Everlast Productions hit all the right lighting notes at last month’s Miami Music Week featuring Deadmau5 and Swedish House Mafia.
By Shari Lynn Rothstein-Kramer
Unlike the recent Coachella festival – which is also an outdoor event – the setting for Miami Music Week involved sensitivity to a high-class hospitality environment: the legendary Fontainebleau Hotel.
The stage set design needed to be cutting-edge for the world’s leading deejays’ yet subtle enough to remain on the historic property without disrupting the hotel’s day-to-day activities. So, how does one create such a special structure without becoming an eyesore to hotel guests? The producers’ first call went to Everlast Productions, the renowned Dania Beach, Fla.-based firm specializing in lighting, audio, staging, video and projection.
Everlast is the area’s go-to company for staging spectacular events, such as the no-holds-barred bash hosted by the NBA team Miami Heat when it publicly celebrated the signing of Chris Bosh and Lebron James. The team is also the behind-the-scenes production masterminds for high-profile events such as ArtBasel, the Kentucky Derby, the halftime show at the Orange Bowl, Design Miami, Sony Ericsson Night Tennis, and Hotel MTV.
“We were called by the Fontainebleau because of our reputation,” explains Washington Arias, owner of Everlast. “Our approach is to come up with unique ideas for big events. We work at a Rock & Roll pace while maintaining the quality of five-star service. Sure, the competition is fierce, but we [are known] to exceed expectations every time.”
The challenge with all events, according to Everlast’s lighting designer David McCranie, is designing a unique custom look that has never been seen or done before. “Thankfully, when dealing with large projects, you have the freedom to go big and think big,” he quips. “The theme [we chose] was to bring heart-pounding, in-your-face looks mixed with soft, slow, and sexy aerial effects and color tones. It had to be seamless; it was a combination of feel, touch and talent,” McCranie states.
With two months of “concepting” and just one week of set-up, Arias, McCranie, and the Everlast’s youngest member, 25-year-old Yamil Charis, got down to business quickly. Their solution was a 34’ high x 49’ wide x 13’ deep structure that spared no bells or whistles.
Attention to detail throughout the project began from the ground up, as Everlast covered 44 feet of the hotel’s U-shaped pool, created raised VIP areas, plus designed custom animations and images for each of the numerous performers. The deejay booth – a rectangular area in which three sides and the top were all projected upon and the clear bottom was lined in acrylic so that fans could see in as their favorite deejays spun – stood about 11 feet off of the ground and was located within the larger lighted structure. A total of 100 decks, 200 LED panels, 24 strobes, 60 moving lights, lasers, and 48 kryo tanks with 8 independent nuzzles brought the construction to life.
“We are most proud of the team effort that we put into this project – from our production manager and 3D artist to the structural engineers, video techs, audio and lighting designers, and the staging crew – everybody was amazing,” Aria recounts.
“All we kept hearing from the guests [and the deejays] was, ‘This is so cool’. The hotel loved it because it was clean and finished, yet intense,” McCranie adds.
EnLightment interview Yamil Charis of Everlast Productions