We were recently invited for a visit to Ayrton‘s Paris headquarters. It was a unique opportunity to gain a better understanding of who is behind a company that has expressed so much innovation in recent years and has rapidly positioned itself among the top international players. A sort of – pass me the term – ‘revenge of the visionaries’ and an example of success built largely on passion, and not only on profit calculations and moves of convenience, which alone are not enough for the realisation of art instruments such as lighting fixtures represent for lighting designers.
The path of Yvan Péard, Ayrton’s Managing Director, is typical of the true pioneers of ShowBiz, endowed with that special firmness in being certain of the objective and that passion that does not make you fear difficulties. Below is the interview.
LightSoundJournal.com: Let’s start from the beginning…
Yvan Péard: Before I worked for Ayrton, I was a distributor for High End System and before that I was a distributor for Coemar for a long time. Two experiences that in fact limited me and did not allow me to really achieve what I wanted. At the beginning of 2002, I decided to change course and turned to a large Chinese company that presented me with an improved copy of a well-known moving head of the time. But I wasn’t interested in clones, I was determined to create my own products. And in the end I did it!
At the time, Colour Kinetics was the reference in LED management. My idea was to combine this with specific architectural lighting that could also include the features of a moving head. Like the whole story of my life, I had once again been too optimistic, believing that technology and my vision were going at the same speed. Still, I did not give up and managed to create a couple of devices, Easy colour and Easy colour 2, with good colour saturation but still insufficient light intensity. Consider that at that time LED development was in its infancy and we were confronted with moving heads like Martin’s MAC2000. After these two products, we decided to wait for the evolution of technologies and greater energy efficiency of LEDs; in the meantime, we made some really original static products.
LSJ.com: And then came the arrival of Golden Sea?
Yvan Péard: Our story is not as linear as one might imagine, we have overcome great dramas along the way. In 2008 we were on the verge of closure and my partner Xavier was also quite discouraged. I initially turned down two proposals from Golden Sea, and after an attempt with another company that didn’t end well, in 2010 the only solution for me was to return to Golden Sea. A move that proved to be successful.
WildSun was the first product we made with them. On the occasion of Bruce Springsteen’s tour in 2012, we participated in a product comparison together with ROBE and JB Lighting. We presented the WildSun 500C in Berlin, it was immediately noticed and they asked us to organise a demo in Las Vegas. Valère went with his full set, and prepared everything for the demo. He was unable to attend the comparison that took place without the companies involved. In the end, we were chosen because the surface area of the fixture was larger and because we had chosen a warmer native colour temperature than our competitors. In addition, the fixture had an innovative housing system and a special type of collimators made in France, which actually improved the zoom system. And even though it was the only working machine we had in the house at the time, it was still very successful, not least because of the demo for Bruce Springsteen.
Speaking of artists of a certain calibre, a few years ago we received a request for 167 Magic Panels for a Paul McCartney event, I didn’t have them in stock and Golden Sea demanded a minimum order of 500 pieces. I was afraid of losing the order, so we ended up producing all 500 pieces…. the last ones we only sold last year (NDR Laughs).
LSJ.com: So in your case passion outweighs business strategies…
Yvan Péard: Yes, it has been like that all my life. For me it is like a dream. I could never have predicted to go this far and to achieve what Ayrton has become today.
If you want to be special, you have to do something special. It makes no sense, for example, to grossly copy products with an innovative optical system or source and only differentiate the type of plastic and put your own name on it. Nobody can survive in the market like that.
I was a Genesis fan, their shows still excite me now, all that technology and more.
Sometimes I think it would also be interesting for Ayrton to produce traditional fixtures, but I love moving heads.
LSJ.com: What is your personal vision of the future market?
Yvan Péard: I personally love laser technology – which in fact we used in the Cobra – and I think it is a new starting point. In two or three years we will produce fixtures that can do almost anything. We are moving towards a universal standard with multi-performance products, with a high IP, and the use of new materials that allow for less thickness and weight. For example, I am convinced that in a few years we will no longer have IP20.
During the stay at Ayrton, we had the opportunity to preview the show that would soon be the star of Frankfurts’s upcoming ProLight+Sound. A show conceived by Stéphane Migné, who is also the author of the soundtracks and musical arrangements of the Ayrton shows.
The opportunity was not missed for a preview of the French company’s latest addition, Rivale Profile, a complete and lightweight IP65 fixture weighing just 28.5 kg. The demo, presented by Ayrton CEO Chris Agius Ferrante, highlighted the Rivale’s performance, given by a 160 mm front lens and a 450 W high-efficiency LED module.
The high-definition CMY progressive colour mixing system offers a perfect reproduction of pastel tones, while the variable deep red optimises the colour rendering index at low levels and offers a red with a high level of saturation. The innovative optical system devised by Ayrton allows the use of a trichromatic wheel system, resulting in an even more homogeneous beam, lighter weight due to the use of fewer motors, and brighter saturated colours as the light passes through a single filter. A system that is no longer commonly used, but which, thanks to new technologies in terms of sources, represents a step forward.
With a native colour temperature of 6,500K and a luminous flux of 27,000 lumens, the Rivale Profile is capable of producing a 4° beam with a 13:1 zoom ratio and a zoom range of 4 to 52°. The fixture, the development of which is nearing completion, will contain a linear minus green (called CTP) and will house an LED module whose positioning in the black body curve is extremely optimal, so as to avoid white correction interventions.