NEC Display Solutions Customer Installation Leisure & Entertainment

BEAM Pavilion by Wolfgang Buttress

Greenpeace at Glastonbury Festival 2019
Multi-Sensory, Immersive Sculptural Experience

Partnering with specialist collaborators in science, light, film, sound and projection mapping, NEC provides laser projection technology for one of the most talked about experiences of Glastonbury 2019.

The largest and most famous greenfield music and performing arts festival in the World, Glastonbury takes place on the 900 acre Worthy Farm in Pilton, Somerset, attended by around 200,000 revelers.

The Greenpeace Field at the Glastonbury Festival hosts innovative and inspiring ways to raise awareness for environmental issues. For 2019, Nottingham artist Wolfgang Buttress, famed for his multi-award winning Hive sculpture in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, highlights the plight of the honey bee with a multi-sensory, immersive sculptural experience.

The Challenge

Visitors enter the 30m diameter woodland pavilion through numerous pathways lined by tree trunks and wildflowers leading to an 11m wide hexagonal clearing. The internal space is surrounded by 3.5m high wooden lenticular screens to create a fully immersive experience. Vibration sensors are used to measure the activity of the Cornish Black Bee colony living on Michael Eavis’ Worthy Farm at Glastonbury. These live vibrational signals are sent to the sculpture, called BEAM, where algorithms convert them to be expressed through light and sound. The ever changing soundscape is augmented by musical stems recorded by Wolfgang and Glastonbury artists to harmoniously integrate with the hum of bees in the key of C.


The NEC Solution

Through its long standing relationship with Hoare Lea - acoustic engineers, experience designers and production managers on the BEAM creative team, NEC was approached to provide the laser projection technology.

At night, the space is filled with 360 degree projections from 12 x NEC PX1004UL laser projectors animating the walls of the clearing with footage from bee hives with high definition film, MRI and thermal imagery. The projection light paths are painstakingly and meticulously video mapped to each of the 300 internal timber elements, each of which have a faceted ‘A’ and ‘B’ image surface, creating images that emerge according to the movement of the viewer within the space.

The design for the BEAM installation uses NEC PX1004UL laser projector units which provide exceptional image quality and prove totally reliable in this demanding and unusual application”, explains Mike Bedford, Technical Director at Hoare Lea LLP. “We have worked with NEC laser on a number of creative, large-scale production installations and venue designs, they have consistently delivered – they just work.

Offering custom-tailored functionality, maintenance-free operation and a robust construction, NEC’s laser projectors are perfectly suited for rental and staging applications. The PX1004UL delivers 10,000 ANSI lumen brightness, superior cinema picture quality and 4k signal processing performance. Eight optional bayonet lenses, 360 degree installation in any direction, unique geometric adjustment, Picture in Picture and 3D support offer unrivalled installation capabilities for any application. What’s more, classified Risk Group 2, there are no precautions necessary to ensure the safety of the audience.

The Result

The challenges facing the bee are universal. BEAM is an artwork that expresses the intrinsic and essential relationship between bee and human which proved to be one of the must-see and most talked about experiences of Glastonbury 2019.

I am delighted with the NEC laser projectors that are being used in BEAM. They have been essential in creating a multi-sensory experience which highlights the existential challenges facing the honey bee”, explains Buttress. “I wanted to use the best technology available to create a sense of magic and wonder. The projectors have helped make this happen.