Music festivals are a significant part of any city’s culture and identity, not just in drawing in crowds of cash-rich tourists, but in unifying the communities that live there permanently. There are festivals that stand the test of time while others become old-fashioned or obsolete. Some transform and adapt to become new expressions of communality, and architecture - both permanent and temporary - has long been a key aspect of the festival space.

Inflatable pavilion, Roskilde Music Festival

The Danish firm BIG unveiled their huge inflatable pavilion for the 2016 Roskilde Festival, a bulbous white structure that created a 120 square metre canopy across the VIP bar for the Danish brewing company, Tuborg.

The inflatable pavilion was designed to remind guests at the Roskilde Music Festival of the bouncey castles of their childhood. Image source

Named Skum - the Danish word for foam - the aim of the architecture firm was to remind visitors of the inflatable castles of their childhoods.

“The idea of ​​using a bouncy castle came about because one can create any kind of structure with this type of material," said Jakob Lange, a partner at BIG's Copenhagen office. “The process of inflating and deflating the castle is easy. Producing it turned out to be much more difficult though than we had initially expected," he added.

The pavilion was inflated and installed in less than seven minutes, and was lit with colour-changing LED lights that allowed the structure to constantly change in appearance.

The pavilion would change colours throughout the event, drawing attention to the festival’s VIP area. Image source

BIG was commissioned to create the mobile structure for three Danish institutions. As well as the Tuborg Brewery, it will be used by the Chart Art Fair and the ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum.

Crown Ether, Coachella

Brooklyn-based artist Olalekan Jeyifous designed the Crown Ether, a community on columns reaching up towards the sky. The piece explores the relationship between the terrestrial and the sublime according to the artist, taking its name from the cyclic compound molecules that cluster in the form of a ring.

Featured at the world-famous Coachella festival in California, the Crown Ether was design by Brooklyn-based artist Olalekan Jeyifous. Image source

Jeyifous, who spent some of his childhood in Ile-Ife, Nigeria, trained as an architect and designer, and even spent time as an Artist-in Residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts in California, and the Visible Futures Lab at the School of Visual Arts in New York.

Jeyifous describes the Crown Ether on the Coachella website as a “a variant on a conventional tree house that represents a coming together of people around the music and the arts.”

Inspired by science and the esoteric, the Crown Ether fits in perfectly at Coachella. Image source

Lift tower, Lowlands Music Festival

Created by Dutch designer Dennis Parren, this 18-metre-high light installation was created for the Lowlands music festival in The Netherlands. Constructed from a metal scaffolding framework, the Lift tower is covered in evenly-spaced steel cables and triangular fabric panels.

The Lift tower was built as a central meeting point for the Lowlands music festival. Image source

Acting as a central meeting point for the three-day festival that draws in crowds of up to 48,000 people, the Lift tower features a computer-controlled platform in the centre of the structure. Four LEDs were used to generate over 1,000 watts of light that moved up and down the middle of the tower to create a hypnotic light and shadow effect on the external panels.

Designed to be safe, dramatic, yet easily assembled, the Lift tower came with it’s own set of challenges. Image source

Construction of the tower took approximately a week, and came with its own set of specific challenges according to Parren, such as the safety of festival guests and its resistance to weather conditions.

"The LED platform had to able to move, be rigged very precisely, be programmable, calibrated to the structure, and emit enough light to ensure that we would have sharp coloured shadows on the banners," the designer explained in Dezeen. "We've tested this in our studio beforehand, as finding bright lights isn't a problem, but creating sharp coloured shadows is."

Irish Cult Music Festival

Despite its comparatively small size, Ireland has had a monumental influence on the world’s music scene. And now more than ever, it’s important to foster that tradition by increasing the rural community’s access to live music venues.

In collaboration with the longstanding Irish music venue Connolly’s of Leap, Buildner are calling for submissions for a restoration and expansion of the iconic destination with their Irish Cult Music Venue competition. Participants will need to respect the venue’s 227-year history in their designs, while making full use of their creativity to envision an iconic venue that could breath life back into the live music scene.


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