Take the stage

United Visual Artists designer Ben Kreukniet has just hit the pillow when we call. He’s been up all night putting the finishing touches to the main stage of Coachella, one of the biggest music festivals on the international circuit.


UVA was invited to design the stage by The Creators Project, a joint Vice Magazine and Intel initiative.

Working to an open brief, only environmental factors have tempered their ambitious design. Located on arid plains just east of Los Angeles, extreme daytime heat and whipping winds are a constant at Coachella.

The stage design will be unveiled today as the festival opens, a monolithic and modular structure, made up of repeated geometric cubes – which together form one cube, sort of.

‘A closed front wouldn’t work because of the wind,’ says Kreukniet. Instead ‘sliding doors, hide and reveal the front of the stage,’ he adds.

Light trickery with LEDs and moving stage lights will further open up and close off sections of the stage, ‘so it can speak to the audience,’ Kreukniet says.

And speak it will, through a five minute sequenced sound and light show, which will play out to the audiences before the headliners take the stage each day.

There’ll be ‘a few additional things’ a groggy Kreukniet teases for Arcade Fire, Interpol and Animal Collective’s shows. A reconfiguring of those 2m square cubes maybe.

Miles van der Rohe architecture, composition studies of De Stiji and geometric studies of Theo van Doesburg are the inspiration.

All this makes for a future gazing vision as conceived from by-gone decades. We’re told it all looks rather sci-fi on the ground and with these beams shining out – especially given the desert location – probably a bit Area 51.

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