Extreme Rigging Ltd are proud to have been involved as main contractors in a stunning bespoke installation on the South Bank of the River Thames for online retailer Moonpig and mental health charity Mind.
The one day event, at Observation Point, South Bank, London on 16th January 2017 featured three arches of ascending heights and a much wider and taller fourth arch which had been thickly covered with beautiful floral arrangements and a wishing well under the last arch. The area at Observation Point was transformed for the day into a magical and lush garden scene which commuters and passers-by could admire and walk through, giving the busy South Bank of London a fresh, calm and serene country feel for the day.
BACKGROUND TO THE EVENT
Greetings card, gift and flower retailer Moonpig commissioned the project, working alongside Mind to raise awareness of mental health issues faced by millions, and also raise the profile of their floral bouquets line which is available online at moonpig.com. The third Monday in January is often dubbed as ‘Blue Monday’, the so-called most depressing day of the year, but Mind and Moonpig wanted to bust this myth and remind people that depression happens any day of the year and that friends and family can play an important role by being there all year round. They are urging the public to connect with loved ones who might be struggling with their mental health in the same way they would if someone had a physical health problem by sending cards, flowers and offering gestures of kindness.
Extreme Rigging were approached in November 2016 as preferred supplier of Cunning.com by it’s founder Anna Carloss. Anna had been brought in to manage the event by Popcorn PR acting for Moonpig. Robin Earle of Extreme Rigging says “we were over the moon to be approached to work on such a unique, high profile and worthy event. There was no question that we wanted to be involved and I knew our experience of similar projects and expertise would benefit the project too”.
HOW WE DID IT
Over the coming weeks Extreme Rigging’s MD Robin Earle, and Project Manager Toni Cullip worked with Cunning, Popcorn PR and Moonpig on the design and technical specifications for the project. Following many suggestions for achieving the desired atmosphere, it was decided after consultation with Robin that the most ideal solution was to use curved truss to form the top of the arches and straight sections for the “legs” and “feet”. The shortest arch was 2m wide and 2m tall and the largest was an impressive 5m wide and 5m tall. Lighter duty Prolyte truss was used for this structure, which was then completely filled inside the sections with watered oasis, before Moonpig’s florists worked their magic and installed flowers to every inch of the truss structures. After two full days of oasis and flower installation into the truss structures at Extreme Rigging’s workshop at Pinewood Studios, the specialist team of five “Extreme” riggers and local crew and florists set to work on the on-site installation.
Delivery on site was not without it’s challenges, seeing as it was to be produced in such a public domain and within very restricted timescales. The main issues Extreme Rigging had to overcome were delicate transportation of the part-built flowered arches, noise levels on the South Bank (which is a residential area) and movement around site (via 2 x JCB Telehandlers). Popcorn PR and Cunning were also tasked with trying to keep the event under wraps (in such a public space!) during the build. It was tricky, but the expertise of the Extreme Rigging team and our truck driver meant that the flowers were hardly touched at all during transit and so did not need much “fluffing” on site. In order to try to keep some secrecy around the event during the build on Sunday 15th January, Jayne Quinton’s production company were brought in to provide barriers and also to ensure the smooth running of the build, event and derig and venue liaison.
Another major challenge was how to ensure such a large structure, right on the river side, in January was safely ballasted to ensure no movement whatsoever, despite the large surface area of oasis and flowers which would catch the wind easily. Also to consider was ensuring that whatever ballast was used was as unobtrusive as possible, so as not to ruin the look of the event. The ultimate solution was to use 66 x 25kg hand weights which were conveniently sized to sit on top of the truss feet, and could be dressed to fit in with the garden look of the installation. It was essential that safety was paramount (as always!) and so continuous wind speed monitoring and adherence to Structural Engineer guidelines on the project were essential.
Within just 6 hours, head rigger Jason Werner and the rest of the team had all structures erected. Following the installation Cunning had arranged for real grass Astroturf to be laid down all around the space at Observation Point, completing the stunning look.
At 0700 on 16th January the event opened to the public to a fantastic reception. Passers-by enjoyed moments of tranquillity sitting on nearby benches and were presented with roses given away by the Moonpig team. People were encouraged to make a wish for a friend with mental illness, and attach notes to the wishing well if they felt called to. The event was open for a full 12 hours and was admired by hundreds of commuters who were refreshed by the scene on their daily route to work.
Following the event Cunning.com founder Anna Carloss remarked “Big Thanks to the Extreme Rigging Team. It was a very successful event and everyone remarked on how helpful Extreme Rigging Have been. It was clear that the team were considerate, flexible and cheerful”. Popcorn PR director, Francesca Rich added “A Fantastic team indeed”
Extreme Rigging would like to extend thanks to all the co-contractors, riggers, and clients involved with this project, it has been a pleasure to work with you all.
If you would like to know more about this project, have a project of your own you’d like to discuss with us, or just fancy catching up with us please contact us on 01753 656800 or email email@example.com.