A see through squash court had the crowd’s attention even when there was no match being played on it at Express Avenue

Nigel Holbrough had a job on his hands. He had to make the glass floor of the see-through portable squash court, installed at Express Avenue mall for the recent under-21 world cup, come alive with LEDs but also ensure the glitter did not distract the players. “This assignment is very different from what I do regularly,” admitted Holbrough, a freelance lighting designer based out of Dubai. He has travelled around the world installing and managing lights at discotheques, rock and roll concerts, car launches and sports ceremonies, including IPL opening and closing ceremonies, but the challenge at Express Avenue was fresh and stimulating.

A matrix of LEDs at his command, Holbrough was making cautious moves on the floor while the players were in action. Whenever they vacated the glass court for a break, Holbrough's fingers moved briskly around the lighting consoles and wove extravagant patterns on the unoccupied floor.

“The idea is to keep the shoppers glued to the court. There is nothing to look at during a break, and that's when they drift off,” explained Holbrough. He knew the World Squash Federation is engaged in an all-out effort to woo spectators to the sport, and he was giving his best.

Holbrough was not alone. Rudolf Kaimalis and Zlatko Sabo from ASB Germany worked alongside this designer to create a unique viewing experience. The two have installed portable glass courts for WSF tournaments at various parts of the world, but the effort at Express Avenue mall was unparalleled.

“This is the first time a glass floor with LEDs is being installed for a squash tournament,” says Rudolf. Thanks to the additional work, these German engineers spent twice the amount of time it usually takes to install a portable glass court with a regular floor.

“Installations of portable courts at malls and at natural settings such as hills pose challenges. To give just one instance, we had to battle a cobra while putting up a portable court at a hill in Hyderabad. For a level ground, we erected a platform. A cobra slithered in and took shelter under the platform. After a lot of commotion and panic, we managed to draw the snake out,” recalled Zlatko.

“When a portable court is installed braving huge difficulties, the sense of achievement is deep and lasting,” said Rudolf. “This glass floor LED-lit installation at Express Avenue mall is something we'll always be proud of.”

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