WI Offers Cup of Hospitality to Kazakhstan
Belgian-based WIcreations, working for Italian production company Balich WS, was asked to engineer and fabricate the large Cup of Hospitality for Kazakhstan’s recent 550th anniversary celebration show in the capital, Astana.
The event, attended by five heads of state, VIPs and dignitaries and 7,000 public, took place in the brand new Ice Palace venue. For WI, the project followed hot on the heels of its work at the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2015 European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan, and WI’s team of five was led by Yves Vervloet.
The cup was based on a traditional Kazak drinking goblet and was required to fit under the stage in a depth of just 500mm, from where it had to rise out of the floor, be flown up and disappear into the roof of the venue.
Vervloet and the team were presented with the basic creative concept and shape by Balich WS’s project manager Andrea Faini, and from there proposed a custom design solution comprising 16 concentric aluminium rings that all folded into one another giving the entire construction a remarkable folded height of just 400mm.
The largest ring had an eight metre diameter and the total unfolded height of the piece was also eight metres. The rings were connected by a series of meticulously calculated and positioned nylon wires, and as the cup was raised, the rings below unfolded one-by-one to complete the curved shape. The total weight was around 700kgs.
The rings, made from extra strong laser-quality aluminium, were edged with around a kilometre of 24V warm white LED strip lighting.
The cup was constructed in WI’s workshop at Heist-op-den-Berg in Belgium, then packaged up and freighted to the venue in Astana, where the final assembly took place.
It was picked up by a 1200kg winch system (supplied by Stage One) via a central pick-point and 10 nylon wires securing it to the upper ring.
Wiring and all the necessary elements to power the LED strips was also built in to the top ring and connected and run to the lower rings.
The cup was one of the major props and made its entrance at a key moment in the two-hour show recalling the history and achievements of Kazakhstan complete with amazing lighting, stunning HD widescreen projections and a fully choreographed dancing, singing, and performing cast of 3,250 people, 20 horses and 8 camels.
Around 350 production crew came together to make it happen, and Vervloet commented: “We really enjoyed the challenges and being part of this show that was such a landmark for the country. It was great to be working on another groundbreaking and ambitious international production, and there was a very collaborative atmosphere throughout the build period in the Ice Palace as well as lots of excitement and anticipation on the night. Everyone was proud to have been involved.”
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