Airstar, inventor and world leader in lighting balloon technology, announces the launch of NEO, the latest addition to the French manufacturer’s inflatable lighting range dedicated to event staging.

Measuring five meters long by 20cm wide, NEO is inspired directly by neon tubes which have a timeless aesthetic. As an inflatable lighting structure, NEO is easy to handle and set up, and can be either installed on the ground or mounted. Its imposing size makes it a unique product, offering a powerful brightness of 8,500 lumens, making it an ideal public lighting solution at events and music festivals, or as an integral part of a creative set.

The idea came from Airstar’s light design workshops, and in particular from Jean-Pierre David, an industrial designer at Airstar. David began with concept of self-supporting inflatable structures and was inspired by everyday life: “It may sound odd, but the NEO concept could be described as a genesis of the Jedi lightsaber and my grandmother’s kitchen neon” he reflects. “Although relatively simple, it is truly unique in the marketplace: it creates extravagant and creative lighting effects. Event professionals can let their imaginations run free with the help of this fun and easy to use solution.”

NEO was successfully trialed at this year’s Solidays festival, a major music event in Parisian summer calendar which welcomes more than 200,000 punters over three days. In order to mark the 20th anniversary of the festival, the Solidarité Sida association once again called upon Airstar for its lighting needs.

Fifteen NEO were installed in the heart of the Solidays Club, a wooded area welcoming more than 2,000 people a day, located near the main stage “Paris”, the biggest festival stage in Europe this year. By deploying NEO, it was possible to overcome the sense of limited space due to the low height of the trees, while providing efficient, aesthetically-pleasing and glare-free lighting.

As a Solidaire partner of Solidays for the past ten years, Airstar works in close collaboration with the festival’s technical director, Raymond Lopez, who allowed the French manufacturer to use the festival again this year as a field test site for its latest inflatable lighting solution. Martin Leblon, the Paris based Airstar European Network (AEN) business event manager, presented the NEO concept to Lopez who then submitted the idea to Pleine Face’s founder and lighting designer Lorian Chauché, in charge of the Solidays Club lighting set.

“We were very impressed by NEO on several counts,” comments Chauché. “First of all, the product offers a powerful yet evenly spread light, while its elongated and linear shape provides an impression of lightness, which lent itself perfectly to the space that we wanted to highlight. Finally, the ease and speed with which it can be installed makes NEO an illuminating solution with great potential for live events but also integration into a set.

According to Martin Viennot, production manager for Solidarité Sida, “The Solidays Club was undoubtedly one of the most beautiful in the history of the festival: the opinions were unanimous both internally and from festival-goers, and Airstar has no doubt contributed to this success. NEO is perfect for events and festivals; we are happy to have been the first to use it. ”

The NEO range is already available via Airstar distributors and the Airstar network.