Lorde Solar Power Tour

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Technical Components
Creative drapery • Laser cutting • CAD • Tracks

Leading Production Manager Robin Scott contacted J&C Joel in relation to Lorde’s upcoming festival tour. The brief was to bring Chiara Stephenson’s striking design to life.

Working on the guiding principle that all drapes had to travel at times on commercial aircraft, every element had to fit within a defined footprint and weight limit. 

The set consisted of two drapes. First, a pair of silver mirror disc string drapes, each made up of two pieces and second, a 6m diameter gold ripstop drape. 

The process started by speaking to Chiara and working on a series of drawings to try and establish the optimum size and spacings for the silver discs, balancing design with tourability and cost. In the background, we also experimented with the best material to produce the discs from and how best to attach the discs to the “strings”.

In the end, we opted for mirror vinyl adhered to a 5mm dibond, as it offered the high reflectivity needed whilst being durable and relatively light, and a 12mm polypropylene webbing for the string.

The next step was to CNC cut the 1,726no discs needed to make the drapes. To ensure the webbing was centralised, which would minimise any twisting, two grooves offset 6mm from the centre were scored onto the rear of the discs.

Once cut, our production team went about creating the 72no ‘strings’ that made up the drapes. At all times, care had to be given to the spacing and balance of the discs. 

Before the strings could be headed up, we worked through the finished sizes with Chiara and LD Matt Daw. We also finalised the base finish, which allowed the final discs to touch the stage floor whilst also offering a method of securing the drapes to the stage floor. 

Running in parallel to the silver disc drapes, we were also working with Chiara on the 6m diameter gold ripstop drape. 

The twist with this drape is that it needed to have 50% opacity in the form of 20mm diameter laser cut holes. 

To ensure the drape would withstand the rigours of outdoor festivals, Robin and the team brought in designer Carl Robertshaw. Carl also designed the circular frame over which the drape was stretched. 

After much back and forth, we finalised a slightly spiralised design for the holes, as opposed to a completely radial design. It was also decided that the outer 100mm would be solid, giving the drape stability. 

It was a complex drape to produce as there were over 41,000 holes to cut. Each of the four panels that made up the drape had to be laser cut separately and extended so where they overlapped, there was space to adhere each panel to the next. 

This is made more complicated on a circular drape. 

We also added a further ‘doughnut’ of fabric for the outer 1000mm of the drape. The difficulty with this element was each of the holes needed to align with the rest of the drape. This additional re-enforcement was to bolster the drape to ensure it would withstand any high winds. 

Before we could finish the drape, it was sent down to Propworks, where Chiara, Lizzie and her team applied gold leaf to the drape. 

The final stage of the production process was to add a ‘sock’ manufactured from a gold stretch fabric which would wrap around our aluminium frame, which was laced with the opposite velcro. The idea of the stretch sock was to give some adjustability to the drape as well as offer a quick and easy installation. 

As well as the drapes, we supplied the 6m aluminium frame in 12 sections, Triple E UniBeam track, all tour bags, tools and also onsite support for the pre-build at Production Park. 

The end result was a faithful recreation of Chiara’s design and one that could be rigged, de-rigged and toured with relative ease.