Vegas is dead. Long live the new “family-friendly” Vegas. Architectural Record briefly mentions a new “urban oasis” that may soon occupy the desert just outside of America’s Playground. Combining toy galleries, entertainment venues, landscaped gardens and children’s playgrounds, the project, dubbed “Senscity Paradise Universe” is designed by Stuttgart-based firm, Behnisch, Behnisch & Partner. (do you think “Partner” is someone’s name, or do you think that third partner wanted to remain anonymous?) The most dominant feature of the park is the series of 120 ft. tall flower-like structures, that “will have evaporating water on their leaves in order to cool the park’s air while creating downdraft airflows.” These awesome blosssoms may also potentially be fitted with energy collection devices and wind turbines to create a truly energy-effiecient micro environment. Overall, it looks like a great place to keep the wifre and kids while you’re busy losing money and marrying strippers.
The picture at right is the new $180 million Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil theatre, designed by British Architect Mark Fisher. Fisher has made a name for himself in the world of production/ stage design and has worked with such stars as Pink Floyd, U2, Robbie Williams, and Peter Gabriel. From a review at:Gabion:
Fisher’s playing surfaces don’t stay still. There are two big moving platforms, plus three vertical lifts. The main platform, “the big gravity-defying gizmo”, as he calls it, is 50 feet by 25 feet and weighs 50 tons. It can rise up and down, revolve, tilt. At one stomach-churning moment it moves completely vertically, changing from being a sandy beach to a cliff: in the process all the sand (actually cork granules) slides off into the abyss. When you look at the drawings, and see the kit that makes this possible, you know why the show costs so much.
After seeing an incredible performance of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” in Vienna, I’ve been thinking a lot about stage design. The set for The Magic Flute was very expressionistic, very modern, very, well…German. The entire story was told from within a dynamic, half-exploded, gridded cube…with costumes and props matching the set perfectly. Any desicription I give will never do it justice, it truly was the gesamtkunstwerk. Stage sets, with their necessary versatility, provide the designer with incredible opportunities to express a creativity that may not other-wise get expressed with traditional, more static, architecture. The potential exists for the designed stage to enhance the story, or highlight certain themes and ideas.
When done correctly, the affect can be overwhelming.