As the New York mayoralty transitions from the Bloomberg era to the de Blasio era, New Yorkers were asked to share their views about the city’s future in an innovative citywide effort, “Talking Transition.” UVLD designed lighting support for the tent-like complex at Hudson Square at Canal and Varick Streets in Manhattan, which served as the initiative’s home base.
The nonpartisan project, produced by Jennifer Kurland of production glue, was brought to NYC by The Atlantic Philanthropies, Brooklyn Community Foundation, Ford Foundation, NYCT, New York Foundation, The New York Women’s Foundation, North Star Fund, Open Society Foundations, and Rockefeller Brothers Fund. It was designed to initiate conversation amongst New Yorkers about what was important to them in the next administration.
The Duarte Square headquarters consisted of a 500-person meeting space that hosted programs and conversations on a wide range of public policy issues from taxes and infrastructure to lessons learned from Superstorm Sandy. UVLD supplied the lighting design for the “Talking Transition” HQ; production glue produced the event.
“We did the environmental lighting, the general illumination, and lit the signage,” says UVLD lighting designer Greg Cohen. “In addition to the main stage, where headliners like Matt & Kim did a special DJ set, there were two large environmental tents that called for both accent and mood lighting. WorldStage and its vice president/director of lighting Terry Jackson gave us great support.”
Cohen was challenged by the fact that the “Talking Transition” headquarters was a temporary structure in a season where winter set in well before its arrival on the calendar. “The weather and wind determined how much gear could be hung,” he notes. “Tom Bussey at production glue encouraged the team to ground support, rather than hang, most of the fixtures. While there was never a question of safety, no one wanted the audience to wonder at the lighting rig swaying in the wind.”
Cohen points out that the scenic design evolved as the priorities of the initiative changed. “We thought there would be a lot of LED and video, so initially we were concerned about controlling daylight. But as the client honed their interests and made the space more about community dialogue and a well-illuminated public space than about technology, we opted for a clear tent roof so the daylight would just stream in. We made no attempt to control the lighting during the day. We prioritized lighting around the available light and gave it an environmental feel at night.”
The central scenic element was milk crates, “We made milk crate chandeliers using Color Kinetics iColor Cove fixtures,” says Cohen. “Outside there were big milk crate arrows with iColor Coves for chasing light. We also were able to add bare bulbs to milk crates on site to give the accent illumination a found object feel.”
Cohen also deployed a number of Martin MAC Aura washes, which he calls “very camera-friendly LED fixtures, which are extremely lightweight.” The system was augmented with VARI*LITE 2500 spots, Elation EPAR QA LED PARs, Litepanels1x1s, and Source 4 ellipsoidals and PARs.
At production glue, Jack Hilley was technical director.