Kinesys’ K2 automation control system was used to fly a 16m high spiral staircase reveal, the centrepiece for Karl Lagerfeld’s highly visual "Ice Princesses" show for Chanel during Paris Fashion Week. This was staged in the newly renovated Grand Palais, just off the Champs Elysees.

Flemish rental company EML supplied sound, lighting, and rigging equipment for the event which was production managed by Alain Van Isacker. The stage was a Stageco structure, and the show’s technical aspects, including the staircase, was conceived by Hans Willems of Stageco. The staircase was constructed by French company Devineau, with the truss tower and all the load bearing mechanical elements supplied by Stageco.

The K2 system, which EML purchased last year and debuted on the Clouseau show in Antwerp, was operated by Koen De Puysseleir.

The EML team created a 360-degree arena for 2000 guests, with 16 elegant lighting towers arranged around the perimeter, each rigged with 20 Arena Visions concealed behind large frames of Lee frost filter. In the center of the space, they constructed an 18m diameter circular stage, and in the middle of this was a 16m high x 5m diameter cylinder tower, the bottom half of which hid a spiral staircase inside from the audience’s view.

The cylinder ‘sleeve’ mechanism was attached to four CM Varistar BGV-C1 vari-speed chain hoists, converted for use with the Kinesys system. They were double-reeved to give a 1000kg SWL and were rigged below stage in the base of the self-contained tower structure.

During the show, 45 models walked onto stage, circled the cylinder and then walked into it via a pair of automatic doors.

As the 15-minute show concluded, the last model walked up to the tower and touched it, giving the cue for the cylinder to lift 13m in the air using K2, revealing the staircase, fully laden with all 45 models, for a spectacular finale. The motors were running at 20m per minute for the move, well below their maximum of 30.

The tower’s total height by the end of the move was 29m visible, with a further 2m secreted under the stage and approximately 10m of headroom still left above in the Grand Palais’ lofty ceiling. It made for a dramatic, heart-stopping finale to a phenomenal show and had the likes of Bernadette Chirac, Avril Lavigne, Victoria Beckham, and other A-list fashionistas, gasping in amazement.

This was a very simple move to program using K2, explains De Puysseleir, adding that he loves the system for its logical, tactile ‘hands-on’ control. “I am also a lighting operator, and it feels very similar to running a lighting console,” he says.

The innovative K2 system can control any lifting or moving device. Its ability to work with the actual moving items is central to its programming philosophy. K2 provides 3D viewers so movement of objects can be monitored and programmed from any angle.