Proteus Maximus fulfills key visual role at Expo 2020

Woodroffe Bassett Design creates breathtaking visuals at Al Wasl Plaza and other Expo entertainment venues. Elation’s Proteus Maximus has been employed on top name shows and events since launching in 2019 but none perhaps as impressive as Expo 2020.

In September 2021, Dubai saw the beautiful opening ceremony of Expo 2020, the kickoff of the world’s premiere international exhibition event that ran through March 2022. With 192 participating countries a part of the journey, Expo focused on ‘Connecting Minds and Creating the Future’ explored through the themes of Sustainability, Mobility and Opportunity.

Al Wasl Plaza

Woodroffe Bassett Design (WBD) served as Lighting Design Consultants on Expo 2020 with WBD Founding Partner Adam Bassett lead in the process. The initial brief was to transform Al Wasl Plaza, a 67-meter-tall, 130-meter diameter structure with 252 video projectors and an immersive sound system, from a spectacular garden into a live event venue.
Al Wasl Plaza, the beating heart of the Expo, hosted an ambitious daily program of shows, concerts and ceremonies, which changed nightly over the Expo’s six-month duration. WBD designed a house lighting rig that integrated into the structure with the clear direction not to detract from the beauty of the architecture.

Outdoor rated

While Expo was open to the public during the winter months, rehearsals and programming in the outdoor dome was carried out at the peak of the Dubai summer. It was recognized from the outset that the harsh summer environment would place a lot of stress on all parts of the lighting system and that, where possible, all fixtures needed to be outdoor rated.

“One of the driving factors behind our fixture choices was their proven ability to withstand harsh environments,” Adam Bassett commented. “We needed not only for the fixtures to operate in extreme heat but also withstand sandstorms and torrential rain over an extended period, operating 24 hours a day without the need for regular heavy maintenance. The Proteus Maximus was one of the fixtures that confidently matched up to the challenge and we were delighted to see the units live up to the promise!”

Elation Proteus Maximus

Two thirds of the way up the dome were mounted 159 Elation Proteus Maximus LED moving heads that sat outside with a custom shade to protect them from direct sunlight.
Around the perimeter of the trellis were 42 projection pods, below which a further 82 Proteus Maximus hung along with other lighting fixtures. WBD worked closely with Agora, the lighting supplier for Al Wasl Plaza, who in turn worked with Elation distributor Audio Effetti.

WBD executed a number of ambitious shows in the Al Wasl Plaza, 40 by the end of March, with some of the most notable Al Adiyat: The Story of a Boy and His Horse, Diwali and the stunning Sami Yusuf performances of ‘Beyond the Stars’.
Along with the house shows that were delivered throughout the exhibition, the venue was host to a number of external lighting teams bringing in concerts and special events. In addition, WBD were asked to provide the lighting design for the Expo Daily Productions in Al Wasl Plaza, led by Principal Designer Terry Cook.

Other venues and Expo pavilions

Eight other entertainment venues fell under WBD’s scope, among them the Jubilee Stage lighting design. Inspired by a contemporary music festival main stage, music acts, spoken word, dance and comedy acts performed beneath 200+ moving fixtures including Proteus Maximus. Also, the Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre, a more intimate multipurpose venue with an emphasis on theatrical events, featured 180+ moving fixtures consisting of Proteus Maximus and other lights. Neuman and Muller supplied lighting for both the Jubilee and DMA stages.

Several of the country pavilions offering immersive cultural experiences utilized Elation lights as well, including 29 Proteus Hybrid LED moving heads by Novelty Group for the French Pavilion, and Elation luminaires from Intersonic Oy for the Finnish Pavilion, amongst others. Throughout the four years that WBD spent supporting this extraordinary project, they had the pleasure to work with an extremely talented and diverse team both locally and across the globe.

Specific mention goes out to five individuals who led and supported WBD’s journey at every turn: Tareq Ghosheh, Chief Events and Entertainment Officer; Amna Abulhoul, Executive Creative Director; Kylie McOmish, Vice President – Production & Operations; Kate Randall, Vice President- Ceremonies & Programming; and William Ainley, Vice President Technical. The principal consultant team for Expo included Adam Bassett and Simon Fraser of WBD, Piers Shepperd of Wonder Works and Scott Willsallen of Auditoria.

Full team for WBD:

Principal Consultant and Lighting Designer Adam Bassett
Senior Technical Consultant / Head of Lighting Simon Fraser
Lighting Designer / Deputy Head of Lighting John Coman
Systems Consultant Greg Pittams
Cover Deputy Head of Lighting Ben Pitts
Lighting Director Eneas Mackintosh
Lighting Director Alex Marshall
Senior Lighting Programmer Chris Lose
Lighting Programmer for New Year’s Eve show Daniel Gündner
Resident Programmer / Systems Supervisor Brendan Albrey
Resident Programmer Matthew Jones
Resident Programmer Aaron Russ
Lighting Designer for Daily Productions + Special Events Terry Cook
Lighting Programmer for Daily Productions + Special Events Fraser Walker
Assistant Lighting Designer for Daily Productions Max Weir
Assistant Lighting Designer for Daily Productions Aiden Bromley
D3 Programmer Lucy Ockenden
D3 Specialist Show Creator Stephan Hambsch
Design / Studio Manager Miriam Bull
Project Administration Liz Sinclair
Logistics Support Sophie Croft

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Crédits - Text by Elation - Photos: Ptarmigan Integration, @Ptarmiganlight

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