UVLD provided projection and lighting design for the 5th annual Volvo For Life Awards ceremony held at Cipriani 42nd Street, New York City. Benjamin Bratt hosted the evening, which featured celebrity judges, international entertainers, and honorees from across the country.

The awards, voted on by the American public, honor favorite hometown heroes in the categories of Safety, the Environment, and Quality of Life and single out a Grand Award Winner from those categories. This year’s Grand Award Winner was Rose Mapendo, an African refugee and mother of nine, who established a humanitarian aid organization that works with the US State Department and the United Nations to rescue and protect other African refugees.

“Cipriani 42nd Street is a wonderful venue, visually,” notes UVLD lighting designer Rob Cangemi. “It was originally a bank built in 1923, and is an architectural gem. The room speaks for itself, and it does not take much for it shine. The overall look I aimed for was a sophisticated elegance. It was all about balancing the focal point of the room—the stage—with the festive environment. We did a soft, warm breakup wash over the space and picked out the buffet tables and registration areas. Custom gobos of the event’s logos were also projected inside as well as outside from across the street.”

The stage needed special treatment, and because of its placement in the room, there was no backlight possible from the house rig. From 4Wall, Cangemi obtained eight Source Four PARs and four Color Blaze LED strip lights to position vertically behind the band, facing the audience. “I wanted to have enough going on behind the band to give it a sparkle, especially as seen through the HD IMAG screens. I chose the Color Blazes because the LED technology offers vibrant colors, instant response time, and a lot of programming possibilities,” he explains. “Programmer Paul Sonnleitner, using a Whole Hog IPC, broke them into 12 individual cells per light giving us 48 programmable units. Paul’s ability to come up with chase variations impresses me every time. With a multitude of looks and intensity ‘movement’ coming out of the Color Blazes, we were able to give each song its own unique look and feel. As a counterpoint to the modern feel of the LED units, we used the eight PARs gelled in a warm CTO as backlight. While helpful for the IMAG, it also gave us a refreshing contrast, sort of a retro, incandescent warmth.

Marc Buchan, the show producer, comments, “The Volvo For Life Awards have a special importance to everyone at Fitzgerald Brunetti Productions who conceived of the concept with Volvo Cars of North America in 2002 and have been literally putting their heart and soul into the event for five years now. It’s an incredibly important night for all the nominees, their families, and supporters so we have to do everything in our power to get it right every time. Anyone who has attended these ceremonies will tell you how emotional they are— in fact there’s rarely a dry eye in the house. You would expect that from the Heroes and the guests, but we usually see tears from the media and crew too!"

“The house crew at Cipriani 42nd Street was great,” continues Cangemi. "From the moment we walked into the venue, they were accommodating and kept up with last minute adjustments on-site.”

"After five successful years, we have created a production team we believe is second to none in the industry. A group of professionals and trusted vendors that we can totally rely on to deliver beyond our expectations and are very proud to have UVLD as valuable part of that team. Their design and execution was flawless – but then that is what we’ve come to expect from them over the years," concludes Buchan.