Hermès, the famous French luxury design house, unveiled its annual theme as “astonishment” for 2023. During the grand event, Lighting Designer Mathieu Cabanes chose Eos to work with the sunset and the collective (LA)HORDE in a series of performances scenographed by Julien Peissel.
Since 1987, Hermès has been celebrating its "theme party", a moment that directs the company to redefine itself for the year. And like every year, the guests are unaware of the trip they are going to experience. During the summer of 2023, guests landed to celebrate the unveiling in the heart of the Camargue, and then were transported to the event in three tractor-led trailers.
© CAROL SACHS
Once there, guests came face to face with the musical artist Lyra Pramuk, who appeared to have landed her glider in the middle of a field to deliver her performance, alongside the dancers of (LA)HORDE. Guests were also led through ankle-deep water to get to their seats.
© CAROL SACHS
Performances from the dancers of the famous Marseille ballet and the electro musician followed, quickly joined by the horses of the Nîmes stable Hasta Luego and the choir director Deborah Bookinder, for a unique and poetic artistic moment.
Much of the light programming was done in advance by Mathieu, and then performed in the evening by his assistant Léa Mastrovito. However, the color management was done live, as he explains, "this event was something really special, because we had to manage the subtle color transition of the sunset throughout.
© CAROL SACHS
Perfecting the transition from day to night was especially challenging, because each day is different from the day before. “I learned a lot, thanks to this experience, on the management of natural light,” he continues, “particularly when it comes to clouds. Even though it dazzles us, the luminous power of the sun at sunset is weaker than that of an overcast sky. We had to be mindful all of this during the event to balance the intensity of the fixtures in relation to the sun.”
To accomplish this, Mathieu relied on the expansive possibilities of the Eos console. “I insisted on having an Eos desk. It wasn't easy (not because the service provider didn't want to, but because it was difficult to find one available at the time). But Novelty finally managed to find me one.”
The light from the 28 fixtures, placed on a mast next to the stand and at the top of it, were as useful in broad daylight as at night. “Having the sunset means we had the artists backlit. Because of this, the spotlights were very important, even during the day, to ensure we light their faces. I also had panels at the bottom of the small choir bleachers, located right next to the public bleachers.
“As I often do, I first modeled all of this and imported AutoCAD® into Eos to then use Augment3d. During the show, I programmed in Blind and recalibrated everything according to the brightness I had in front of me, before returning to Live mode and then launching my Cue with the right levels and the right colors. For me, the ergonomics of the Eos were necessary, as was the precision of its color module.”
In addition to everything moving very quickly, Mathieu had to face other challenges, including being careful not to blind a horse when positioned in front of a spotlight. Working with the Eos desk, Mathieu managed to offer the subtlety and precision necessary for this type of show, demonstrating the flexibility of Eos software to meet the needs of an “astonishing” range of performances.