architensions takes to coachella to create a 'playground' installation in the desert

architensions takes to coachella to create a 'playground' installation in the desert

an architectural playground in southern california


At this weekend’s opening of Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, eleven installations transformed the vast desert site into a playful new landscape. With the colossal pieces ranging from of sculpture to architecture, one work creates a colorful space of leisure and play — ‘The Playground’ was designed by the team at Architensions to merge the urban piazza with the vibrancy of Southern California. 


The design and research office is led by Alessandro Orsini and Nick Roseboro, whose studio is headquartered between Brooklyn and Rome.

coachella architensionsimage © Julian Bajsel | @jbajsel



the modular towers by architensions


With the Playground, Architensions (see more here) brings urbanity to the desertous Coachella Valley with a colorful gesture. The studio creates a vertical city fragment, responding to the single-story suburban sprawl throughout the surrounding context. 


The design of the installation is informed by the history of leisure, which the team investigated in depth. along with the broader human interaction with architecture. organized into a modular grid framework, the project takes shape as a grouping of four steel-framed towers, ranging from 42 to 56 feet in height and linked by sky-bridges.

architensions takes to coachella to create a 'playground' installation in the desertimage © michael vahrenwald / ESTO



reflecting the colors of coachella


At Coachella (see more here), Architensions builds each of The Playground’s four towers as a stack of geometric shapes. These block modules are playful and unique in their form and color, and are finished in a dichroic film in either cyan, magenta, or yellow. The bold hues bathe the surrounding area in color as the sun shines through them. Meanwhile, other modules are finished in a mirrored surface to festival-goers to interact with them. At night, these mirrored blocks glow with the light of the surrounding performances and activities of the event.

coachella architensionsimage © Lance Gerber | @lance.gerber



a piazza for play in the desert


The design of Architensions’ The Playground creates an urban piazza for the Coachella Valley. This 174-by-104-foot public square marks the intersection of the four towers and introduces a semi-enclosed space where visitors can rest. Magenta and yellow are employed along the vertical grid while the piazza is demarcated in cyan. 


The installation is designed with influence from Constant Nieuwenhuys’s New Babylon, a city of ‘improvisation, chances, and play as a critical alternative to the burdens imposed by production.’ The assemblage references urban spaces of leisure including piazzas, theaters, and arcades — all organized into a vertical grid, an orderly new urban landscape. 


Orsini elaborates: ‘In an analogy with Aldo Rossi’s ‘Il teatro del Mondo,’ The Playground creates an environment similar to a theater, in which people can interact in a sort of performance. It provides an opportunity to experience a leisure space without the use of technology, simply by interacting with the space and its materiality. The user is at the same time a spectator and performer.’

architensions takes to coachella to create a 'playground' installation in the desert
image © michael vahrenwald / ESTO

coachella architensions
image © Lance Gerber


image © Lance Gerber

architensions takes to coachella to create a 'playground' installation in the desert
image © Lance Gerber


image © michael vahrenwald / ESTO

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