U2 began its 360 world tour last night in Barcelona, and yeah, Bono and those guys are rock stars and they sell out stadiums, we get it. Nonetheless, the real star of the show is the massive stage–we saw a sneak peek of it last week–designed by Hoberman Associates; Innovative Designs, which specializes in stage architecture; and Buro Happold, a structural engineering firm.
You’ve actually probably played with Hoberman Associate’s most famous project–the company was founded by inventor Chuck Hoberman, who designed the famed Hoberman Sphere, the collapsable toy you can find in toy (and design) stores worldwide.
The new U2 stage bears Hoberman’s unmistakable signature: The centerpiece, suspended from a massive claw, is a massive video display made of 888 individual tiny LED screens. It’s seven stories tall, covers 3,800 square feet and weighs 60 tons. But it moves nonetheless, changing shape during the performance. A little bit like a Chinese finger trap, it envelops the band as it extends, while displaying short films direted by artist Catherine Owens:
The design is based on the Iris Dome, an expanding structure that Hoberman has experimented with over the years.