Interview with Team Lacroix-Ruggieri

In 1739, the Italian Ruggieri brothers embarked upon their glamorous career as fireworks experts to Louis XIV. The Lacroix company was founded in 1848 in Toulouse, France, by Étienne Lacroix. In 1997, these two great fireworks firms merged and became Lacroix-Ruggieri. Competing in Montreal for the 14th time, Lacroix-Ruggieri has three gold Jupiters under its belt, as well as a special mention at the 20th Anniversary special competition in 2004.

I met with Jean-Pierre Costes, head of Lacroix’s product testing division, and representing the team for the interview, this being his seventh personal participation in the competition.

Jean-Pierre Costes

With the theme. “Maudits Français” (Damned Frenchmen) the display tells the story of a Québécois who finds a mysterious object ( that says “made in France”) on the shores of lac des Dauphins at La Ronde and suddenly finds himself transported to Paris. Once there, he embarks on an amazing journey through Paris and its environs.

Jean-Pierre noted that many people worked on the soundtrack, beginning back in January of this year and the theme was inspired by listening to a piece of Québécois music by Lynda Lemay of the same name.  After being figuratively transported to Paris, the main character will travel around all of the usual clichés of Paris, set to an enticing pyrotechnical design. There will be some narration, but it will be composed of short phrases to orient the audience.

Lacroix-Ruggieri is a manufacturer of products (many of which are homologated in Canada) but Jean-Pierre  noted that they had sourced high quality material from around the world for all the effects required in the display. Manufacturers from China are represented, as are such European companies as Pirico (Italy), Scaparto (Italy), Ricasa (Spain), Igual (Spain), Vincente Caballer (Spain), Luso (Portugal), Panzera (Italy) and, of course, Lacroix-Ruggieri themselves. Jean-Pierre noted they went for variety of effects and quality of colour. The display is being fired with 235 FM16 Pyrodigital firing modules, for a cue count around 3500 (in contrast to the 2300 they used in 2004).

Of special interest is the fact that they’re using a suspended structure, some 40m in the air, that Jean-Pierre termed a “cyclone”. On further questioning, he revealed that this is a ring-shaped structure that can also rotate and is fitted with many one-shots and other effects. Ramp 5 is also being used (with five pontoons) as well as two extra pontoons attached perpendicularly to ramp 3, extending its reach out into the lake. I noticed many large mines on ramp 3 as well as several nautical cakes.

Jean-Pierre noted that the best place to witness the display would be at La Ronde and that he was particularly looking forward to the finalé. It sounds like it will be an interesting display, especially the “cyclone”.

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