I met with Pavlos Nanos, the forth generation of the family working for Greece’s longest established fireworks company. The family patriarch brought Italian-style fireworks to the family’s home island of Spetses and established the company in 1920. Now headquartered in Athens, they are the most renowned company in Greece, putting on over 300 displays a year and recent winners of competitions in Germany and China. Nanos’s participation is the first time a Greek company has competed in Montreal.
Pavlos told me the display, which was over two months in design and conception, would be in two parts. Inspired by the end of the Mayan calendar in 2012, as well as the ongoing economic crisis in Greece and Europe, the first half of the display is to represent the end of the world. Dramatic explosions will light the lake on fire and then Greek National Team swimmer, Katerina Tapeinou, will arise from the devastation on the lake to represent the rebirth of civilization. A circular structure will be present on the surface of the lake to help implement this effect, as well as other special effects towards the end of the display, whilst Katerina will continue to strokes to the theme. The voice from the artificial intelligence, HAL, portrayed in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, will be used in the display and Pavlos noted that he wanted the audience to understand that humanity triumphs in the end, as the meaning of existence is nothing without emotions and feelings.
For the musical aspects of the display, Pavlos wanted to use contemporary music that wasn’t necessarily too well known, to avoid using pieces that might be clichéd in a pyromusical context. He used VisualShowDirector to help with the 3-D visualization of certain complex aspects of the display, particularly as Nanos are using many interesting angles for their effects. Pavlos said he is interested in seeing how is internal visualizations will play out in reality!
The technical aspects of the display are that 95% of the material used in the display is of Spanish and Italian origin, with Ricasa producing some shells to Nanos’s specifications for this display. Other special products are very large 6″ mines which will be fired from ramp 2. I also noticed that there are a lot of mines and candles on ramp 3, as well as nautical shells. Fans of large calibre shells shouldn’t be too disappointed as there will be fifteen shells in the 10″ and 12″ category, as called for by the design.The other 5% of the material is Chinese and is used in cakes etc. The script uses around 3000 cues and will be fired using Pyrodigital.
It should certainly be an interesting display as no-one has ever combined pyrotechnics with a live swimmer! Katerina was to be doing her final rehearsals this evening, and special care was taken to ensure her safety with all the special effects used in the lake.