WI Flies High and Safe for Docks Bruxsel Grand Opening Docks Bruxsel is a brand new shopping and entertainment district in Brussels, the first new retail development in Belgium for 25 years, bringing regeneration, vibrancy and urban chic to a previously neglected and derelict brownfield site along the canal banks west of the busy Van Praet Bridge. We were contacted for the grand opening event by aerial artists Company Newa - with whom they regularly work and supply technical support - to install the performer flying winch system for four aerialists. The project was managed for us by Geert Stockmans and the Opening Ceremony was staged in a large atrium at the heart of the 56,000 square metre Docks complex.

The biggest challenge was working in the venue itself – as opposed to a theatre environment where it would have been relatively straightforward. Not being built for performance, it required a flexible approach and plenty of lateral thinking to ensure the installation of a safe and workable performer flying system.

The flying plans were also adapted a few times as new and previously unforeseen elements came into play on site. Many departments and individuals needed to be satisfied with the aerial set up – from show director and choreographer Marcos Vinals on the creative side to the health & safety inspectors, the mall’s administration to the electricians and a number of other contractors also working there ... as well as meeting all WI’s rigorous self-regulatory standards.

The final system comprised two WI TP2 winches, a product designed and built by WIcreations to move objects and people. Compact and flexible, the winch system can travel at 2 and 4 metres per second when coupled with WIcreations’ custom control system, and in this case it was used at the fastest 2 metres per second speed.

The winches can be housed in a standard truss to make the installation process efficient – and in this case the truss was rigged in the roof of the atrium – for which plans also had to be submitted and approved by Docks’ structural engineers.

The TP2 comes with a set of accessories and diverters to make it possible to install the wires at exactly the right positions and angles, and the product meets all the BGV-C1 requirements at a safety factor of 10:1.

The Docks opening show lasted around 26 minutes with the flying sections making up two significant segments of around 5 minutes each, wowing the crowds with their elegance and daring.

The inauguration of Docks Bruxsel brings a lively new district to the city with an innovative mix of shops, culture, lifestyle and entertainment plus some bold architectural designs, sustainable construction aspects, attractive public spaces and specific event areas. It’s intended that the concept becomes a new benchmark and northern gateway for Brussels that will attract and encourage multiple commercial activities and benefit the community.

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Docks Bruxsel - Brussels