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Fly, little star, fly!

A crimson star recently brightened Berlin’s events skyline.

And as it turns out, satis&fy has every reason to thank its lucky stars for the company that put the twinkle into the firmament of the hip downtown venue Kraftwerk. That little star learned to fly courtesy of Cyberhoist, a successful event design firm from the tranquil town of Neuss am Rhein. It is fortunate indeed that this outfit’s employees and location joined the satis&fy family when Lightcompany and Cyberhoist merged in 2014, bringing decades of experience into the fold. This propitious pairing teamed up to aim high. As Lightcompany CEO Peter Nellen puts it, “This marriage, now in its first year, is a logical extension of a six-year alliance that is now bearing fruit for all to see.” The goods were certainly on display at the Kraftwerk. This was the first joint gig for Jürgen Mertens, project manager at satis& fy Berlin. It didn’t take him long to discover what a fine dowry Cyberhoist was bringing to this happy union—aviation engineering at its finest.

All it took was a quick phone call, and Cyberhoist project manager Florian Reinsch was on his way over from Neuss. As Jürgen recalls it, “Florian, the British guest artists’ riggers, our technical director Andre Ganzlin and I worked out the details.” Seven CyberHoist C1 motors, controlled by the new MotionCue 3D console, hoisted six aerial artists heavenward and gave lift to a rising star, the logo of Dutch brewer Heineken.

Its celestial trajectory took it high over the heads of the revelers who had congregated at Heineken’s Champions League surprise party. The happening location, a defunct power plant, provided a spot-on setting for an event that went by the electrifying motto of ‘Power City.’ As Jürgen points out, “We furnished the lighting, rigging, sound, a bit of video and some décor.” Ushered into the hall through a mock tunnel, guests were greeted by flashes of lightning, fog and the infernal racket of an industrial plant. The show kicked off with a similarly impressive display—a power outage simulated using sound and strobe effects. After the Heineken CEO’s opening address, the artists again took to the skies via C1 hoists to present their aerial feats. Percussive grooves hammered out by some 20 drummers underpinned the airborne show, while dancers strutted their stuff on terra firma. The flying circus was followed by three opera singers who belted out the Champions League anthem. The featured vocalist lifted off the ground on magical wings (of a C1 hoist) to hover over the audience. For the grand finale, the luminous Heineken Star rose to wander across the firmament. This LED-studded structure was built by satis&fy and rigged and flown by Cyberhoist. The support unit headed up by Ulrike Röhl sculpted another impressive set piece, a nine-meter bolt of lightning made of aluminum covered in flashing LED strips. In closing, the actual Champions League trophy ascended to the top floor up a radiant shaft of light.

CyberHoist’s C1 motors can be controlled to within a tenth of a millimeter, so the star’s trajectory was tracked with astronomical precision. The company’s products are known for technical frills that event designers can use to conjure all kinds of FX thrills, as the gravity- defying flight of the Heineken Star attests.

This event goes to show what great things a tightly meshed network can accomplish. “The collaboration with Cyberhoist was very harmonious,” says Jürgen, as are Kraftwerk and satis&fy’s ‘preferred partnership’ relations. It was a win-win all around for Heineken, the event service providers, and Exposure, an agency that Jürgen says is staffed with “an absolutely likeable bunch of crazy, creative Englishmen.” He adds that some of the celestial shine rubbed off on his team: “The feedback for this gig outshines everything we’ve ever experienced.”

Photo: Dominic Fiekens

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