The opening and closing ceremonies for Dubai’s World Cup at Meydan Racecourse were enjoyed by a live and television audience of millions around the world. As a main supplier for the region’s biggest horse racing spectacle of 2011, Meydan Rocks, ShowTex Middle East worked together with Al Laith Event Services and the show’s producers and designers M-IS.
A main design feature, three massive mobile scenic horses’ heads were covered with a combination of stretch fabrics, sheers and ShowTex’s eco-friendly silk, satin, and taffeta cloths. Huge amounts of PolyStretch, DekoSilk, DekoTaft, Satinac, and Voile CS Colour brought the horses to life. In order to install the intricate design, nearly 2km of glass fiber rod were used. The heads represented the three legendary equestrian bloodlines – the Darley Arabian, the Godolphin Arabian, and the Byerly Turk – from which all modern thoroughbred racehorses are descended and were built on giant Mammoet crawler beds, six stories high, weighing over 100 tons each.
Each horse measured 65’ high, 62’ long and 10’ wide. Al Laith had to ensure that they could safely be “ridden” by up to 26 performers and driven for at least a mile while performing animatronic functions like billowing the silks to make the manes flow and simulating muscle movement with the drapes--in potentially seasonal windy conditions --for the celebrations following the conclusion of the 2011 Dubai World Cup.
The heads travelled a mile with their silky fabric manes flowing behind them in front of all the public grandstands and cheering crowds, halting by the track’s finish line and in front of the Royal Box for a dramatic lead up to the finale of fireworks.
Six colossal stages were built on 45’ articulated trucks carrying huge structures which represented key aspects of Meydan and further replicas of its iconic architecture. ShowTex ME was responsible for all finishing on these stages and used a broad selection of flame retardant fabrics and projection surfaces from throughout the ShowTex range. More unique elements were a two-sided circular mirror with a printed graphic on the reverse side integrated into musical performances on the main stage, a nearly 50’ high book with fabric pages that could be turned mechanically, and giant mesh fabric panels to frame the world’s largest LED screen. These custom printed banners, measuring 115’x50’ high, were mounted to truss structures and hoisted 165’ into the air behind the LED screen so video viewing of Meydan City’s construction progress could continue once the video had reached the top limits of the screen.
According to ShowTex ME managing director Sven Peeters, “Our partners were secure in the knowledge that any idea they came up with, no matter how outlandish, would be met by our team with an unrivaled flexibility, and the ability to call on advice and assistance from a global network of experts within the ShowTex group. We were really with them every step of the way!”
John Young, M-IS Creative Director
Ross Cameron Project Manager Al Laith
Electra, Scenic Builder
Delta Sound, Sound
Voile CS Colour
XL Print Mesh
Giant Mirror foil