Star Events provided a platform off Westminster Pier on the 19th November 2014, for street trial cyclist Danny MacAskill to perform a spectacular water-borne loop-the-loop, aided and abetted by Microsoft’s new Windows phone personal assistant, Cortana.
Fixed to a 500-tonne barge, the Star Events structure ran a ramp into the 5m loop, lined up with a round projector screen and the London Eye, accentuating Cortana’s circular form.
Tasked with turning the event from paper to pontoon in just six weeks, Will Roberts, Production Manager for Microsoft’s agency, Mission, sought out Star Events’ significant experience with Thames’ events and Vert ramps..
With that sort of deadline, you’re designing, costing, scheduling, building and delivering in parallel and Star gave me a lot of confidence in the tender process. Their pricing was good, they have a big track record of marine work and they’re a really nice bunch.
Star completed half the build at West India Dock, to a height just over 8.0m in order to maintain clearance on the bridges upstream. And the route plan was critical, with limited opportunity for transit in terms of river levels and conditions.
Gavin Scott, Star Events’ Project Manager, comments: “Although the structure was designed and built to Danny’s spec, we always had to be focused on the key camera shots for the production. The variables involved in maintaining those positions over multiple vessels on a tidal river were extensive. In Westminster, we had the added complication of using a marine crane for the lifting operation, which assisted the installation of the projection truss, all the pre-rigged lighting trusses, as well as the loop itself. The most challenging job I’ve ever been involved in, without a shadow of a doubt.”
Cortana is designed to adapt to individual personalities, learning by experience to become not only a reactive helper, but also a proactive influence.
“Danny’s London stunt is proof that Cortana can enable even the most outlandish inspirational ideas to become reality,” Adam Johnson, Marketing Director for mobile devices at Microsoft, said.