Groupe F is one of the most famous fireworks theaters in the world. It is known for its spectacular open-air performances as well as its enormous pyrotechnic displays.
photo by Thierry Navy
Groupe F is one of the most famous fireworks theaters in the world. It is known for its spectacular open-air performances as well as its enormous pyrotechnic displays over such landmarks as the Eiffel Tower, London’s Big Ben, and the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
This year, the artists in Groupe F are preparing to descend upon the Słodowa Island, where they will hold parallel performances specially prepared for the European Culture Congress. The new show is inspired by the historic part of Wrocław, which is scattered among verdant islands linked by bridges. To the artists, the architecture and character of this place evoked associations with the idea of democracy. The performance will therefore take place on several planes, symbolizing the separation between the private and that which is shared and public.
Groupe F produces more than just its own shows ― it actually builds all the equipment used in their performances. “We invent and make everything ourselves, even the fireworks launchers and the flame machines. Aside from computers, none of our equipment is available on the market,” says Eric Travers, one of the leaders of the group.
Groupe F was founded in 1990 by pyrotechnics visionary Christophe Berthonneau and Eric Noel, an inventor of elaborate tools and stage machinery. Their debut show was titled “Bird of Fire".
It now numbers over forty members, including actors, musicians, graphic artists, directors, and architects. They have performed on every continent, dazzling audiences with fire-filled shows and spectacular fireworks displays. The group is best known for its New Year’s Eve illumination of the Eiffel Tower and fireworks show in 1999/2000, the fireworks display at the Stade de France at the 1998 World Cup, the closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games in Barcelona, the pyrotechnic displays on Björk’s 1998 world tour, shows celebrating the 700th anniversary of the city of Bilbao and the inauguration of the Millennium Bridge over the Thames, the illumination of Big Ben in London, and the opening of the Burj Dubai.
Groupe F is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of pyrotechnic equipment. The group’s members design most of their own fireworks. Their headquarters are located in East Asia, but the keep their fireworks stockpiled in Morocco.
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