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Robe Joins The Nobility

Bart van der Smissen, Gebr. de Noble; Jeroen van Aalst, Robe's Benelux distributor, Controllux; and Matt de Jong, freelance lighting designer.

Gebr. de Nobel (Nobel Brothers) is a brand new live performance venue located on the busy, animated thoroughfare of Marktsteeg in Leiden, Netherlands, complete with a brand new Robe moving light rig specified and supplied by Benelux distributor Controllux to the delight of the technical crew led by head of production and technical affairs, Bart van der Smissen.

Owned and funded by the city of Leiden, as the Netherlands' newest "temple of pop," Gebr. de Nobel has been beautifully designed by architect Ector Hoogstadt to maximize every centimeter of usable space and ensure that it functions practically and efficiently as a bustling entertainment hub.

Controllux's lighting design was evolved with input from Dutch lighting designer Nick van Balen, and has eight DLX Spots, 12 LEDWash 300s, 18 LEDBeam 100s, and ten CycFX 8s at its core in the main hall -- with 12 LEDBeam 100s for the small hall, together with a selection of strobes and generics -- all of which are being worked hard for the eclectic range of shows.

The new building replaces LVC, an older live music institution and vibrant hotbed of underground-orientated music and performance in the city for over 40 years. While "the venue" has definitely become more commercial with this move, at the essence of the development of the entire project was retaining the atmosphere, independence, and cool of LVC, moving all that to a place where the production values rose several levels and Leiden could offer a truly contemporary performance experience.

The establishment of Gebr. de Nobel has transformed the facilities and capabilities into that of a first class venue for hosting a line-up of the best local and international artists who can perform either in the 800-capacity main space or the 250-capacity Small Hall.

van der Smissen is extremely happy with the results so far. In fact, he says he has been a Robe fan since the early days of the brand, when he first used the ColorSpot and ColorWash 250 series luminaires, and most of the range in the intervening years, during which time he's worked as a touring technician, lighting designer, and production manager, as well as project managing for a huge cultural events company in Den Haag.

Gebr. de Nobel stages around 240 events a year encompassing all types of performance -- dance, EDM, rock, theatre, festivals -- including film -- embracing all types of music, and with the vast majority of them using the in-house kit. Some performances augmenting the house top rig/s with their touring floor packages.

"Robe is a brand that is almost universally well-received when we send our specs out to incoming productions," he confirms. "You can also now find it most touring riders as a first or second choice of moving light."

Regular Gebr. de Nobel lighting designer Matt de Jong is one of a number of freelancers and is often designing floor packages for appearing artists. He is really enjoying having the Robes at his disposal. "I love the DLX Spots, they are very powerful and versatile and I find the CycFX 8s exciting and different, so it is great integrating these more unusual types of fixture into shows."

van der Smissen's also very impressed with the CycFX, and they have had a few freelance lighting designers working there who have really pushed the units and experimented with them.

As with any busy venue, the after sales support was a vital element in Controllux winning the supply contract, as was the reliability and reputation of the product.

Talking more generally, van der Smissen feels that Robe is currently "right on message" when it comes to product development and producing new, inventive and different fixtures: "they deliver every time," he states.

In addition to upping the production values, the move to the new venue has boosted audience numbers and there's generally a massive amount of chatter and buzz surrounding Gebr. de Nobel, which is attracting an increasing number of international acts and appearing regularly on tour itineraries.


(3 August 2015)

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