Detailed scenic finishes and a compact package of automation created this dynamic centrepiece prop. The Orb has the external appearance of a meteorite, its surface built up from layers of collected space debris. It does, however, conceal a surprise: the exterior splits into eight automated sections that open like petals to reveal a mysterious, glowing interior and a sequenced light show.
The Orb is part of two multi-sensory shows at PY1, an immersive new touring venue. The initial design posed several challenges including concealment of the petal seams and how to fit the engineering into such a confined space. The piece also had to deliver reliable shows three times a day yet be easy to derig, transport and reinstall.
A laser-cut steel skeleton provided maximum strength with minimum weight, while multiple layers of resin were used to build up the textured exterior, with metal foils and 3D printed elements adding further detail. The interior was given a ghostly, glowing, muscle-like texture; eight semi-transparent thermo-plastic carapaces slotting neatly over the inner frame work, covering all working mechanisms. Lights fitted behind the thermo-plastic transformed the Orb’s interior into a controllable and versatile lighting feature while electrics rather than hydraulics were used to keep the weight down and ensure a cleaner, quieter finish.