McLaren, KA accept award for Outstanding Achievement

McLaren Engineering Group provided structural and mechanical design services for this Gantry Crane.

The 15-ton structure slides, glides and rotates. Able to move 70 feet in 40 seconds, the massive synthesis of motor and metal defies gravity while creating a spectacle that leaves audiences awestruck.

It truly is a sight to see.

Owing to three years of unimaginable physical display, Cirque du Soleil’s “KA” Floating Stage was honored in the entertainment engineering industry’s highest regard: the Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement (AOA) in Technology. Using structural engineering provided by the McLaren Engineering Group, the Stage has been a cornerstone of the KA performance at MGM Grand Las Vegas since 2005 and has raised the bar in theater technology.

McLaren Engineering Division Chief William B. Gorlin, who accepted the award on March 8 at the 14th Annual Thea Awards Gala at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, credited the Cirque du Soleil team and British architect Mark Fisher with conceptualizing the award-winning Stage.

“It is one thing to dream up interesting ideas,” Gorlin said, “but it takes true vision, teamwork and passion to conceive innovative ideas that can be made to work in the real world where Newton’s Laws of physics govern.”

McLaren, who provided structural and mechanical design for the Tatami Deck and the Gantry Lift (and the Lift’s Sand/Cliff Deck), accepts the Thea Award as a result of its extraordinary foresight in bringing the Stage to life. Using hydraulic technology, the Lift travels 70 feet vertically, from the pit to above audience level, while rotating its 25-by-50-by-6 performance platform from level to a 100° forward tilt.

The Tatami Deck, meanwhile, presents its 30’x30’ performance platform by traveling 48 feet, 6 inches from its stored position to its play position using a two-stage mechanism similar to a drawer slide.

The affect of the stage’s animation: the structures are as much a part of the show as the performers.