THEY’RE one of the world’s biggest bands - and they’ve been wowing audiences across the globe with the help of a Sheffield firm.
Rock group Coldplay are currently in the middle of a world tour promoting their latest album, Mylo Xyloto, and the group have brought the record’s psychedelic cover artwork to life with a brightly-coloured stage set.
At the centre of the stage design are a row of ‘flowers’ made from innovative neon wires provided by Millhouses-based company Surelight, the only company in the UK to supply the technology.
The flowers light up in time with the music, glowing pink, yellow, orange, blue and purple, and were also seen by a television audience of 13 million during last weekend’s X Factor final at London’s O2 Arena, as well as a huge crowd at this summer’s Glastonbury Festival.
Ryan Heald, from Surelight, said he thought the stage show was ‘very impressive’, adding: “We thought it was amazing to see one of our products being used in such a way.”
The glowing neon lights were created using the firm’s electroluminescent wire, a thin copper cable coated in a phosphor which glows when an alternating current is applied to it. The wire is lit by a battery power pack and uses little energy.
It has also been used in films such as Batman Begins, and by other music artists including Kylie Minogue and Franz Ferdinand, as well as forming part of a kit designed to make bicycles stand out to motorists in the dark.
Ryan said Coldplay started using Surelight’s products when they hired a set design company called Specialz to bring their ideas to life.
“They had the colours in mind and we supplied them with the lights to suit their design,” he said, adding Coldplay put in a bumper order to make their X Factor appearance extra special.
“We knew something was coming up because we had a big order a couple of weeks beforehand, but we didn’t realise it was going to be used on the show - there’s no way of proving it but we believe they put in an order for the show.”
Ryan said Surelight, led by managing director Paul Lancaster, has been supplying the neon wire since its launch in 1999.
“We’re the only company in the UK that retail this particular product,” he said.
“There’s nothing else that looks like EL wire does. It’s mobile so it’s easy to move around from place to place. There’s no other product that does the same job.”
Ryan added: “It’s good to see something that you’ve worked with go from being an idea to coming into reality.”
Anyone who missed the X Factor final will have plenty of chance to see Surelight’s flowers - Coldplay’s mammoth tour extends into next September, with nearly 50 dates still to come covering Europe, North America and Asia.
Surelight’s parent company Olmec also has businesses in the fields of ceramic materials, diamond tools and components.