POSTED ON 25/05/2017

Billed as the creative industries party of the year, the 55th D&AD Professional Awards Ceremony took place at Troxy, London on 27 April 2017 and we were tasked with providing full technical production.

Since 1962, D&AD have been inspiring a community of creative thinkers by celebrating the finest in design and advertising. With the iconic D&AD Pencil recognised globally as the ultimate creative accolade, the pressure is always on to create an event that challenges convention and leaves a lasting impression on guests and award winners alike.

Working in partnership with brand experience agency SomeBrightSpark, we devised a production design that utilized and celebrated the iconic nature of both the venue and the pencil.

To keep the winning work at the heart of the event, we created a ‘digital’ set using LED video panels. The 12-metre wide by 3-metre high main show screen was built using panels of high-resolution Absen 3.9mm LED with a 12-metre by 2-metre 10mm GLUX wall staggered behind this. To really frame the stage, two further GLUX LED ‘banners’ were also constructed on each side of the stage. Using our new to stock d3 4x4 media server, the GLUX panels displayed different sections of content pulled from the main show screen, creating a unique, abstract aesthetic.

To create movement and an element of 'theatre', the 3.9mm panels were rigged using kinesys. This allowed us to make full use of the unique space within Troxy, dropping the LED wall to reveal a high rise hidden performance area. This played host to the after-party entertainment, legendary DJ Mr. Scruff.

SomeBrightSpark were responsible for producing all the creative content for the event. With judging for the awards taking place on the same week as the ceremony, the team devised a system for rapid video deployment. Using a large team of chase editors, they created and edited over 700 individual profile videos for each of the winners within 72 hours. They also designed the presentation environment within Troxy, displaying content specifically created for the event onto large LED screens. 

Mat Bartram, Design Director at SomeBrightSpark said: “We knew that the D&AD Awards were going to be a great challenge for us, but it was also a great opportunity. We proved that even though we are a small agency, by working closely with great partners like Hawthorn, we can deliver exceptional, high profile live experiences.”

The lighting design for D&AD needed to be very sleek with a variety of different fixtures needed for each individual elements of the show. The design used the two existing house trusses with a mixture of seven Martin Viper Performances for key lighting, twelve Martin Viper Wash DX for stage lighting and seven Martin Viper Profiles for aerial effects into the audience. Thirty-four Martin Rush Par 2 were also spread across the two trusses, providing a colour wash onto the audience for the awards section of the evening whilst also adding twinkle for the after-party aspect of the event. 

With the high-resolution LED wall dropping down to reveal Mr. Scruff, an extra lighting package of six Clay Paky K20, twelve Martin Aura XB and four Robe Pointe fixtures surrounded the DJ. Furthermore, Six Clay Paky Sharpys were placed either side of the stage to provide a high impact beam to frame the performance space. All lighting, along with the media server, were driven from an Avolites Arena console with a Tiger Touch 2 as a live backup.

Ensuring that the audio for the evening was also on top form and complementing the content perfectly, we installed two hangs of twelve d&b V Series, each featuring ten V8 and two V12 boxes per side. Alongside this was two hangs of two flown V Subs with a V Sub Array also installed under the stage. d&b T Series were then used for front fills, with Y Series used for delays. All amplifiers were d&b D80’s and one of our Duel Q-Lab System Racks was used for playback. Audio for the main ceremony was controlled using a Yamaha CL-5 console for front of house, with an additional QL-5 and CL-5 used for the artists.

That's not all, we also created the custom-made steps for the Main Stage as well as the iconic pencil shaped awards table.

James Hunter, Project Director at Hawthorn, said: “We’ve worked on the D&AD Professional Awards since 2012 and it’s always a privilege. With an audience that spans the creative industries, the pressure is always on to deliver something truly unique.

“It was amazing to work with the team at SomeBrightSpark again. We’ve been working collaboratively for over 10 years and by doing so, we’re able to able to combine our knowledge to create unique and memorable experiences. Phil Whetter, Dan Rogers and Mat Bartram from SBS really drove the project alongside us from the initial pitch to final delivery. Their expertise allowed us to do what we do best and work on the tech whilst collaboratively delivering a magnificent creative technical package.”

Michelle Fischer, Senior Manager of Events & Special Projects at D&AD, said: “2017 marked our 5th year working with James and the team at Hawthorn. Their professional nature and knowledge of processes and their technology ensures a smooth-running awards night. I can always trust in their knowledge and expertise that the show team will deliver even when building the content in a matter of days rather than weeks.

“This year was our first experience of working with Some Bright Spark in collaboration with Hawthorn. We're celebrating another fantastic year of the D&AD Awards having called upon SBS's creative talent to create a new and impactful show format for how the winning work was displayed. The patience, dedication, and professionalism of the team has meant that it’s been more than a pleasure to work with SBS and Hawthorn. I'm already looking forward to planning the next event with the team already.”