Shanghai,  22nd March 2010

China is supposedly the land of fireworks; it was invented here centuries ago. I regularly hear the firecrackers in the neighborhood when newlyweds are arriving or departing from their home in celebration. Though one could say that fireworks are synonymous with China, it is interesting to note that fireworks are universely used, pretty much through any culture in the world as an expression of joy and celebration. 

Today’s subject is triggered by a report I saw on the news about the fireworks world championships…yes it does exist apparently. Interestingly it is not held in China but in Germany and several teams from all over the world are competing for the title. I believe the venue is a big stadium and teams spend days preparing. As we know from major event ceremonies (world cups, Olympics, etc) firework displays takes a lot of planning and preparation …then it is gone in seconds 🙂  They showed some of the fireworks and I must say it was quite spectacular…I imagine the costs of participating must be too!

Of course it is all high tech nowadays with electronic ignition and computer driven programming. There is probably elaborate software that sequences and programs the firework displays, but I always wonder how they get the patterns and explosion sequences once up in the air as I assume the high tech somehow stops on the ground.

Fireworks are a one off event, never to be reproduced the same as weather conditions continuously change, hence each display being a unique piece. I guess that is the difference between lighting for a show and lighting for architecture. Most of our lighting designs and thus the related lighting effects are reproducible to the dot as they happen under controlled conditions. Fireworks are not…yes they are controlled from a safety point of view, but manual installation and weather conditions would render each display different even if the set up exactly the same.

22. March 2010 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: lighting and culture | 1 comment

One Comment

  1. yes,fireworks is the most common manner we celebrate;
    during our last CNY Holiday,fireworks took everyday, the most spectacular is took by local goverment,last for near one hour,must cost more than million RMB,I think…
    great gorgeous!great splendid!huge crowds of people come! I see a man ask proposed…so Romance!
    while when it is over,we hear fire alarm far way,must be the site took firework—bleachers is far from there;this happan every CNY Holiday, too much fireworks.and I wonder how much carbon dioxide carry out? LC policy is broadcast few days…

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