Populous’ spherical arena, the MSG Sphere, opens in Las Vegas

The MSG Sphere, presented as “living architecture” and covered by screens inside and out, opened its doors with a series of U2 concerts and an incredible set and lighting design.

The MSG Sphere in Las Vegas – completed in July – hosted its first event: a U2 concert with images created by John Gerrard, Marco Brambilla, and the set designer Es Devlin on a curved screen of 15 thousand square meters. Designed by architecture firm Populous, the Sphere is the world’s largest spherical structure. Covered almost completely inside and outside by huge LED screens, it houses a 76-meter high screen that wraps more than 180 degrees around the viewer creating a truly immersive experience.

The works shown during the concert took inspiration from the environment and culture of Nevada and were developed in collaboration with the band and Willie Williams, its long-standing creative director, conceiving the entire project as a group artwork. In addition, U2 performed on stage based on a design by Brian Eno, realized by British architecture firm Stufish and resembling a giant light-up turntable. Scenography videos immediately went viral with millions of likes on social media.

The project certainly offers an incredible experience, but it also has dark sides. If Las Vegas is probably one of the best places to build such a project, it is not said that other cities are able to assimilate it. In London, for example, due to several problems related to the project’s light impact on the urban environment, and a collection of 852 signatures opposed to its realization, the idea of creating the Sphere was temporarily put on standby.

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