Carmona Design + Events’ innovative use of scrims for the New York City Ballet’s 2015 Spring Gala gracefully accentuated the architecture of Koch Theater at Lincoln Center while deftly expressing the ethereal qualities of the winged spirits in La Sylphide, the ballet that set the theme for the evening’s festivities.
“We wanted to present guests, who had attended events at this venue time and time again, with a new vision of this space,” explains Mary Krueger, Carmona Design’s owner.
Since the title character, Sylphide, is dressed in tulle, Krueger and designer Andres Saavedra decided to make scrims printed with images of this material the main focal point of the design. Instead of being hung in the traditional theatrical manner (vertically), the scrims were suspended like canopies to add dimension and intimacy the entire event space. Carmona Design then combined layers of light, color, and ghost-like projections to elegantly complete the design.
“Since we design the lighting for our events, we love the way that fabric catches and plays with light,” Krueger explains. “It is a great conduit for our concepts.”
The fabric used for the scrims had to be lightweight, pliable and translucent. It also needed to be oversized enough to be printed with large-scale versions of Saavedra’s original art without requiring seams. Since the tulle fabric featured in the artwork was already transparent, the event designers were concerned that the sharks-tooth scrim fabric they were considering for the scrims would not capture enough of the image.
Suspending the scrims from the ceiling instead of in the way theaters typically hang them — vertically in front of a staged production — also made it more difficult to anticipate the effect that these design elements would have once they were installed and illuminated.
Big Image Systems addressed these concerns by using its patented Infinitus printer to produce three large proofs on sharkstooth scrim as well as one on lightweight muslin and another on filled leno. The Infinitus can print large format digitized art on fabric that is up to 40’ by 160’ and seamless.
“We have always been impressed with the level of expertise of Big Image’s staff,” Krueger says. “Every team member is attentive and professional. They give their best to a project.”
After Krueger and Saavedra had reviewed these proofs, they decided to “take the chance” and use the sharkstooth scrim fabric. They also rented Kedar railings from Big Image because these were needed to ensure that the event décor could be set up in three days and taken down in one.
According to Krueger, the results met Carmona Design’s exceptionally high standards. “Even though we are our own toughest critics, we could not have been more impressed with the printing and finishing of this imagery as well as with how well these scrims worked with our concept decor and lighting,” she says. “Everyone on the theatrical production team at the NYC Ballet was also blown away. We received praise from everyone at the ballet, the Gala Chairs, and the attendees [who] were so excited to have had such a different concept approach for their gala. Many comments were about how they had never seen the space presented in such a chic and sophisticated manner. That is what we aimed for, and what we produced.”