The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) collaborated, once again, with Along Came Mary Productions to produce the official Grammy Awards after-party at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The Academy's Branden Chapman and Rex Supra teamed with Along Came Mary's Mary Micucci and Erick Weiss to produce the event and create the design strategy.
The look was inspired by the urban nightlife of Tokyo contrasted with the pastoral setting of rural Japan, simulating an edgy nightclub one moment then transitioning to a calmer, more organic environment. Angel City Designs provided the décor concept, giving lighting designer Larry Oberman and ShowPro a host of scenic and performance elements to illuminate. Dancers twirled on uplit platforms, while chandeliers provided a projection surface high above the event. Video projectors were used as lighting instruments to create photo-realistic patterns and colors. Element Labs VersaTubes created what ShowPro owner David Smith describes as “digital bamboo.”
The massive volume of the convention center provided a wealth of space and height. A key element of Oberman's design was that the room would change its look every hour. Lighting and projection of ambers and greens provided a romantic “Zen” atmosphere, while reds and blues created a “nighttime in the city” feel. The décor pieces were used as multi-sided projection surfaces.
The lighting and projection design included 131 automated lights, including High End Systems Studio Colors and Studio Spots, Martin MAC 2000s and MAC 250s, as well as Coemar ParLite LEDs, Color Kinetics ColorBlast and ColorBlaze LED fixtures, Morpheus M-Faders, and ETC Source Four PARs and ellipsoidals, all controlled via five Flying Pig Systems Wholehog 2 consoles. Visual displays included 1m VersaTubes, several VersaTiles built into coffee table tops, and eight 6,500-lumen video projectors with two Versa Drive D2 processors.
In an adjacent hall, a separate awards show and executive cocktail party took place as a “Salute to Industry Icons.” The Police reunited to present Lifetime Achievement Awards to record business pioneers Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss. This space also functioned as a viewing room for guests to see a recording of the Grammy Awards Ceremony from hours earlier. In yet another hall, a jazz lounge was lit and furnished with carpeting, hanging lanterns, and candle canopied beds for lounging. The use of LED fixtures here gave the environment the look and feel of a subdued jazz club and provided an intimate setting for the veteran jazz acts to perform on stage.
The main stage here was lit using a combination of moving and conventional lights, highlighting an eclectic lineup that included performances by Chaka Khan and Kool & The Gang. The design also used a theatrical element to support the unique aerialists dangling from the ceiling and interpretive dancers staged in multiple areas of the room, including the main stage and the elevated platforms.
The execution of the installation, operation, and strike went off without a hitch, thanks in part to production manager Matt Leach of Eggs and Bacon Inc. Next year, all sights are set on the benchmark 50th anniversary of NARAS and the Grammy Awards.