Airstar Supports Shawn Mendes for his Illuminate World Tour

Shawn Mendes is currently embarking on his Illuminate world tour and Airstar, is helping to set the unique stage for the hottest ticket of 2017 with its Pendulair LED product.

The Illuminate tour comprises 61 dates with Shawn playing some of the world’s biggest music venues. Named after his current Platinum-selling second studio album, the show features a set built around a 5M wide Airstar Pendulair LED lighting balloon – known as the ‘Orb’. Providing the main source of the light for fans as they walk into the venue, in an off-blue hue which links the tour to the Illuminate album logo, the Orb takes centre stage alongside Shawn for the duration of the concert.

Lighting and stage design for Shawn’s third concert tour and first all-arena tour is overseen by Louis Oliver and James Scott of Okulus, working alongside Shawn’s Creative Director Paul Caslin, on-the-road Lighting Director Ryan Nixon and Production Manager Andrew Thornton at 24/7 Productions Ltd.

“With Shawn’s current album entitled Illuminate, we wanted a central piece to the performance that brought this to life visually and set the right tone and atmosphere. Paul took inspiration from the dramatic Solar Equation project from Rafael Lozano-Hemmer and this led us to envisage the ‘Orb’ and reach out to Airstar,” explained Thornton.

Okulus isthe driving force behind the collaboration, and Scott elaborated: “The Orb is the visual representation of Shawn’s inner conscience, which he talks with as part of the artistic narrative interwoven between tracks. He performs three songs directly beneath the Orb, with a custom content by Treatment Studio mapped onto it. The lighting and staging became another medium through which he is speaking with his fans, creating a fully immersive experience.”

Luke Baudouin, Event and Architectural Lighting Manager at Airstar UK explained: “The Pendulair LED we made for the tour was the first of its kind. We had only seven weeks to custom-build a five-metre wide balloon for the launch of the album in Madison Square Garden. We are thrilled that they chose to use the Airstar Pendulair for Shawn’s world tour, and make it the centrepiece of the show.”

Hanging from one Tait NAV Hoist so it can be lowered into exact positions, the Orb has 12 TMB Solaris Flares rigged on the central truss, and the structure is air ventilated. The lighting inside the Orb is timecoded and controlled via a grandMA2 lighting console and automation is controlled by a Tait Navigator system.

Airstar’s Pendulair LED also acts as a fantastic backdrop for projection mapping. Four Panasonic PT-DZ21K2 projectors are mounted on platforms at ground level equidistantly around the Orb. They are able to provide the complex warping required and are focused in the down position, mapped and edge-blended to distribute content around the Pendulair. The content is fed to the projectors via the Hippotizer Boreals media server by Green Hippo.

“As well as being visually spectacular, the integration of the Pendulair has been seamless and hassle-free – in fact it has been working perfectly from the very first tests,” added Scott. “We just spent a little time adjusting the intensity of the light inside and getting the projection mapping to match the seams so it looks perfect.

“We had fantastic support from Airstar throughout the project,” he continued. “During the installation process we’ve connected with the Airstar technical team remotely to conduct tests and exchange results and they have been extremely helpful.”

Thornton is thrilled with the result. “Build quality and reliability are paramount to us on such a lengthy tour and we couldn’t have asked for more with the Airstar Pendulair LED.”

“It has been a wonderful experience working alongside an efficient team of individuals to deliver and pioneer a new bespoke LED product that is being used all around the world.” Baudouin concluded.