Design studio, ABLight boasts a diverse portfolio of projects – from illuminating live concerts to nature sites and buildings throughout Lithuania. Following a difficult 12 months wrangling with the COVID-19 pandemic, Lighting Designer, Arvydas ‘ABlight’ Buinauskas sits down with TPi – virtually – to reflect on the state of play regarding live events in the region and his optimism for 2021.
When was ABLight formed and how many people are a part of the organisation?
“In 2014, I was working as a light designer and I had an idea to start creating custom lighting projects for events. Soon the name ABLight was created and it helped to accelerate a substantial growth for the future. From that moment on, I have created exceptional projects for concerts, festivals, operas, theatre and even for architectural lighting projects using the guise ABLight.”
What services do ABLight provide for the live events sector?
“As a design studio, we create custom scenography and lighting projects for different types of events. As the head of ABLight and the primary designer, I often curate a plan of what the project will look like. Afterwards, I program the lighting equipment to fulfil the brief and concept of the scenography.”
What have been some of the biggest live music projects you have worked on over the years?
“Without a doubt, I would say the Okean Elzy solo concert in Ukraine that had the attendance of almost 100,000 people. I was hired to create the scenography and the lighting plan of a 360° stage. It was a difficult task because I had only a month to think of an idea, design it and even program the lights. However, in the end, it was by far the largest and the most massive event that ABLight played a leading role.”
What separates ABLight from other companies in Lithuania?
“It is the principle that an event does not simply require lighting and sound equipment. ABLight sees every event as an opportunity to tell a different story. We work really hard to find solutions for new projects – it is never about the quantity of equipment. We discover subtle ways for everything to work as a whole. Everything on stage or in our specified scenography has its purpose.”
Do you have any preference on what type of show you design lighting for?
“Before the pandemic of COVID-19 pandemic, I was mostly hired by musicians and their solo concerts in different venues. 2019 was our busiest year to date, having worked on most of the concerts held in Žalgirio Arena with some of the biggest performing artists and music acts in Lithuania. I create a story using the music of an artist. It starts slow as a rising wave and ends in a spectacular show that combines music with lighting. It is a sacred bond that has a sole goal to emphasise emotions for the audience.”
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How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected ABLight and the wider events sector in Lithuania?
“It is no surprise that COVID-19 has affected the industry the world over. Lithuania is no exception. Thankfully, we have not lost the opportunity to continue working. It is most likely because of the philosophy of how this team sees the event industry and every single event as a separate opportunity to create something unique that led to interesting projects even during the COVID-19 pandemic. While it is not permitted to organise large scale events that attract thousands of attendees at any one time – different cities around Lithuania are beginning to organise lighting projects for their buildings and nature sites for all different occasions and national holidays. During the COVID-19 pandemic, ABLight has, thankfully, shared the opportunity to light up the castle of Trakai, the hills of Kernavė, the town hall square in Kaunas, Gediminas castle tower in Vilnius, the theatre square in Klaipėda, the baroque style church in Tytuvėnai, and the newly build church in Vilnius Pilaitė district, among other landmarks in the country.
What’s next for you and team at ABLight?
“It is quite exciting to see what happens in 2021. We are having discussions with the National opera house of Lviv for a new ballet premier. Of course, there are new projects waiting in Lithuania. At this time ABLight is planning and searching for partners to organise lighting festivals in different parts of Lithuania.”
How do you believe the events industry will recover as we move through this year?
“It is difficult to say. Although it is the same virus that is spreading around the world the situation in every country is different. All we can hope for is that the vaccination process will accelerate and it will help us to get back to normal. This is something that ABLight wishes for everyone around the world.”