Story: Champions Square
Press release and photos for coverage of Champions Square in New Orleans.
Rugged COLORado™ 1 Kickoff Saints Game
NEW ORLEANS, La. – Nearly 400 CHAUVET® COLORado™ 1 fixtures were specified by Solomon Group at Champions Square across from the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. The space was created as an “urban tailgating” area for Saints fans to gather pre- or post-game. For fans without a ticket, it was an alternate venue to watch the kickoff game held on Thursday, September 9, 2010, which marked the beginning of the 2010 football season.
The city also served as host to a kickoff celebration in nearby Jackson Square, located in the heart of the French Quarter, featuring Grammy Award-winning artists Dave Matthews Band and Taylor Swift. The concert was broadcast live and celebrated the city’s beloved Saints as they returned to the field to play their first game as Super Bowl champions against the Minnesota Vikings. Additionally, the NFL hosted “The Krewe of NFL Kickoff Parade” which traveled through the French Quarter, across Canal Street and ended just south of Louisiana Superdome.
Champions Square presented by Verizon, is a 60,000 square foot public plaza adjacent to the Superdome, the site of the former New Orleans Centre. Designed by architect Allen Eskew, of Eskew+Dumez+Ripple located in New Orleans, the plaza uses a temporary structural system, but will remain an active facility for the next four years as a permanent venue is constructed.
Its current structure looks like a city skyline made of scaffolding and truss with projection surfaces, LED video screens, a state-of-the-art sound system, performance spaces and extra-large photographs depicting sports figures from the Superdome’s history. This surrounds an open, paved area where food and drink vendors offer local and festival fare, and fans can gather, mingle and enjoy the game.
The virtual skyline features over-sized black and white photographs lit by CHAUVET® COLORado™ 1 VW fixtures, 78 in total, placed above each image at the end of five foot arms which point downward, gallery-style. Framing each photograph is truss warmed by CHAUVET® COLORado™ 1 fixtures, changing colors throughout the night. Between each photograph are 10-foot by 10-foot color boxes, 29 in total, featuring four CHAUVET® COLORado™ 1 fixtures behind each box.
“Beautiful, clean blocks of color was the architect’s intent,” said Gary Solomon, Jr., president of Solomon Group located in New Orleans. “Each backlit module, or color box, balances the graphics and photographs throughout while the lights serve as truss warmers and uplighting for the graphics.”
Solomon Group, a young company, just under two years old, with a long history in theater, theme park design, video broadcasting and live events, was awarded the project in June of 2010. The team of New Orleans natives’ prior work includes the National WWII Museum, local theater and corporate events. One of their future projects is “Living with Hurricanes: Katrina and Beyond”, a new exhibit by The Louisiana State Museum opening October 23, 2010 at The Presbytere, Jackson Square in New Orleans. Champions Square was a welcomed change of pace for the group and a project which came about rather quickly.
“It was a long-term p roject for the Superdome,” said Jonathan Foucheaux, partner of Solomon Group, “but it was fast-tracked when the Saints won the Super Bowl. CHAUVET® COLORado™ 1 has been like the workhorse product for the entire project.”
The project was bid, awarded and installed in only four months. The entire installation is run and managed on site with two rooms of computers, consoles and floor-to-ceiling processing racks for all the sound, video and lights. Seven computers are used to run everything and Foucheaux can manage the sound system through his iPhone, while the lighting designer has a wireless tablet to run lights from anywhere in the square.
“Everything is backlit and everything is pixel mapped,” said Foucheaux. “We do pixel mapping of the lights over the structure and screens, placing a video file which correlates pixels in every light out in the square.”
All the fixtures, including the video screens, had to be LED. CHAUVET® COLORado™ 1, indoor/outdoor wash fixtures with a sturdy die cast aluminum body and a total of 36, one-watt red, green and blue LEDs, were considered to have the right combination of light output, ability to withstand rigorous outdoor conditions and value.
“This entire square only pulls about 300 amps,” said Foucheaux. “COLORado™ 1 offered the brightness and ruggedness we needed. There were four days of heavy rain while we were installing everything and there have been zero problems. It’s the first time we’ve used these fixtures and everyone has been pleased with the results.”