Stage Design Inspiration
When planning an event, stage design ideas need to be carefully considered to make sure that attendees are engaged and impressed by the presentation of proceedings.
To work out what stage designs will make the biggest impact, it makes sense to look at head-turning examples from the recent past. Here are just 8 stage designs for events that are still talked about today.
Xbox Press Conference at E3 2018
Microsoft’s promotional efforts at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in 2018 were more focused and intensive than in many previous years. A huge number of new games were presented to a 6000-strong crowd of industry insiders and attention also turned to the Xbox One X, the world’s most powerful games console.
The stage design ideas leveraged to emphasise the importance of the conference were compartmentalised, angular and multi-layered. This contrasted completely with the sleek curves and aquatic blues of Sony’s rival PlayStation event.
The vast main display, rimmed with light bars and echoed with other impressive illumination effects to frame the stage, was able to draw the eye. Banks of smaller screens set up with row after row of Xbox One X consoles were also present onstage, with green underlighting contrasted against the pure white of the logos plastered liberally throughout.
Brit Awards 2017
While the Xbox press conference might have impressed some viewers, anyone who had watched the Brit Awards a year earlier might have noticed some interesting similarities in the stage design cues.
Angular lighting arrays, sporting liberal use of whites and some intriguing forced perspective techniques, defined the staging of the show in 2017. Display panels arranged in order to create a vanishing point effect helped to keep the eyes of the audience on the centre of the stage, making sure that stars like Ed Sheran were not dwarfed by the sheer scale of the venue itself.
Mercedes Safety Car Launch 2010
First appearing at the Geneva Motor Show, German automaker Mercedes-Benz pulled back the curtains on its latest Formula One safety car in front of the world’s media with an event that put its design perks front and centre.
Staged on a wooden floor, the car itself was present and correct, its gull-wing doors open as if it was about to take flight. Sitting on a circular rotating platform, it was possible to pirouette the vehicle and give attendees a view of it from all angles.
As with the clever stage design ideas used at the Brit Awards, the architecture of the backdrop for this event was arranged to pull the eye of the observer downwards and inwards, towards the Mercedes-Benz spokesperson and the celebrity hosts. Simple blue and white lighting, along with a large format display and signage advertising the efficiency of the safety car, completed the classy, professional look.
So far the stage designs discussed have occupied large arenas and conference centres, but innovation is still possible in smaller spaces, as evidenced by UP Global.
When space is limited, it makes sense to work laterally rather than deploying the depth of the stage. UP Global used a wide banner, emblazoned with a repeating design with green and teal arrows blended with photography, to emphasise its forward-thinking ethos and approachability.
The inclusion of a desk bearing its logo, alongside a separate area for speakers to stand and deliver their addresses, kept things simple yet made effective use of the area on offer.
The Academy Awards 2010
Stewarded by David Rockwell, the stage design for the Oscars in 2010 was carefully pitched to harness the benefits of modern technologies while still harking back to the traditional origins of the event itself.
The arched aspect of the stage allowed for a glittering lighting installation to drip like a string of diamonds from the upper reaches, framing the host and presenters at the Academy Awards in a suitably glitzy fashion. Switching between icy blues and glamorous golds at the drop of a hat, this flexibility afforded a lot more variety than might otherwise be expected from such a well-established event.
In this instance, the designer also had to take into account how elements of his staging would be factored into other parts of the premises. The theme was kept consistent throughout the Kodak Theatre, ensuring that guests felt like they were going on a cohesive journey rather than walking straight in from an irrelevant exterior.
Google I/O Conference 2015
Once again working laterally, yet taking this to a level appropriate for one of the world’s largest companies, Google’s stage design for its 2015 I/O Conference wrapped right around the audience on three sides and was made up almost entirely of synchronised display panels.
The results were suitably impressive, with each screen able to showcase the speakers and the products they were discussing effectively so that observers in all parts of the room did not miss out on any key details.
Aesthetically, things were kept fairly simple, with no over the top lighting effects. Instead, the visuals focused on products and services in an unfussy way that was appropriate for the industry-oriented nature of the event itself. That does not detract from the fact that the A/V achievements of the conference were impressive in their own right, especially on a technical level.
Paradox: The Art Of Technology
Bathed in blues, adorned with white-rimmed stairs and seemingly constructed from an amorphous framework of angled displays, the staging of Paradox: The Art Of Technology certainly managed to live up to the name of the event.
The stage itself was not elevated a significant degree above the seating area, meaning that it needed to have a healthy dose of ingenuity in its design to maintain the focus of the room. Including imagery focusing on circuitry as part of the background displays allowed organisers to reassert the event’s intentions without spelling it out overtly.
Chevrolet Stage Design 2015
Once again sitting at the more compact end of the spectrum in terms of venue size, this event hosted by US car manufacturer Chevrolet over in Bali was a design triumph thanks to the way that the aesthetics of the staging were reflected throughout the room.
A central video screen was surrounded by a backdrop that made inventive use of the company’s logo, reflecting, refracting and dismantling it to impress observers and also keep their heads pointed towards the speaker’s podium in the middle.
Gold detailing on the stairs up to the stage was also echoed in the lighting of the room as well as the decorations applied to the chairs and tables that attendees occupied. Tying everything together in this way makes the most of any stage designs, allowing ideas to flourish and flow throughout the venue.
In this instance the staging also took into account an area for musicians, setting this off to the side and keeping drums and keyboards at a lower level than the rest of the presentation area. Such a setup is clearly desirable because it means that musical accompaniment can be provided life, without the players pulling focus. Balancing the audio of an arrangement like this creates its own challenges, but the stage design handled the aesthetic aspects appropriately.