Russian MC-21 airliner, Siberia

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J&C Joel’s drapes created a real touch of magic when under the spotlight at a recent unveiling of a new Russian airliner.

The MC-21 plane was showcased by airline manufacturer Irkut at a glitzy ceremony held in a 43,000 sq ft airplane hangar in Siberia. The event was attended by the Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and around 1000 specially invited guests.

J&C Joel were approached about the project by the Ceremonies Staging Agency (CSA) after they saw the firm’s fabric and drape retraction units used in Berlin-based show – The WYLD.

Oliver Marns, UK, EU & Russia Sales Manager, said: “After speaking to Kirill from the CSA and getting an understanding of the effect he wanted we realised that our drape retraction unit teamed with our drapes and Kabuki drop system would be the best fit for the project.

“The Kabuki provides the safe and reliable drop of the drape and the retraction unit can quite literally withdraw a drape out of sight in seconds to create a stunning effect.”

J&C Joel’s Creative Manufacturing team, led by Andrew Hastwell, installed the unit, Kabukis and the silver Trevira CS Silk (PT015) drape, measuring 30 metres by 15 metres, which also doubled up as a projection surface for holographic images and video content before the big reveal. J&C Joel also manufactured two 10m metre by 15 metre “legs” to create a total drape coverage of over 700m2.

The drape retraction unit was combined with 50 Kabuki drop units to create the show-stopping effect of the plane appearing in front of the audiences’ eyes.

The system underwent three days of testing in the UK to ensure it would run smoothly once set up in Russia. The biggest challenge the team had to overcome was the drape being too big to retract into a single unit, but the team overcame the issue with some clever re-engineering of the unit.

Oliver Marns added: “We were delighted to be involved with a project of this importance. It was a brilliant opportunity to showcase our products and installation prowess on an international stage.”