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PIVOTING OCULUS

Sep 2017 | Opera

Flying large objects along non-purely vertical trajectories raised unusual questions. For the Norma directed by Frédéric Roels at the Rouen Opéra and the Royal Opera House Muscat, Bruno de Lavenère imagined such a motion.

An inclined wooden “Oculus” wall, suspended on trusses, flies away after being set upright, showing a full-size projection area. While moving upwards, the wall endures internal stress and applies varying pressure on the upstage catwalk.

First, ExMachina analyzed and validated the catwalk’s structure, making sure it would not slip upstage, and that bolted connections would do fine.

Then, we ran multi-material finite element calculations to validate the wall’s deformation, and then predict if the wood would make noisy cracks or, worse, start to break up. Ultimately, a 0 -> 40 mm -> 0 maximum deformation happened to be reasonable for effect.

Running advanced calculation on such big and complex objects does not only requires proper tools, but also trained engineers setting up the right hypothesis and able to analyze processed data.

Majestic yet in a delicate and smooth motion, the wall vanishes to reveal an other dimension of the show.

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