Interview with Team Sugyp

I met with Nicolas Guinand, Sugyp’s designer, competing in Montreal for the first time. Indeed, Sugyp are new to the fireworks competition circuit, having decided as recently as two years ago that it would be good for them to advance the art. Their first competition was in St.-Brévin (held in Brittany) just last year. 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 they realized that competitions are a good way to develop new artistic techniques as well as network with the best designers and companies in the business.

Sugyp was effectively founded in 1971, but Nicolas, together with his brother Jean-Pascal and their father, bought the company in 2007, after having becoming more interested in the emotional aspect of fireworks after having witnessed the competition in Chantilly in 2004. They founded Pyro Éphémère in 2006 and took over Sugyp the following year. Nicolas noted that he comes from a design background, not fireworks manufacturing, so became familiar with the products afterwards. Now he spends much of his time on the import side of Sugyp – quite a task as they have a catalog of over 1200 products!

For their Montreal display, more than 70% (and he used the “old” French term septante, rather than soixante dix!) of the products were specially manufactured to Sugyp’s specifications. They are using four Chinese manufacturers together with a plethora of top European companies such as Igual (Spain), Prevot (France), APTM (France), Panzera (Italy), Pirico/Parente (Italy) and fellow competitor this year, Vaccalluzzo (Italy). They are using the wireless Galaxsis firing system with 35 100-cue modules for a display of over 3000 cues. Nicolas noted that they are also using PyroClock pyrotechnic time delays, to give some “warmth” to the display as he prefers this to the rigidly cold precision of using purely electronic firing for everything. He said he’d spent over 100 hours in the pure design and conception of the show, before the realization and implementation with actual products – this aspect, together with the logistics, taking several months. He joked and said that it was more than a man-year’s worth of effort to put on this show, though as one man, he’d be unable to complete the task even if he started a year in advance!

The theme represents the past, present and future of aviation.

Nicolas Guinand with biplane

To highlight the theme, a wooden replica of a World War One biplane will “fly” across the lake with music representing the period. Then we move to the present, where some very exciting design elements will be used, together with contemporary music. These design elements are top secret for now, so as to not spoil the surprise. Let it be said that the best place to witness them is from the grandstands at La Ronde! For the future, “space” music will be used from films such as Star Trek, ET and The X Files. Nicolas noted that he is particularly looking forward to the Star Trek segment, as well as the finale. He also said to listen for a special effect that has the sound of a wolf howling!

It sounds like it will be a fascinating display and, judging by the setup on ramps 2 and 3, should be very visually wide, taking advantage of the full width and height of the display area.

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