On 22 June 2020, over 9,000 buildings, monuments, cultural sites and spaces were illuminated red by over 8,300 participating companies – primarily in Germany – for #NightofLight2020, in what was arguably the largest ever collective lighting ‘direct action’ campaign to date.
#NightofLight2020 was initiated and carefully planned by a team of lighting and AV professionals led by Tom Koperek from Essen-based event marketing agency LK AG to raise awareness of the critical economic plight of the live event industry in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Robe lighting enthusiastically supported via German subsidiary Robe DE which also assisted in supplying kit for some key locations from the current demo stock. In addition to the many installations already independently utilising Robe products, the company’s HQ in Valašské Meziříčí, Czech Republic, and the German office building in Munich were lit up in resplendent red to show solidarity.
It is estimated that the German events industry generates annual revenues of around 130bn Euros and employs up to a million people – figures that dramatically increase to around 200 billion Euros with three million employees when including all the associated businesses.
The sector has effectively been shut down since 10 March, crowd gatherings have been banned, venues are closed, live performances are off the table, companies are shuttered, employees furloughed or laid off and hundreds of thousands of talented freelance technicians, creatives plus the entire event support infrastructure normally working in this thriving market sector is without work or business.
With large scale public events currently banned in Germany until 31 October, it is increasingly challenging for live event service industry companies and individuals to survive for such a long period without any cashflow. Sustaining income losses of between 80-100% over eight months cannot realistically be offset by many even with the potentially outstandingly successful and busy year that is being predicted in 2021.
Robe Deutschland was involved directly in supporting four installations – including the Hornisgrinde Tower, a 206m high radio mast in Baden-Württemberg, part of the Rhine Valley, located on the highest mountain in the Black Forest at an altitude of 1,125m.
Among the multitude of lit buildings were significant monuments, like the Olympia Tower in Munich, an elegant 290m high modernist architectural masterpiece and observation / comms mast in the centre of Munich’s Olympic Park area, which was lit up like a beacon with Robe fixtures supplied by Magic Event & Medientechnik and was visible all over the Bavarian city.
The thousands of participating companies in Germany were joined by colleagues in Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, Belgium, The Netherlands and the UK – including Clearsound Productions from Shipston-on-Stour, which has led several UK-based lighting action events. On this occasion, they used four MegaPointes to light its warehouse red.
Magic Event & Medientechnik’s Florian Kroiss and Gärtnerplatztheater’s Raphael Kurig approached the team from Olympiapark. They had already mused about lighting their tower, however this came at exactly the right time and they were very keen to receive professional support, so the lighting design was created by Florian K, Florian Eberle and Markus Keichel.
Utilising 68 Robe moving lights – 36 LEDBeam 150s, 16 MegaPointes and 16 ESPRITEs. The Mega Pointes and ESPRITEs were positioned on the floor and on the Tower’s visitor platform. The tower mast was lit beautifully from below with the ESPRITEs and the underside of the first platform – at 150m – with the MegaPointes. Lighting control was performed by an MA Lighting grandMA2 light and a grandMA3 light, while power was provided by local supplies on the ground and on the tower. Kroiss commented: “We are all really hoping that politicians will take note and take sensible steps to help the event industry through this crisis.”
The temporary lighting design for the reinforced concrete tower – a network transmitter for Südwestrundfunk (SWR), the regional public broadcasting corporation serving the southwest of Germany – was created by Marcel Albrecht.
He first chatted to colleagues from two companies Trendlight Showtechnic from Achern and Cassiopeia Event Technology from Renche, who were both very keen to join in, so Marcel together with Manuel Brommer and Martin Heuberger – MDs of the two companies – dealt with all the permissions.
The project was also fully supported by Frank Scherer from Stuttgart Regional Council and head of Südwestrundfunk. The planning and lighting design were extensively tested and visualised in Depence 2 by Manuel before specifying the lighting fixtures and determining their optimum placement. A total of 12 Robe BMFL Washes and eight Spiider wash beam moving lights were used, positioned at 180° around the tower so the power and brightness reached the top of this local landmark. Vertical laser projections of the #NightofLight2020 logo completed the picture, controlled by an MA Lighting grandMA3 console.
Robe DE’s smart office building in Ismaning, Munich, was turned a rich and deep scarlet red with three Tarrantula LED wash lights for the shorter end walls, and nine Tetra2 moving LED battens for the longer walls, accompanied by four Spiiders – two at the corners and two each in the middle corners left and right of the entrance/bay windows. Two LEDBeam150s were used to light the entrance.
Robe Germany’s Olaf Nehrenheim supported two projects in his hometown of Mettingen – involving the buildings of trussing and metal structures specialist manufacturer H.O.F. Alutec Metallverarbeitungs and Konzeptwerkstatt Merge, a popular workshop café and food concept in a tastefully converted former industrial space.
Nehrenheim utilised a mixture of Robe MegaPointes and ESPRITEs for H.O.F. which were positioned inside the building in a design engineered by Dennis Klostermann from H.O.F., which ‘radiated’ lumens from within in combination with the LED floods from their permanent exterior building lighting scheme.
At the Konzeptwerkstatt HQ, the three outer walls were washed in a deep ruby red with Robe Spiiders, Tarrantulas, SuperSpikies and a T1 Profile. Both companies were very keen to stand with #NightofLight2020 and Olaf was “delighted” to assist both sites with his Robe demo stock.
Robe Germany’s Martin Opitz assisted Ralf Peter Petschke from event company Veranstaltungsdienst Petschke in lighting the dome of the Stadtkirche Ruhland, a listed building in the picturesque town in the southern Brandenburg district of Oberspreewald-Lausitz.
Illuminated with Robe ESPRITEs, MegaPointes and Tarrantulas, which were positioned in the market square 150m away. The MegaPointe was installed at the back of the church tower and had to cover around 200m. The tower and dome were visible from many miles away including the busy transport artery of Autobahn 13.
Robe Deutschland’s Marketing Manager Julian von den Stemmen commented: “When I first read about #NightofLight2020 on social media, there were only a few participants, and the team at Robe DE immediately committed to taking part. “Our main goal was to help amplify the event via our substantial social media outreach and through all our direct contacts, encouraging as many as possible to participate. Our colleagues were happy to spend their downtime in assisting their various associates with supplying demo units, and also to light up our office whilst enjoying a nice evening together. “With the factory in ValMez also joining forces, we experienced a truly magical night during which the whole industry felt united!”
He concluded: “Night Of Light 2020 has definitely raised awareness of the role and importance of the live events industry with the public and hopefully will also influence politicians.” In the days immediately following #NightofLight2020, organisers announced their first meetings with members of the German Federal Parliament to discuss the issues at hand.