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Nike Mercurial launch in Madrid

For all the beauty of the Hall of the Kingdoms, the architects who built Madrid’s royal palace from 1630 to 1635 had one flaw: They were not clairvoyant. Take, for example, the trouble with the stairs. The designers ignored the fact that all rooms and floors are accessible only by claustrophobia-inducing stairs. Couldn’t they foresee the need to lug audio and video gear up a narrow flight of steps? And couldn’t any of those countless courtiers have raised their voice in protest about the impossibility of hauling up 20 Samsung displays? Fortunately, some farsighted soul invented the furniture lift.

History and the here-and-now collide

The World Cup is a monumental event for a soccer shoemaker. The preparations are equally epic: Years of research are devoted to developing the finest gear for players. It’s up to each team to make the most of it, but the provider knows he has given it his all. This Herculean effort brings forth innovations like the new Nike Mercurial Superfly. Exceptionally fast, explosive and dynamic, the shoe was unveiled during the run-up to the global game’s ultimate tournament. And the Salón de Reinos, or Hall of the Kingdoms, in Madrid was the venue chosen for its launch. satis&fy was on site to handle the lighting, sound, video, scenery and staging. During the hot phase, 52 crew members and up to 30 helpers toiled away to turn the historic building into a cool setting for the launch. Three floors of living history were given a glamorous touch. While the crew hummed with energy like some human dynamo, the premises were practically comatose. The rooms inside these venerable walls had been out of use and disconnected from the grid since 2010. First external power had to be piped via an imaginatively arrayed cable network snaking up the facade and crisscrossing the interior.

Exploiting open space

In the exhibition room, the crew embedded screens in antique display cases and draped them with red velvet. Team kits were presented on the top floor in displays lacquered in gold, with an eye-catching chandelier made of football boots adding a spectacular touch. But the heart of the showcase was the presentation space that led to the actual launch room. This is where Nike star endorser Cristiano Ronaldo made his grand entrance on an artificial turf catwalk. Sunstrips featuring halogen lamps conjured magical illumination. After the 230 invited guests followed CR7’s interview, they had the opportunity to admire another highlight. The vivid visuals of an art installation featuring a ball blasting through a broken wall conveyed a sense of this shoe’s power and speed. The ball was suspended on fine 4-mm steel cables and its explosive trajectory was portrayed by 180 gossamer strands. Skillfully crafted at Karben and on site, the styrofoam bricks and shards brought the wall to life.

Everything could have been so simple if the architects had stopped to consider things like the floor load. Then the crew would not have had to erect PERI formwork supports and scaffolding for the lower floors to shore up ceilings for equipment and set pieces. But with nearly 400 years gone, it’s a bit late for recriminations now. hs/tg

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