Surrounded by 9,000 acres of exquisitely landscaped gardens, thick woodlands and neatly tended farms, the three-story Longleat mansion glistens beneath an ornate roof adorned with domes and decorative chimneys. Each of the stately windows that line the exterior facade of the 128 room Tudor structure beckon visitors to look into a world where imagination takes flight.
The magical spell cast by this five-century old attraction is always present, drawing over a million visitors a year. But during this holiday season its allure was more powerful than usual, thanks to “Land of Light,” a two-kilometer-long walk-through exhibit created by Zeal Live that features CHAUVET Professional and Iluminarc fixtures.
Through the adroit use of colors, shadows, light angles and lasers, Land of Light transports visitors through the seasons of the year, as well as fantastical imaginary landscapes, and Christmas scenes, including visions of Santa, all whilst while maintaining safe, social distancing in an outdoor environment.
“The whole event is focused around allowing people to access an experience,” said Steve Hough, Managing Director of Zeal Live. “The entire route is networked together, with effects and color changing throughout – there are very few completely static areas.”
Key to helping Zeal Live create this dynamic colorful experience were the 41 Ovation E-910FC IP color-changing ellipsoidal fixtures in the event rig. Discretely positioned within the well-tended garden, These RGBA-Lime units “brought color and life to the grounds,” according to Hough.
“The first part of the journey is focused on bringing their grounds to life in ways that have never been seen before,” he said. “This is where the impact of the Ovation fixtures was most felt. The Ovations were critical in helping us create the sense of seasons, such as the ‘Summer Storm’ within the formal gardens.
“In ‘Summer Storm,’ there are ten Ovations rigged behind several lime trees,” continued Hough. “We used the natural white light from these fixtures to create patterns across the path. Then we react to the sounds of thunder and lightning by changing the Ovation’s light to cold white and strobing. The effect is quite dramatic.”
During the event’s dramatic “Autumn Scenes, the largest number of Ovation E-910FC IP fixtures are used to wash the north end of the mansion as well as the butchery and peacock gardens in a vivid array of colors. The impressive throw distance of the ellipsoidal units allowed the Zeal Live Design team to hit the house from a distance.
Maintaining an enchanting sense of wonder between the different sections of the walk-through attraction was essential to delivering the Land of Light experience to visitors. Having people traverse blandly lit corridors as they moved from one part of the exhibit to another would have broken the magical mood, according to Hough.
To avoid this, the Zeal Live team lit the connecting passageways with 35 Iluminarc COLORist 18QA POD ground fixtures. The whimsical pink cherry blossom effect created with the RGBA units maintained the mesmerizing flow of the walk-through experience throughout its entirety.
When the Land of Light journey took visitors to a more mystical part of the exhibit, a collection of six Vesuvio II foggers, hidden in custom-design enclosures, made it seem as if the puffs of fog were coming directly from the foliage itself. This, undoubtably, surprised visitors of all ages.
Channeling the delights offered by this and other surprises, was at the heart of Land of Light. Rather than merely display “pretty lights,” the Zeal Live team created a design that actively engaged visitors every step of the way on their walk-through journey. In so doing, they transformed the stately grounds of an historic landmark into a living, breathing, and vibrant experience that offered people a welcome chance to escape, for however briefly, from the concerns of life in 2020.