The venue, named Unique Mount Emei Land of Dramas, spans 78,000 square metres and three distinct locations, including the main tile-clad pavilion, an outdoor courtyard area and a group of real Chinese village dwellings.
Design studio Beijing Leuchte Lighting Design used dramatic statement lights mixed with soft atmospheric illumination to help set the scene inside the venue, which was designed specifically for one immersive theatre production.
The play, created by Chinese stage director Wang Chaoge, explores Buddhism and the history of nearby Mount Emei – one of the four sacred mountains of Chinese Buddhism.
Aside from the glowing pavilion, Beijing Leuchte Lighting Design used found objects, such as sinks, to form luminaires for the show and lit artificial mist using white lights to make the audience feel as though they are walking above the clouds.
The venue’s centrepiece is Beyond the Cloud – a pavilion clad in 50,000 illuminated glass and ceramic tiles that are finished in shades of blue-green, white and grey.
This treatment of the facade references the popular motif of rivers and mountains in traditional Chinese paintings.
Next to the pavilion, white gravel helps to delineate the second theatre location, called By the Cloud.
This outdoor area facilitates further performances and provides an open space where the dramatic effects of the lighting design become more apparent, Beijing Leuchte Lighting Design said.
Throughout the courtyard, the roofs of vernacular village dwellings appear to be sunken into the ground to provide the audience with the sense of standing on top of Mount Emei – an experience that is further heightened by the hazy, cool-toned landscape lighting.
Walkways are picked out with guide lights to allow the audience to walk safely between the structures and further immerse themselves in the performance.
The final setting, Beneath the Cloud, takes over the old dwellings of Gaohe Village, which Wang and her team turned into an immersive performance venue.
Beijing Leuchte Lighting Design opted to adapt existing artefacts such as crockery, sinks and woven baskets to provide light sources for the performance, as opposed to specifying modern fittings.
Here, low-brightness spotlights help to recreate the atmosphere of rural nighttime, in contrast with the dramatic backdrop provided by the looming pavilion.
All images are courtesy of Beijing Leuchte Lighting Design.
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