When the renovated and expanded Madame Tussauds exhibition reopened on The Peak in Hong Kong it featured the inaugural use of the DecoPAR™ from TMB in Hong Kong.
Pacific Lighting (HK) Limited, produced the lighting for the Tussauds exhibition when it originally opened in 2000, and they won the design, supply, and installation contract for the renovation project that began in September 2005 leading to a spring 2006 reopening.
Lighting designer Hugh Chinnick, director of Pacific Lighting, explains that there are unique considerations and obstacles to overcome when lighting for Madame Tussauds, "Wax figures are one of the most challenging and time consuming subjects to light," says Hugh. "It's not like theatre, where the audience is some distance from the actor. With Tussauds the 'audience' is encouraged to get up close and personal. Every figure is a photo opportunity, and every detail of the face, hands and costume is up for the closest scrutiny. The main task is to bring the figure to life. Wax can look precisely that, like wax. Making it look alive requires minute attention to lighting angle, intensity, and color temperature. The eyes are the key to success and must sparkle, which can be difficult when the figure is looking down, like Harrison Ford, who is set in an escape scene from Indiana Jones.”
The DecoPAR made its debut in Hong Kong as part of two new sections of the exhibition; a small stage for a Canto Pop idol and the new setting for Tina Turner and Freddie Mercury. The exhibition designer was looking to incorporate a more theatrical feel for both of these areas putting the wax figures into a more natural setting. These settings require the lighting fixtures to be in view as scenic elements as well as the light source for the displays.
Chinnick describes how the DecoPAR was the right solution for these areas, "We used MR16 Birdies to light the entire exhibition, so we needed something that had the 'look' of theatre, yet was not too large, and could be used on a lighting track. The DecoPAR was perfect for the job. Not too big, looks good, and with the range of lamp options it has, it was the perfect choice. We used them as backlight, with some color filter, and they worked like a dream.” Chinnick admits that when lighting wax figures, “Color is usually a no-no, but it added to the concert feel of the Turner/Mercury exhibit."