Catching The Brits Afterglow

Production

Posted

Mar 21, 2018

For the third consecutive year, Maestra London worked for event designer Jason Morais to create a series of stunning, beautifully detailed and vibrant visual environments at the Freemasons’ Hall in London’s Covent Garden for Warner Music’s BRIT Awards 2018 after-show.

No sooner had the drama and surprises of the 2018 Brit Awards subsided at the O2 Arena, the celebrations began in central London, with many of the night’s major performers in attendance. Awards host Jack Whitehall showed up, along with Rita Ora, Liam Gallagher, and Warner Music’s own Stormzy and Dua Lipa – who took home three BRIT Awards between them that evening. Warner artists collected 75% of the awards in total, so there was much to celebrate!

Justin Hammond, Managing Director at Maestra, commented, “It was fantastic to be part of the high profile Warner event again and we are all delighted with the results. The challenge is always to produce something building on the previous year that is even more ambitious, cool and interesting for people to enjoy! A key to making people feel comfortable in a given space is having good, imaginative visual and sonic elements – and this was our brief to deliver.”

Maestra’s team was led by Senior Production Designer Jenny Woollard and Aisha Tarayan, who is Head of Projects. The southeast London-based company supplied full production, including supplying all technical and scenic infrastructure – set, lighting, rigging, audio, all décor – encompassing a myriad of bespoke designed items, carpeting, furniture, drapage and soft goods.

This year’s visual theme was based around striking geometry, and the mesmeric effect of stripes and blocks of colour. Elements of the design also referenced or complemented the form of the 2018 Brit Award. Designed by artist Anish Kapoor, this year’s award sees Britannia – the female personification of Britain – trapped inside a transparent red-coloured block.

Five distinctive spaces in the Freemasons’ Hall were transformed by the Maestra team, with Jenny and Aisha ensuring that Jason’s ideas and visions became a reality in an intense 36 hour setup period, during which they co-ordinated over 50 crew and multiple departments on site in a carefully choreographed operation.


The entranceway light art installation has become something of a trademark for this Warner event! Each year it is new, different, and completely unique, as well as a beacon highlighting the building and inviting guests in. This year Jason took the concept to new heights with a striking piece comprising seven 10ft high mirrored triangular pieces, edged in red LED tape which chased and tinkled in the cold night sky.

The triangles were flown from a ground support system, custom built to fit the entranceway so it was almost invisible. A pair of MAC Viper profile luminaires on the ground grazed up the front fascia of the building, drawing lots of passing interest and ensuring that the 800 VIPs in attendance could easily locate the venue.

Inside, the hallway floor was laid with black and white striped carpet, and the walls and ceilings hung with similarly patterned fabric, creating a psychedelic effect. A signature Warner ‘lozenge’ logo – also in black and white stripes – edged with white LED tape completed the look. 
Also in this area was a bespoke photo wall installation created by Jason and Jenny, with a 3D effect made up of shimmering light spheres strategically attached to the walls.

Going upstairs into the first bar area, Bar 1, guests were greeted with a room covered with more bespoke black and white striped carpet, with a large central seating area also in black and white, refined with a prominent red Warner ‘lozenge’ logo flown above.

The visual focal point in this space was an 18ft wide by 10ft high feature wall constructed from a series of powerful, elegant black gloss panels, some with Brit Award figure silhouettes. Black velour draping encased the whole room for a luxurious finish.

The Club Room comprised a black gloss dancefloor and a VIP area outlined by green velour seating, with a fabulous lighting installation above which utilised 120 of SGM’s LT-100 3D LED tubes, fed with organic video content to bring them alive. The tubes were hung from scaffolding poles, criss-crossing a ground support structure. The stage, backdrop and DJ booth were all clad in black and glitter jazz fabric, providing matching stripes on the backdrop and along the front of the DJ booth.

The décor in Bar 2 was inspired by the distinctive abstract blue artwork featured on Ed Sheeran’s seminal 2017 ‘Divide’ album. A huge carpet covered the floor and an 8m high stretch of wall in one continuous piece. This feature was completed by a 2.5m silver acrylic ‘lozenge’ on the wall.

The VIP Area was accessed along another corridor leading out of Bar 2, which was draped in black velour, with a co-ordinating striped black and white floor, up-lit from the ground for further effect. 


For complete contrast and maximum impact the whole of the VIP room was decked out in red throughout. This was to capture some of the traditional moods associated with red, including spirited, energetic, powerful, enthusiastic and exciting – encapsulating the essence of the Warner Music brand, while also referencing this year’s trophy design. The gold mirror ball DJ booth provided a radical contrast and the two bars were both finished with red mirrored tops, with a red velour canopy over the main door. The gold glitter carpet was printed with the words “Party ‘til dawn”, which is exactly what everyone did! A d&b sound system was also installed, and this room was lit with a selection of fixtures rigged on a ground support structure and positioned along the floors.

The Maestra team commenced their get-in at midnight on Monday night, and had to be ready for 8pm on the Wednesday, working continuous shifts to meet the tight timescale for the transformation!

The meticulous pre-planning – initial meetings with Jason start six months in advance – and intimate knowledge of the venue, along with the demands of this specific event, contributed to a high octane but smooth-running operation on site and the delivery of another successful and highly-regarded event for Warner Music.

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