Knox Illuminate

Knox Grammar School is an independent Uniting Church day and boarding school for boys and girls that is located in Wahroonga, Sydney. I worked for Knox as the Master in Charge of the Tech Crew program.

  • Project

    Event direction, Audio Visual

  • Client

    Knox Grammar School

  • Partner

    Revolution X, Fusion Entertainment

Challenge

Can we create Sydney's Vivid, here at Knox?

The Headmaster and School Council wanted to create a special community event for the official opening of the new Senior Academy building. This was an important occasion for the School as the building formed the physical cornerstone of their new ‘academy’ based learning strategy (Junior, Middle and Senior). The brief was simple – “Can we do (Sydney’s) Vivid, here at Knox?”

Before After

PROCESS

Employ traditional UX methods to create an immersive experience.

Working with the school Events team, I led the Tech Crew’s involvement in creating this event. I took the boys on a field trip to Vivid, where we met some of the creatives and (more importantly to us) the technicians and learnt from their experience. I liaised directly with suppliers and creatives to plan the light and visual display on the School’s historic Main Building to complement the display on the new Senior Academy, working on a tight budget of roughly 7% of that allocated for the Senior Academy’s light display.

The event was a different type of digital experience for me but I employed similar methods from my UX design work, using technology to create an immersive environment that brought our guests together to ‘discover extraordinary’, bringing the School’s mission to life. It required thorough consideration of each area of the school grounds to design an evening that consistently amazed our guests while being careful not to overwhelm the senses.

Result

An award winning, benchmark setting, School event.

In October 2015, we brought Vivid to Knox with over 4000 people joining us to celebrate the opening. Knox Illuminate embodied the School’s vision of ‘innovation wrapped in tradition’.

Through a combination of complex negotiation and comprehensive logistical planning for maximum efficiency (across bump-in, tech, the event and bump-out), the Tech Crew designed a 7-minute immersive sound and light experience on the Main Building, which rivalled the spectacle of the display on the new Senior Academy (sans fireworks). The only question from the Headmaster afterwards was, ‘Why didn’t the Tech Crew do it all, instead of the professional contractors?’

It received a Highly Commended award in the 2015 Australian/NZ EducatePlus Awards and has become the benchmark for School community events. In May 2019, this event inspired ‘Knox IMAGINE’, which launched the new Junior Academy and Performing Arts Centre.

Illuminate event photography by Scott Cameron.