Christian Bowman

The Team
Architect/Interior Design: The Buchan Group
AV Integrator:
 Haycom AV

Rental and staging—the art of building audiovisual systems for a show or event, only to take them down when the event is over—is sometimes a forgotten art in this age of impressive, permanently installed systems. But there are times when it’s the staged event, simply because it’s ephemeral, that breaks new, creative ground. Last November, Rio Tinto, an international mining company, hosted a year-end party at the Customs House in the Australian city of Brisbane. The party lasted just two hours, and local architecture firm and Spotlight Award winner the Buchan Group was hired to turn the Customs House into a visually spectacular venue without disturbing the interior of the 122-year-old heritage site. The Buchan Group decided to use lighting and projected imagery to meet Rio Tinto’s expectations without leaving a trace.

The Buchan Group, along with integrator Haycom AV, used conventional Christie Digital Systems Roadster HD12K projectors in unconventional ways, namely to “paint” the architecturally ornate and curved walls of the Custom House with specially designed 2D and 3D imagery. At one point during the party, the room’s walls and columns would show a single projected scene, with specific colors or images mapped to specific areas of the room, such as company photos appearing precisely in the rooms’ many windows. At other times, a single visual effect would draw partiers’ attention, including a dramatic 3D company logo that appeared to float in a single spotlight, its virtual shadow cast upon the wall behind it. The Buchan Group even designed a virtual mine pit, with a bauxite freight train and mining trucks, and projected it at full scale.

The result was a dynamic, 31-by-110-foot canvas of projected imagery, engulfing guests as they sipped cocktails. And because revelers were so close to the images, mapped as they were to the room’s walls, everything was programmed for a high-resolution, 3840x1080-pixel video stream.