Mack Truck has been around for 114 years, and in that time the company has maintained its reputation for tough, reliable products. British soldiers gave Mack its iconic “Bulldog” nickname during World War I for the tenacious performance of the Mack AC truck in the trenches. More than a century later, the bulldog still symbolizes the confidence of the brand, as Mack recently updated the company’s logo and identity elements, which were revealed at a party for press, dealers, and invited customers during the 2014 CONEXPO-CON/AGG trade show in Las Vegas.

Lighting designer Glenn Wade transformed the outdoor courtyard plaza of Las Vegas’ World Market into a backdrop for the event. As the sleeker, more modern logo with the Mack bulldog poised above the Mack word mark and the new tagline, Born Ready, was unveiled, Wade lit the trucks and the surrounding buildings, creating a celebratory environment.

Live Design: Walk us through the key elements of your design and how it reflected Mack Truck.

Glenn Wade: Mack Truck wanted a creative party atmosphere; that was the number one goal. They knew they wanted it to be gold, silver, and black. I pointed out that black is hard to do; I just turn the lights off, and I couldn’t do that. I could get pretty close to the brand’s gold color, and for silver, I went with white light on the silver trusses. It was a fun, festive party atmosphere but not a club feeling, more one that people could come and relax. It was the first time that I worked with Mack Truck on a project. I was brought in to handle the lighting by Dan Stevenson of Events on Sand, the technical producer. Dauntless Creative was the overall producer for this event.

LD: Tell us how the space informed your design.

GW: The sheer size of the space was interesting; it was a lot of building surfaces to cover and a lot of floor surface to cover as well. It was about getting a lot of mileage out of not so many fixtures in a really giant space. I refer to it as Acres of Light. I’m sure that there had to be four to five acres of building and area to light.

There are many textures on the buildings, many different materials, and a lot of kooky angles. It was a fun space to light up. I found it interesting to see what the light did on the buildings, the different materials and faces for the buildings with all of the angles, and being able to get this kind of really big, broad stroke look on all three sides. Essentially, the buildings are arranged in a U-shape around the plaza.

LD: Tell us about some of the challenges that you had to address.

GW: The client wanted to have lots of moving patterns on the ground, so the first thing that we looked at was going up to the top of the buildings and shooting straight down since we wouldn’t have been able to get ground-supported lighting up high enough to really do anything effective with patterns. From the top of the buildings, it was about a 260' throw down to the plaza. Between the logistics and the time-frame that we had as well as with the budgetary concerns, it became quickly obvious that path was going to be cost-prohibitive. I would have been able to do it but not in the time-frame, as I would have had to cantilever the lights off the roof. I was going to use [PRG] Bad Boys at that point because they are the best fixture for that throw distance, but to cantilever out over the parapets of the buildings would have been a massive rigging job.

I then proposed that we move away from patterns on the ground and instead looked at going with all ground-supported lights focused up on the buildings. With this method we could do patterns and get the movement we wanted for the party. I placed 20' high truss trees throughout the space, located to get the best shots on the buildings. We then had one big circular truss at the main central bar area. And again, I used that as a position to light up the bar area plus to get shots of the buildings. There was also a small stage on the side for the presentations and speeches.

So really in terms of challenges were the tight time-frame to get it loaded in, the real estate, and the many miles of cable. We had one day to do the power install and the major power distribution, a second full day to basically get the rig up, and half a day to flesh it out. I programmed it in two nights, and then it was time to go. It was a pretty tight schedule, and of course, the day we started load-in, it rained! Fortunately, it was the only day of rain.