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Category: Lighting Design Exhibitor: Rubrik Inc. Design/Fabrication: Astound Group Inc., Toronto, 905-465-0474, www.astoundgroup.com Show: VMworld US, 2018 Budget: $500,000 – $749,000 Size: 30-by-40 feet

PHOTOS: Astound Group Inc.
Field of Beams
Within the hypercompetitive arena of VMworld US, exhibitors at the information-technology show have to establish their au courant credibility in a world of ones and zeros in much the way artists earn their avant-garde standing – with a striking statement that symbolizes their embrace of the unconventional. In 1894, Claude Monet did it by capturing the otherworldly intricacies of color and light in his "Rouen Cathedral, West Facade." And in 2018, data-management company Rubrik Inc. did it with a lighting design in its 30-by-40-foot booth that was the equal of anything hanging in the Museum of Modern Art.
Rubrik's Tubes
Almost 600 acrylic and wood beams formed an unforgettable back wall and canopy in Rubrik Inc.'s exhibit. Hundreds of yards of programmable LED tape threaded through nearly 100 of the beams produced a visual centerpiece whose play on light was as soothing as an Impressionist canvas.
"We aimed for a striking design that captured the essence of forward thinking," said Devan Tomlinson, design director at exhibit house Astound Group Inc. The booth contained nearly 600 beams made of either wood or acrylic and ranging from 3 feet to just under 8 feet long. Forming both a back wall and an over-head canopy, the rectangular elements seemed to float of their own volition. All the beams coming off the back wall needed internal steel tubes for structural support, while the acrylic ones in the canopy required metal pipes. The weight of the ceiling element – totaling 10,000 pounds – forced an on-site rigging team to determine the optimum load-bearing points and thus avoid any danger of collapse.

To produce the booth's ethereal play on color and light, Rubrik threaded hundreds of yards of LED tape through 64 acrylic beams in the canopy and 29 more in the back wall. Once installed, the LEDs were programed to produce up to 10 different sequences. Most of the series incorporated the blue, green, and white hues of the company's corporate colors, but a couple of patterns fused vivid pinks and reds. The result was a slow geyser of illumination with the leisurely arc of a sunset. "The elements of the lighting design were bare bones," said one Exhibit Design Awards judge, "but the combined effect was absolutely stunning." E


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