Artem Case Studies
Take That 2015 Tour
'It was great to create something so special with Artem. They rose to the creative challenges that we put their way and delivered incredible products on time that have become iconic moments within our show.'
Dan Shipton - Art Director
It’s always a privilege being involved in high profile projects and knowing that our work will be seen by thousands of people, so we were delighted to be asked to produce an extensive range of scenic props for Take That's 2015 Arena Tour.
It was a pleasure working in collaboration with Show Director Kim Gavin, Production Director Chris Vaughan, Production Designer Misty Buckley and Art Director Dan Shipton - and being given the opportunity to create some really memorable central pieces for the show.
With an almost unthinkable 3 week turnaround, a total of 25 dedicated technicians managed to create a spectacular ‘Copter-bike’ – a beautiful period-style flying machine on which Take That could fly around the arena – a huge ‘underwater’ garden, a giant ‘hamster-wheel’ unit and Penny Farthing tricycle for a performer's opening sequence, a collection of shadow puppets and a mirror-clad piano.
THE FLYING ‘COPTER-BIKE’:
One of the show's most iconic moments involves a ‘copter-bike’ sequence, with all three band members flying around the arena on a period-style bike with rotating propellers and a streamlined cockpit side-car.
Before construction began, we drew up and rendered the bike design for approval on our 3D software, which included significant mechanical engineering to ensure safety.
The bike has electrically powered rotating propellers above and to its rear. A small 12v smoke machine was controlled by computer to produce puffs of smoke from the exhaust pipes. One major feature of the mechanical design was the inclusion of a steering mechanism that allowed Howard Donald to ‘steer’ the bicycle as it flies around the arena.
You can read more detail about the 'copter-bike' in this blog.
The ‘underwater garden’ set contained both inflatable and fabricated elements.
The inflatable elements for the garden consisted of:
- 1 large 'tentacled' structure to sit centre stage, which inflated to approximately 10m across, fabricated in a mix of ripstop nylon and clear PVC.
- 8 large, stylised, flower-like 'underwater' plants, each between 1-2m high.
- 4 colourful spheres, 2m diameter.
- 3 3D 'sunburst' objects (spiky spheres), about 1m in diameter.
We also made fabric elements for the garden: 10 self-contained units between 4 and 7 metres high that rose into the air when switched on.
You can read more about the garden, and our work with inflatables, in this blog.
TRIKE AND HAMSTER WHEEL:
The opening sequence of the tour features Artem’s Penny Farthing tricycle and giant ‘hamster wheel’ props, both constructed from scratch. The trike was designed to be assembled by a ‘mechanic’ character as part of the on-stage action, before it is ridden around the staging. It is then mounted against the ‘hamster wheel’, giving the impression that the trike is driving the wheel round, generating the electricity to ‘power up’ the concert.
As the wheel is being turned the mechanic climbs inside and continues his performance running and tumbling around as his assistant pedals the tricycle. The design of these props was carried out in close consultation with the creatives and performers to ensure all of the actions and acrobatics could be carried out as planned.
We built the outer carcass of a baby grand piano, and clad it with plastic mirror. A keyboard was discreetly built into this, allowing it to be played live.
We created shadow puppets based on drawings and tests from the creative team; amongst these were puppets of walking and running people, fish and a cityscape. These needed to be lightweight and robust, some incorporating animating mechanisms to allow for movement. Most of the shapes were CNC cut on our router, with some completed by hand to get the necessary detail and finish.
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