The new luxury hotel and resort Atlantis The Royal launched in Dubai with a grand opening party with the theme of “This Is it” and a guest list of celebrities, royalty, government ministers, travel influencers and global media. Mark Butts, Founder of Pasadena, California-based Preset Productions, chose 289 Claypaky Xtylos to outline the rooftops of the property and 35 Claypaky Scenius to act as front lights for the gala private evening that was marked by performances by Beyonce and superstar DJs Swedish House Mafia and a spectacular fireworks display.
Atlantis The Royal occupies some five beach-side acres and has an iconic curved and stacked façade that gives a unique look to the landscape at the end of Palm Island. Preset Productions was charged with lighting the environment, fountains and architecture at the site as well as the main stage entertainment. PRG’s Dubai office provided the Claypaky fixtures to Butts, who served as Lighting Designer for the project.
Butts is a long-time Claypaky customer and was the first to use the original Mythos fixtures in the US. “We’re always looking for new and unusual gear, and Claypaky consistently delivers for us,” he says. “I’m always confident in their equipment.”
Martin Smit, Lighting Planning Manager for PRG, notes that, “This was a project that pushed all boundaries. Due to the scale of the building and the fact that the hotel was still in a handover phase, over a year of meticulous planning was required in order to execute [creative agency] CNX’s vision, a launch event on the ‘global stage’!”
PRG worked closely with the production team and lighting designers, including Volt Lites,. “Our role was to facilitate on the ground what was achievable from a design and delivery perspective. Personally, I led the team from drafting the design aspects to detailed site surveys to ensure the hotel infrastructure and network was compatible with our own systems,” Smit Continues.
In total, PRG delivered 1,600 fixtures, five grandMA3 consoles across 30 MA3 NPUs, 28 Luminex Luminode units and 34 Luminex Gigacore switches across the entire property, including 10 rooftops, the hotel façade, the main stage and Skyblaze.
The launch event marked Butts’s first time using Xtylos, and he was eager to try them since “there’s nothing else quite like them in the market. They seemed made for this project that required large-scale lighting and long throws high in the air. Xtylos were a perfect fit.”
The opening was designed during last year’s Christmas holidays when the property was still under construction and the entertainment headliners had not yet been announced. “There are 44 stories to the roof and 10 rooftops at a trio of different heights,” explains Butts. “We needed fixtures with punch to reach that far and create a nice line on each roof structure. PRG had Xtylos in the quantity required so we decided to see what they could do. It turned out that people four and five miles away could see them in the air, which was pretty impressive!”
Production Manager Max Lippman determined the fixture placement mounting the Xtylos on the edge of the rooftops and on a pipe system on the glass balconies. “The fixtures hit the mark as façade and environmental lighting,” Butts reports. “Then we programmed and operated the Xtylos as giant effects lights, creating huge aerial effects, beams and circle effects for all the theatrical performances except Beyonce, for Swedish House Mafia’s EDM, in collaboration with their LD, Kasper Iseger, and for time-coded sequences in the fireworks display. Every fun thing you can think of they did. Xtylos exceeded expectations; I’m not sure that another fixture could deliver what they did.”
The Scenius fixtures were mounted on a 405-foot FOH gantry and two 200-foot towers where they acted as FOH followspots and fill lights for the stage. “At the time we started the load in last December we had to create a design that would cover the performances no matter who the artists were, so we spaced a series of towers around the venue to create really flattering front light that would make the band and dancers look beautiful,” says Butts.
“Scenius fixtures are nice flat lights that we knew would work. They gave Beyonce, her band and the orchestra a real operatic, Italian Renaissance look.”
Dan Norman served as previs programmer in Los Angeles with Vanessa Arciga; Mike Sheck and Arciga moved on site to program everything for the event except Beyonce’s show.
“The first day that I stood behind the lighting console testing the fixtures that spanned across the entire property and main stage was a #PRGProud moment for me,” says PRG Lighting Technician Brandon Labuschagne. “Seeing months of hard work and planning come together and more than 1,600 fixtures beaming back at us was a great feeling.”
Mark Butts believe he will be using more Xtylos in the future. “I would love to use Xtylos as much as possible for the big events I do outside the US,” he says. “I see them becoming my go-to product for those large-scale projects.”