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Claypaky kicks off Hull’s year as UK City of Culture
Lighting Designer
Durham Marenghi
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UK – Internationally-renowned lighting designer Durham Marenghi selected an array of Claypaky luminaires to enhance a number of stunning audiovisual installations across Hull as part of the city’s ‘UK City of Culture 2017’ inauguration festivities.

Marenghi, who has previously designed lighting for such prestigious outdoor events as the London NYE countdown 2016, London 2012 Olympics Handover in Beijing and the Rio 2016 Olympic ceremonies, was assisted in the project by award-winning West-end theatre lighting designer and Hull resident Tim Lutkin. Together they specified 42 x Claypaky Mythos, 12 x Claypaky Alpha Spot QWO 800s and 8 x Claypaky Sharpy Wash 330s from Manchester-based lighting specialist dbn lighting to create architectural light shows at the city’s historic Queen Victoria square, famous aquarium ‘The Deep’ – as well as an installation in an underpass famous for secret raves.

“It was crucial for us to keep the open air platform in mind when selecting fixtures; an outdoor environment is always a challenge for the technical aspects of a production,” says Marenghi. “I selected Claypaky products because they’re lightweight and compact, making them easy to rig and conceal within a building’s architecture. The fixtures are also weatherproof with superb optics and offer high efficacy whist drawing little power.”

At Victoria Square, Marenghi and Lutkin employed 34 of the Italian brand’s award-winning Mythos to complement video content by animator and video designer Zsolt Balogh, which was projected onto the facades of Hull City Hall, Ferens Art Gallery and the Maritime Museum. Titled ‘Made in Hull’, the film worked with the Mythos’ dynamic aerial displays to immerse onlookers in 100 years of the city’s maritime and aviation industry.

“The Mythos was particularly ideal for the World War II sequence which required a strong search light effect, as well as the finale which needed to be high-impact with fast-moving, powerful beams,” says Marenghi.

The searchlight effect of the Mythos also allowed Marenghi to add extra impact to an audiovisual display at ‘The Deep’, Hull’s public aquarium and the UK’s landmark centre for marine research. An animation about Hull’s people by video and projection design house Imitating the Dog was projected onto the building’s striking contemporary architecture, which resembles a shipwreck. Marenghi positioned eight Mythos on the building’s ‘prow’ to emphasize the display and cast beam effects over the Humber estruary.

“We used the Mythos to create 360-degree sweeps of light, designed to look like the super-bright sweep of a lighthouse beacon,” says Marenghi. “We also used the fixture’s advanced animation wheel to create a series of under-water effects which we projected across the building and audience.”

The Mythos can operate both in ‘Spot’ mode to produce a large light beam with a zoom range of 4° to 50° (1:12 ratio) and also in ‘Beam’ mode yielding a parallel, well defined light beam with a minimum beam angle of just 2.5°. The fixtures impressive effects engine is capable of producing outstanding animation and visual effects with 6 x beam reducer filters on the gobo wheel, cutting edge animation disk, 6 x HQ dichroic rotating gobos and wheel with 18+1 fixed metal gobos.

Across the city, a famous underpass often taken over as an unlicensed party venue became the location of artist Jesse Kanda’s ‘historic rave’ installation. Kanda projected archive footage of Hull’s party-scene across the walls of the space. Added to the mix was Marenghi’s immersive ‘laser’ light display created using 12 x Claypaky Alpha Spot QWO 800s and 8 x Claypaky Sharpy Wash 330s.

“The superb optcis of the Alpha Spot QWO 800s along with the fixture’s laser dot gobo allowed me to create sequences of fanned out, laser-like beams,” says Marenghi. “I underpinned these beam effects with a colour wash provided by the Sharpy Wash 330s, which were selected for their lightweight hardware, low power consumption and high output; invaluable features when faced with limited space and power supply.”

In 2013 Hull it was announced that Hull would become ‘City of Culture 2017’, the second city in the UK to be awarded City of Culture status. Hull UK City of Culture 2017 was set up by the city’s council as an independent