While Sun Microsystems, Inc.'s annual JavaOne conference was marked by serious technical sessions by day, it concluded with a seriously fun Java After-Dark Bash where DaVinci Fusion — charged with creating a memorable evening for attendees in the massive space of the Moscone Center Ballroom in San Francisco — showed 5,000 Java fanatics how to party. This year, the company gave a gritty, industrial feel to the environment, where the key attraction was a robot war featuring the Battle Bots.

“Our goal was to create an experiential event for everyone in the hall, whether they were up close to the Battle Bots or viewing the action on the big screens,” notes DaVinci Fusion president Solomon Rosenzweig. To accomplish that, the company crafted a Battle Bots ring in the middle of the space with bleachers surrounding it. The four-sided structure was in the form of a stylized bridge, its grid-like shape composed of hand-painted bridgework scenery on canvas. From each side of the “bridge” hung a large projection screen fed by cameras displaying I-Mag of the Battle Bots' combat taking place below the bridge. “It was Battle Bots meets Fight Club,” says Rosenzweig.

Additional screens were suspended from a stylized bridge grid elsewhere in the hall. One area featured a giant, colorful graffiti wall heralding the Battle Bots. Lighting included custom glass gobos, inspired by the work of Bascove, projected through Martin MAC 2000 profiles with extra-wide lenses.

The edgy theme was enhanced with drainpipe crafted into functional streetlights. Scaffold towers covered in canvas became commentator booths, and graffiti art was as prevalent as rust in the rain. All in all, the décor and lighting concept was developed from an experience of Rosenzweig's youth: “Rumble in the concrete jungle — it always took place under the bridges or in some other industrial area away from prying eyes. What better way to bring on an edgy experience where mechanical machines pound each other into splinters and spill green hydraulic fluid?”