The theme for the 2015 Spring Benefit for the Storefront for Art and Architecture was TRANS – transfigured, transparent, translucent, transsexual, transatlantic, transcendent – so it was only natural for WorldStage to transform a working construction site into the venue for the gala in just seven hours.
The Spring Benefit was the first public event to take place at 432 Park Avenue, which upon its completion will be the tallest residential tower in the Western Hemisphere. The goal of the evening was to connect and highlight emerging and established voices in art and architecture. Storefront for Art and Architecture is more than a gallery; it’s a platform for exploring the forces that shape the built environment today. Honorees at the Spring Benefit were architect Thom Mayne and installation artist Do Ho Suh.
“Since the space was a working construction site, we knew that the sidewalk shed would still be in place for the event,” says WorldStage design director Shelly Sabel, who teamed with Storefront on its 2013 gala at the then-empty Temple Court space in the Financial District. Since then, there’s been continuing interest in New York in using unfinished spaces for events, and WorldStage put its design and lighting talents to work on this latest request from Storefront.
“The scaffolding structure, an ever-present fixture in the continuing transformation of New York City by artists and architects, served as the foundation for the design,” Sabel says. In the lobby space, which measures 100 feet wide with a 30-foot ceiling, WorldStage erected a pair of high towers to serve as lighting and projection positions. A temporary wall, undulating in the concrete slab, made a perfect projection surface. Pentagram created custom content for WorldStage to project onto the wall; a conventional lighting package from WorldStage, with graphic templates streaking from the towers, emulated sunshine streaking through the cityscape.
“We also installed Astera LED lighting fixtures, programmed with a pastel palette, on the lower platforms on the scaffolding to bathe the space in color and complement the warm streaks of light coming from the towers,” Sabel explains.
The gala featured a performance by Norwegian artist and vocalist Tori Wranes, who uses sound, costumes, props, architecture and sculpture to change her appearance and create dream-like realities. WorldStage provided her with ultraviolet wavelengths of light to illuminate and transform her costume as she performed.
“Once again, WorldStage was pleased to donate our time, creativity, equipment and labor for the Storefront Spring Benefit,” says Terry Jackson, vice president/director of lighting. “TRANS was a very special evening in a soon-to-be iconic building, and we were happy to be part of what transpired.”
“There are projects that require the unimaginable, and sometimes the impossible. It is for these that you want to be working with WorldStage,” says Eva Franch Gilbert, the Executive Director of Storefront for Art and Architecture.
The organization’s Director of Development and Outreach, Jinny Khanduja, who manages overall benefit efforts, agrees. “This may have been one of the most complicated benefits that Storefront has undertaken, and WorldStage was integral to our ability to pull it off. Besides their aesthetic and technical brilliance, Shelly and Terry repeatedly brought finesse and energy into an otherwise difficult process.”
WorldStage Inc., the company created by the merger of Scharff Weisberg Inc and Video Applications Inc, continues a thirty-year legacy of providing clients the widest variety of entertainment technology coupled with conscientious and imaginative engineering services. WorldStage provides audio, video and lighting equipment and services to the event, theatrical, broadcast and brand experience markets nationally and internationally.