On October 21, 2020, in the depths of the pandemic, a group of backers unveiled their plans for a new state-of-the-art live entertainment center.
Less than one year later, their hope and vision were realized with the opening of The Factory, a bi-level 52.000 sq. ft. indoor venue with the capacity to serve up to 3.000 fans.
Located in the heart of St. Louis’ popular dining and entertainment destination, “The District”, the new venue is now entertaining fans with a wide variety of shows, following strict safety protocols.
Enhancing their experience is a dynamic and flexible lighting rig featuring CHAUVET Professional Maverick, Rogue and STRIKE fixtures supplied by Logic Systems, which also installed audio, video, and rigging systems at The Factory.
Chip Self of Logic Systems said that "doing this project as a ground-up design allowed for lots of cool options that wouldn’t necessarily be possible on a retrofit of an existing space. One of my main design goals was to make the systems as flexible as possible.”
The Factory is located on some of the most valuable real estate in its region, making space inside the venue a precious commodity. This, notes Self, placed a premium on flexibility. “As a road house, we will host visiting bands that sometimes want to use their own gear, but there’s very limited space to store the house PA and lighting when that happens”, he remarked. To address this issue they got creative.
I worked with Harrington Hoists to modify an existing trolley motor they build so that it can be operated from a traditional production style hoist controller, and outfitted them with P14 connections. All four PA hoists, as well as hoists for the mid-stage and up-stage lighting trusses are on trolley motors, so they can be trolleyed out of the way of touring production without having to take them down and store them. Since it was new construction, I was able to design the rigging steel to have oversized beams and extra capacity to allow this - without compromising capacity for the tour systems.
The trolley motors at The Factory operate from Applied Electronics hoist controllers, along with all of the other hoists. Light Source drape tracks were used to create sliding cable picks for the motor cables, so they can travel upstage-downstage with the trolley motors.
Also, saving space, while adding to the flexibility of The Factory is a design that allows the room to be used in different configurations. There is an airwall that separates the space under the balcony so that it becomes its own bar area. The venue also has the ability to hang drape to close-off the balcony. Additionally, the PA is zoned so the house can mute, or select other sources for those areas as needed.
Regardless of how the venue is configured, all seats afford excellent views. Self said that:
There’s genuinely not a bad seat in the house, as there are no obstructions like poles or columns anywhere in the audience area. Conduits and fiber were installed by another vendor to a few camera locations – all running back to a video truck patch panel – to allow for bringing in a camera package to film or stream concerts.
Self also was meticulous in putting together a lighting system that met the demands of this versatile, space-efficient venue. “We tested multiple fixtures in the space, and with the input of venue management to determine what worked best, both in terms of performance and budget”, he said. “I wanted to position our FOH truss off of the show grid so that it’s not in the way of touring systems. Because it’s on roof trusses instead of the show grid, I had to pay careful attention to weight. The Chauvet units were ideally suited for this. Not only are they compact, they’re extremely versatile and the pack a lot of punch”.
A collection of eight Rogue R3X Wash, twenty Maverick Force S Spot, twelve Rogue R2 Wash and nine STRIKE 4 fixtures were ultimately selected for the project. The mid-stage and upstage trusses each have Eight Force S Spots, six Rogue R2 Washes and three STIKE 4 Units.
“There was a huge amount of design intent and attention put into making the entire audience space a great seat, and lighting was a big part of it”, said Self, who gives much of the credit to the project’s team, notably Brian Carp of The Factory and Kris Trgovich from Logic Systems.
This was the product of hard work an exceptional team effort.