Interview with Team Switzerland

I met with Nicolas Guinand, Sugyp’s designer, togther with his brother Jean Pascal, competing in Montreal for their second time. They currently put on around 250 displays per year, with their largest being for the Swiss National Day, fired on Lake Geneva, which is “just over the hill” from their home in Grandson, on the shores of Lac Neuchâtel. Nicolas said that their Montreal competition show is their most complex one of the year.

Nicolas is responsible for the artistic design of both the soundtrack and the fireworks script, with Jean Pascal performing the technical and logistical expertise needed to put it all together. Nicolas said he spend about 48 hours putting together the soundtrack – so about one and a half hours per minute of music!

Their display is being fired using the wireless Galaxis system, with 45 modules of up to 100 cues each. The cue count will be revealed in the display report. Products come from several European manufacturers from Italy (Pirico, Vaccalluzzo and Panzera), Spain (Igual) as well as Switzerland, where they have had special fountains manufactured. Chinese manufacturers are represented by Wenhuamountain and Vulcan – Nicolas saying they are focussing on fewer oriental companies now who are making products to their specification. Fans are large shells can rest assured there will be several 300mm items in the display, as well as many traditional Italian cylinders. Nicolas also mentioned that there will be many calibres of salutes used, some with over 500g of composition to give a real chest-thumping experience.


Multi-angle oneshot rack

The show is designed to engage the audience emotionally and has many neat special effects, including 22 special panels for lancework, four of which will be mounted on ramp 4 to form a larger image. Some of these will also move. They are assembled on a special fire-resistant mesh and will be used throughout the show, reflection the title “e-motions”.


Lancework panel with emoticon

The technical design of the display was not done as a “blank sheet”, according to Nicolas, as there are always constraints on an artist that are imposed. In fireworks, the site itself makes impositions, as does the budget and time constraints etc. He said it was analogous to designing and artist performance – you have degrees of freedom but there are always limits. He said they had learned a lot from their previous participation and hence were using only three positions on ramp 2, but these actually give 9 possible positions in the sky. On ramp 3, there will be 21 positions and five pontoons will form ramp 5, which will be placed very close to the audience as they are using special iso-propanol fueled flame projectors. Placing these close to the audience also allows for larger calibre nautical shells and cakes to be used. I was also pleased to see that mines as large as 5″ will be included in the display.


Installing 5" mines on ramp 3

Of course, there will also be many one-shots and Roman Candles on ramp 3, including some colour-changing candles that, with special firing angles, should produce some very interesting effects. Nicolas used Finale Fireworks to visualize the entire show, demonstrating portions of it to me. With the choice of music and the way the theme should engage the audience, it promises to be a very interesting display!

Nicolas (l) and Jean Pascal Guinand

Nicolas (l) and Jean Pascal Guinand

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