Nick Gray of UK creative lighting design practice Renegade once again designed lighting for the main British Fashion Council (BFC) Courtyard Show Space at Somerset House for London Fashion Week (LFW) 2012.
Working for his client Bacchus, he also lit the brand new Embankment Gallery Space at Somerset House and the Portico Show Space. Offsite, Gray designed lighting for the high profile Burberry show in Kensington Gardens.
This is the sixth season that Gray has lit the BFC Space, which features up to six shows a day for the five day LFW event including some of the highest profile designers like Marios Schwab, Bora Aksu, Mark Fast, Jasper Conran, Issa London and many more.
His imaginative input has brought a fresh and new look which is flexible and adaptable to accommodate a dynamic selection of shows, simultaneously giving the all-important runway light coverage for the photographic and video crews.
This time around, Gray returned to a three truss look for the Space – a centre and two side trusses – which ran down the length of the 25 metre catwalk.
A hundred and seventy ETC Source Fours were the core fixtures of the rig, the majority fitted with 36 degree lenses, all focused carefully along the catwalk. The front array Source Fours were fitted with 5, 10, 19 and 26 degree lenses.
For maximum impact, the entrance / back wall was cross-lit with 10 Svoboda's with diffusion gel in front of them,, all neatly masked from view.
Some collections brought in lighting â€˜specials', but the vast majority used the standard lighting rig. When using just the centre truss lights, Gray could close the space down for a very intimate feel. Bringing in lighting from the two side trusses opened it up, and if desired, also allowed the audience to be included in the visual picture.
The trussing and lighting fixtures were supplied by Neg Earth. Renegade provided the Chamsys MagicQ console to run the shows, programmed and operated by Paulus van Heijkant, and the lighting crew chief was Ben Howell.
Gray's brief also included illuminating the reception area, where he designed a bespoke installation using a selection of very cool vintage light bulbs and black festoons, that were tidily clamped to the marquee's superstructure.
In the BFC Lounge, Bacchus created a special light art work using Flos Lightspring units - wall-mounting LED fixtures with an injection-molded methacrylate diffuser and a photo-engraved internal finish for indirect light. These were supplied by Shok London together with the vintage bulbs and festoon.
In the meeting room, Gray added some more visual magic with fabulous looking Nelson pendant lights. The trick in these areas was to create an attractive focus that gave an air of funky elegance - Gray is well known for his light works fitting this context.
He works on many other fashion shows and events around the world, but LFW is one of his favourites of which he says, "It's always a great event in which to be involved. Lighting the new Embankment Gallery space made it even more interesting and challenging this season, and being commissioned to light the reception and meeting areas is a bonus where creative touches can really flourish”.
The Embankment Gallery is a long vaulted ceilinged space in the basement of Somerset House - which in this case was transformed into a 34 metre long catwalk area and used for several â€˜hot' shows including Emilio de la Morena, Simone Rocha and JJS Lee as well as for the whole event's press launch .
Renegade asked Blackout to supply a ground support system running the full length of the room which was cleverly veiled behind the arches.
Running down the centre spine were 30 x 8-way Photon beard Pampalites. These are portable fluorescent fixtures and were run in a format of four tubes in two curved reflectors effectively forming two â€˜halves' of the fixture - for fully flexible focusing. Each individual bulb can be dimmed and adjusted.
In this case, they were run in daylight to produce a perfectly even field of light along the runway and in conjunction with a front array of Source Fours.
All lighting for this area was supplied by film and TV lighting specialists Panalux to Renegade, with another Renegade Chamsys console for control, run by Chris Fyfe.
In addition to all the runway shows, Twenty8Twelve did an installation of photographic stills and other material that was shown on a series of plasma screens running all the way down both sides of the space. "It was a busy space with lots of tight scheduling and diverse requirements " explains s Gray, "all needing to be flexibly and imaginatively lit".
As soon as the last model strutted the catwalk in the BFC Show Space, it was all change for the launch of â€˜London Fashion Weekend', featuring a special show over the following weekend with tickets on public sale.
Opened to a performance by rapper Tinchy Stryder on the Thursday night, Gray duly rocked up the Space with the addition of 12 Martin Professional MAC 101 LED wash lights, 12 Clay Paky Sharpies, six strobes and several metres of RGB X-Flex. He has worked for Tinchy Strider before and is also LD for popular rockers Kasabian.