early July.

Photos tell the best story and, below, we have compiled a sampling of our work designed and produced for this complex and excellent event .....


Martell's 300th Anniversary at One World Trade Center

Working with a particularly talented and extraordinary experiential event marketing agency is always a fantastic experience and the team of Ryan Jordan - founder of Wonderland USA - and his colleagues at this excellent firm ranks right up there with the very best of them.  This fall, we returned to the 63rd floor of One World Trade Center to collaborate with the Wonderland team and provide comprehensive lighting, audio, and video services for their client - Martell Cognac - as they celebrated the 300th anniversary of the brand in North America.  

Intimate Events

Often, we feature the spectacular on this page - events of large and complex scale and scope, tight deadlines, intricate and vast design and production, and long hours on the part of all involved to create the final vision across all disciplines - event design, audio, lighting, video, staging, and production services.

However, and often quite frankly, our weeks throughout the year feature the more intimate event - dinner / dancing celebrations for brides and grooms and some of their friends and family, milestone celebrations for birthdays and anniversaries, and occasions where a corporate client wants to get a couple of dozen clients or colleagues over for dinner to make an important announcement or to discuss objectives for the year ahead.

As the below photo illustrates, these varied functions are not necessarily mind boggling event spectaculars but - though quite beautiful - simpler in scope to execute.  That being said, all of the same design considerations apply - consideration of the event as a comprehensive visual whole, the objectives of the client, and the logistics with regard to getting in and out - and, no less than any other day in our creative work lives, passion for realizing the dreams of the client.  All of these characteristics never change regardless of what we do and each event receives it due consideration to insure success ... and, on our part, we value and enjoy each and every one of them and the visual results of our efforts together with those involved in making these occasions come to fruition.

Event design by David Beahm Experiences, catering by Creative Edge Parties, lighting by L & M Sound & Light

Allure's "2015 Best of Beauty" Reception at One World Trade Center

As with the spring time Chanel event in the immediately preceding journal post, we were retained in the fall by event planning and design firm Van Wyck & Van Wyck to provide for this particular occasion comprehensive lighting, audio, and video services for Allure magazine's annual Best of Beauty reception - this year hosted at One World Trade Center where publisher Conde Nast is now in residence as a major tenant of the building.  The event - hosted on an as yet empty floor of the building - featured a 100'+ long product wall displaying the featured products recognized by the magazine as the "Best of Beauty" for 2015.  Additionally, we provided comprehensive audio and video services throughout the floor via our Barco video projector system for the main presentation and our now readily recognized slim state of the art K-Array audio system throughout the reception...

Chanel's Tribeca Film Festival Artists Dinner at Balthazar

Retained by the event design and planning firm Van Wyck & Van Wyck, we enjoyed returning once again to this annual early spring time star studded soiree - this year held for the second year at Balthazar on Spring Street in SoHo.

The construction scaffolding outside the restaurant being the "problem to solve" issue of the day, we were asked by the Van Wyck team to come up with a visual idea for dressing it up with light.  Our suggestion - to create a "canopy" of roughly 200+ individually suspended round clear light bulbs throughout the front of the restaurant for guests to enjoy upon their approach and under which they would pass as they entered the restaurant.

That being resolved, our crew got to work on the morning of the event and - 8 hours later - a multitude of individual points of light graced the decidedly urban environment and the work of our labor was enjoyed by all....

Keno Brothers' "Rolling Sculpture" Auction at Skylight Clarkson Square

Without a doubt our largest indoor event of the year by way of sheer square footage - the entirety of The Skylight Group's Skylight Clarkson Square vast event space on the west side of Manhattan at Washington Street and Houston - we provided comprehensive lighting design and lighting production, audio design and audio production, video services, and event production (staging and power distribution) for the Keno Brothers (often best known for their popular Antiques Roadshow series) amazing luxury automobile display and simultaneous live and on-line auction held in mid-November.  A raw space transformed by the client's skilled curatorial eye and our collaboration with their lead team management to feature each of the vehicles in their most favorable and visually appealing light.

An art gallery vibe ran throughout the visual display of a collector's dream of amazing vehicles - each car displayed on its own custom built plinth - and the careful arrangement of the collection throughout the space rivaled that of any museum curator charged with a similar task - "Rolling Sculpture" was not simply a marketing tool label but reality by the time the set up was complete and ready for guest arrival.  A remarkable presentation and event in every way.

 


Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Opportunities for creative transformation - with an explicit direction to be simultaneously elegantly tasteful and cutting edge forward thinking - abound at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for its special events.  At the invitation of the Met's Special Events leadership, we have been afforded the privilege of creating - over and above our audio and video services for which we are contracted regularly at this institution - striking visual enhancement via lighting for special events at the Met that have been among the highlights of our year.  

For a recent reception for benefactors of the museum, we were asked to create the below pictured environment.  Deliberately modest in its equipment footprint by design, our collaborative work together with event designer Remco Van Vliet of Van Vliet & Trap and Met Special Events' Bronwyn Keenan resulted in this setting for which we provided comprehensive lighting design, audio, and video production services.

Friends of the High Line - Art Dinner 2015

2015 marked the third annual Art Dinner within the Chelsea Passage area on the popular High Line that runs now uninterrupted from Gansevoort Street in the Meat Packing District all the way to 34th Street just below the Javits Convention Center.  The benefit funds public art projects along the length of the popular destination for New Yorkers and tourists alike and, annually, is held on the High Line itself.

Collaborating with Friends of the High Line and the event design firm Van Wyck & Van Wyck, we provided comprehensive lighting design, audio, and video production services.  This year, the organization sought to have a more substantial video presence to feature the works brought to fruition by the benefit's donors and, to that end, we installed two 2x2 Barco near seamless video walls (each wall consisting of four 55" flat screen monitors) at each end of the dinner reception's two rows of long tables.  Throughout the evening, high definition photos of the art were on constant display in a rotating slide show of images.  

Always a beautiful event that - though covered in a sense - retains a beautiful outdoor atmosphere .... several photos below illustrate our efforts working together with all involved.... 

Two long tables are set for the evening with the event floral design created by Van Wyck & Van Wyck.

The industrial columns provide a natural starting point for defining the dinner reception space with light and enhancing the overall ambiance and atmosphere.

One of two 2x2 Barco video walls we installed - one at each end of the dinner reception - featuring a rotating slide show of public arts projects supported by the benefit's funds

We can't take visual credit but spectacular sunsets are a regular feature of this area of the High Line and this evening's sunset was as beautiful as ever.

Sounds of the Season

For many, this time of the year is all about the sounds of the season - the spoken word telling of hope and redemption, music that inspires the soul, and, on the last day of the year, the sounds of celebration marking the passage of time and looking ahead to the future.  We value our place within this season of sound where, time and again, we are charged with bringing its meaning and beauty from the artists and speakers who create it to their audiences via the tools of our trade coupled with our passion for the craft of what we do and many years of experience that enable it to be heard.

To all of our friends and colleagues, best wishes to all during this special time and we hope that your enjoyment of the sounds of the season is filled with personal meaning and optimism for the new year ahead.


Young Fellows Ball at The Frick Collection - March 2015

The Frick Collection's annual Young Fellow's Ball is always a visual treat to behold both in the dramatic visual setting that we are invited to help create and (quite frankly, often more noticed!) the simply extraordinary fashion attire worn by the guests at each year's edition of this benefit.  This year's evening reception centered around a special exhibition - "Coypel's Don Quixote Tapestries: Illustrating a Spanish Novel in Eighteenth Century France" - and, coupled with the benefit invitation's title "A Dance At The Spanish Court", visual inspiration sprung forth.   A paragraph from author Cervantes' Don Quixote provided us with an inspirational visual element - projections of elegant windmill blades rotating throughout the Garden Court -  to bring to the evening's festivities:

"Just then they came in sight of thirty or forty windmills that rise from that plain. And no sooner did Don Quixote see them that he said to his squire, "Fortune is guiding our affairs better than we ourselves could have wished. Do you see over yonder, friend Sancho, thirty or forty hulking giants? I intend to do battle with them and slay them."

And so windmills there were serving as a background to the social scene below and enhanced with rich red and gold light outlining and up lighting the Frick's classical architecture.....


12 Days (Give or Take) of L & M Sound & Light

As a very busy 2015 draws to a close, we look back and - after reflecting on the many wonderful events we designed and executed - certainly come to one clear conclusion ... we haven't kept up with the journal very well!  To make amends, we'll be taking time over these seasonally slower holidays to re-visit some of the many wonderfully creative and beautiful functions we worked on throughout the year with our valued clients and industry colleagues.  So, please stay tuned as we look back at some highlights from 2015 and look ahead with optimism and enthusiasm to the forthcoming New Year.....