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A ‘starry night’ tented gala

Showcase | August 1, 2019 | By:

A tented art museum gala glows with an elaborate lighting design.

To celebrate a major expansion, gala planners at Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, Fla., envisioned a tented affair with a black, gold, cream and white palette and lots of light. “The tent was our first source to bring in lighting and gold shimmer,” says Kasey Lowry Dedo, creative director, Harbor Entertainment, Nashville, Tenn. The 25-by-55-meter clearspan structure with a clear roof and hard wall panels, installed by Arena Americas, Oak Creek, Wis., left little room on the site for additional services, including power, climate control, restrooms and a kitchen tent. This resulted in numerous floor plan revisions, Dedo says. 

Bouncing light

Custom gold lighting units framed the stage, and a dense pattern of string lights helped designers achieve a “starry night” effect with the clear roof. “To bounce even more light, we utilized strips of gold mirror on the drape surrounds around the room, the bar facades and on the tent walls themselves,” Dedo says. “The set design incorporated 18 custom lighting units framing out the stage. Our lighting designer for the room [Kevin Clark, Fusedog Media Group, West Palm Beach, Fla.] pin spotted all 65 tables, accented the room with gobo textures on the north and south tent walls, and gave a warm glow with yellow and pink lighting.”

Contrasts and accents

Creating contrast with a neutral color palette was a challenge, Dedo says. “Bringing in some soft colors in lighting helped to create areas of contrast in the room, and using black as an accent on specific pieces helped to give your eye a focal point and place to land.” Another focal point—the museum’s name on the stage backdrop—was the first thing guests saw as they entered the tent through a connector to the museum. “We created a triple reflection with the bulbs of the lighting units framing the stage,” Dedo says. “The reflection off the white dance floor, clear roof and the gold mirror created a more magical effect than I could’ve imagined.” 

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