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Case Study: Technical Production For Exhibition At The Design Museum, London

Discover the event production AV solutions employed for Amy: Beyond The Stage

'The Finale' at Amy: Beyond The Stage. Photography by Ed Reeve.

The Brief

Back in the summer of 2021, Blue Elephant were appointed by the Design Museum in London to provide full technical production, audio-visual consultancy, system design, equipment rental and AV installation for the museum's new exhibition, Amy: Beyond the Stage. The exhibition was to be a celebration of the life, career and legacy of Amy Winehouse, one of the UK's most beloved musical icons.

Blue Elephant's production team were tasked with delivering the exhibition's two audio-visual centrepieces; 'In The Studio' and 'The Finale'. The two experiences, designed by renowned live production designer Chiara Stephenson, were to play a key role in the exhibition's narrative, providing informative and mesmerising audiovisual content which reflected on Amy's work as a recording artist as well as her talent and vibrance as a live performer.

For 'In The Studio', Blue Elephant were to create a custom projection system capable of displaying content across six gauze surfaces housed inside a reconstructed music studio live room. The space was small, and as such it was paramount that the AV technology was both discrete enough to be hidden amongst the studio's props and yet powerful enough to deliver Luke Halls Studio's new-commission film which combined documentary footage and 3D animation with audio content of Amy discussing her musical inspiration, writing and recording processes.

The 'Finale' punctuated the exhibition's close with an exuberant graphical visualisation of Amy performing 'Tears Dry On Their Own', recorded live at Shepherd's Bush Empire in 2007. Blue Elephant were briefed to employ industry-leading projection technology to display Studio Moross' vibrant new-commission film onto the half-circular projection 'drum'. As well as the visual element, Blue Elephant were also to take charge of the event's audio design, providing a loudspeaker system to encapsulate both the design aesthetic and sonic energy of New York's 'Joe's Pub'; the venue at which Amy made her debut performance in the city, and which was Stephenson's inspiration for the set design of the event space.

'In The Studio' at Amy: Beyond The Stage. Photography by Ed Reeve.

The Process

Blue Elephant's event technical production expertise were put to use during our involvement in the London exhibition from beginning to end; a meticulous and collaborative process from start to finish. Our AV Installations team worked closely with renowned live production designer Chiara Stephenson and the Design Museum's in-house team to bring Amy Winehouse's legacy to life through the two audio-visual centrepieces, 'In The Studio' and 'The Finale'.

For 'In The Studio', the team faced the challenge of creating a custom projection system that could seamlessly blend into a reconstructed music studio live room. This required careful planning and coordination to ensure that the AV technology remained discreet while delivering a powerful visual and auditory experience for the exhibition's many visitors. The content, a mix of documentary footage, 3D animation and audio recordings of Amy discussing her music, was curated to provide insight into her creative process and musical inspiration and our AV Installations team accounted for the diverse event production equipment needed to cover this vibrant amalgamation of graphics and sound.

In contrast, 'The Finale' was designed to captivate visitors with a vibrant visual representation of Amy's live performance of 'Tears Dry On Their Own'. The team put in place industry-leading projection technology as well as some of our own custom AV solutions to project Studio Moross' film onto a half-circular projection 'drum', creating an immersive and triumphant ending to the exhibition. Additionally, the audio design needed to be impactful and cover the full audio range to encapsulate the sonic energy of Amy's debut performance in New York and enhance the overall experience for visitors.

Overall, the process of bringing Amy Winehouse's unique story to life through audio-visual experiences required a multi-layered blend of creativity, technical expertise and high attention to detail, resulting in a memorable and poignant exhibition at the Design Museum.

'The Style Wall' at Amy: Beyond The Stage. Photography by Ed Reeve.

The Technology

As well as our years of AV experience, the success of Blue Elephant's technical production for the Amy: Beyond the Stage exhibition relied heavily on our expansive inventory of cutting-edge AV technology and event production equipment. For 'The Style Wall', in the exhibition's main room, our AV Installations team created an expansive video wall to broadcast footage of Amy's past performances, including her iconic 2008 set at the Grammys. Interestingly, the five awards she won in the previous year took pride of place in the display underneath our AV display, alongside mannequins sporting the original outfits she wore during these recorded shows. In the 'The Harmony' section, which explored Amy’s musical influences and the creative process behind some of her best-known songs, we installed video screens and speakers showing short interview clips of artists such as Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi, that Amy collaborated with. For 'In The Studio', the team implemented a custom projection system capable of displaying content across six gauze surfaces within the reconstructed music studio live room. This system, designed to be discreet yet powerful, allowed for the seamless integration of documentary footage, 3D animation and audio recordings to create an immersive experience for visitors.

'The Finale' required industry-leading projection technology to bring Studio Moross' vibrant film to life on the half-circular projection 'drum'. The team's expertise in audio-visual consultancy, projection mapping and system design ensured that all the visual elements of the exhibition were delivered with precision and impact, making full use of texture and movement to match the pacing of the song and enhance the overall visitor experience.

Additionally, Blue Elephant's meticulous attention to detail extended to the audio design for the exhibition, with a focus on providing a discreet loudspeaker system that adhered to the design aesthetic of 'Joe's Pub' and the studio set but that captured the full sonic range of Amy's performances. By leveraging our stock of advanced audio technology, the team was able to create an immersive and dynamic sound experience that complemented the visual elements of the exhibition whilst still delivering world-class sound, further immersing visitors in Amy Winehouse's signature music.

'The Finale' at Amy: Beyond The Stage. Photography by Ed Reeve.

The Outcome

The Blue Elephant team are incredibly proud to have worked alongside London's Design Museum and many of its partners to deliver this stunning exhibition in celebration of Amy's life and musical influences. We are sure that all who attended the exhibition left, as we did, with a greater appreciation for Amy's talent and the immense void left behind in her absence.

'The Harmony' section at Amy: Beyond The Stage. Photography by Ed Reeve.

Location: The Design Museum

Photos: Ed Reeve Set Design: Chiara Stephenson

Digital Design: Luke Halls Studio

Artwork: Studio Moross


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