The first annual New York Festival of Light (NYFOL) came alive November 6, 7 and 8 after dark in DUMBO, Brooklyn attracting crowds so large that the family event had to turn away people Saturday night. NYFOL utilized numerous Clay Paky fixtures on the main stage under the Archway of the Manhattan Bridge, and Clay Paky’s new Supersharpys, controlled by a grandMA2 onPC Command Wing, created the spectacular Beacon installation at The Pearl Street Triangle. A.C.T Lighting, Inc. is the exclusive distributor of Clay Paky lighting and grandMA products in North America.
NYFOL offered visitors a curated collection of lighting installations created by local and international lighting designers, performance artists and technologists – all working with the medium of light. The event was presented by The New York Festival of Light Organization, a non-profit art group. Its vision is to create and provide a unique and delightful experience for residents and tourists by enhancing New York City’s architecture through interactive, static and projected lighting installations.
NYFOL marked the U.S. debut of Clay Paky’s Supersharpy fixture. Clay Paky was also represented at the festival by a dozen each of Sharpys, Alpha Spot HPE 700s and A.leda B-EYE K10s.
Lighting designer Ira Levy, who heads lighting production company Levy Lighting NYC, cofounded NYFOL with Liam O’Braion and serves as its creative director. Four years in the making, NYFOL finally gives New York the kind of impressive festival of light found in other major cities.
“We have such an active lighting industry and were the only city without a festival of light,” says Levy. When prospective sponsors and others asked for a proof of concept, The NYFOL Organization staged last year’s First Light in lower Manhattan as a launch event to raise awareness and generate excitement for a festival of light. A.C.T Lighting supported First Light and was eager to jump on board for NYFOL, which was planned for DUMBO.
“Ira is a long-time friend, so we offered to provide the new Supersharpys and create a powerful statement for the festival,” says Brian Dowd, vice president of sales at A.C.T Lighting. Collaborating with Levy, he mounted eight Supersharpys on a 6-foot tall platform and pointed the lights up at the sky to form a the Beacon, a stunning tapering column of blue light that could be seen from midtown Manhattan. A big mirror ball hung in the center of the platform spilling shards of light over the area when the beams focused on it.
“We have been demo’ing Supersharpys to customers here for several months but this was believed to be the first use of Supersharpys in the U.S.,” says Dowd. “Supersharpys were just used to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Each Supersharpy is only 470 watts but their power is mind-numbing: Nothing in lighting history comes close to it.”
Clay Paky builds on the Sharpy’s worldwide success with Supersharpy, an ACL beam-type moving head featuring a 470-watt, 7,800K lamp. Its light beam is three times brighter than Sharpy and packs an even bigger impact than the numbers suggest. Supersharpy’s light can reach incredible mid-air distances, making it the first low-wattage beam light that can really challenge a searchlight.
“The Beacon became an iconic part of the festival,” says Levy. “It reached up higher than the 20-story buildings in the neighborhood, and you could see the rotating pattern in the clouds.”
Dowd provided a grandMA2 onPC Command Wing to run the Beacon. “Its small footprint adapted well to the location,” he says. “It’s small but has all the power of the grandMA2 light in a package that was easily transportable to DUMBO.”
Levy Lighting provided the Clay Paky fixtures that played key roles on the main stage under the Archway of the Manhattan Bridge lighting the performers and highlighting the architecture of the structure. The stage hosted an array of DJs as well as singer and light performer Nicole Renaud; the sonic cinema group Zero Times Everything, which provided the live soundtrack for the laser show; and iLuminate.
“We lined the tunnel with two lines of stick truss, which housed the moving lights and laser system,” Levy explains. Twelve Sharpys accentuated the laser effects shooting beams “that were safe enough to light people,” he says. Twelve Alpha Spot HPE 700s “gave texture and depth to the ceiling architecture” while twelve B-EYE K10s “washed the stage and highlighted the performers.”
The NYFOL Organization was “really elated with the response” to the festival, which quickly went viral via social media and the local press, Levy says. “We felt it was a real opportunity for our industry to branch out from what people expect us to do – light for New York theater and concerts – and also capitalize on the general public’s fascination with light. It opened the door for more than B-to-B relationships. We were gratified to see so many young people and hope kids will remember it and students will think of light as a career path. NYFOL can also be a hatching ground for manufacturers to think about different – maybe unintended – ways to use their lights. It opens up the industry to more creativity by more people.”
About A.C.T Lighting
A leading importer and distributor of lighting products, A.C.T Lighting, Inc. strives to identify future trends and cutting-edge products, and stock, sell and support their inventory. The company provides superior customer service and value for money to all of its clients.
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