Coachella Art Installations Give Visitors A Unique World Of Architecture To Explore

Coachella weekend 1 was this past weekend, and one of the standout features of the festival, outside of its performers, is the art installations that appear annually. As weekend 2 quickly approaches, festival goers are looking forward to seeing the unique landscape of immersive installations.

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The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival kicked off last weekend, giving visitors a creative and unique immersive experience filled with colorful architecture and fun structures. The point of these installations is to give festival goers a multitude of multi-sensory explorations through light, color, and structure. 

Kumkum Fernando, Vincent Leroy, Güvenç Özel, and Maggie West are just some of the artists responsible for providing the sculptural pieces located throughout the entire Empire Polo Field at the festival. 

“Surprise encounters with these outsized projects in the middle of the valley, surrounded by music and the collective energy of the crowd has become a much-anticipated shared experience at the Festival, and some of the works have been woven into the archetypal imagery of Coachella,’ stated Paul Clemente, manager for the art program for the Festival. 

“The arts program has evolved significantly since inception and the participants, who come from around the world and from Southern California are well-respected in their fields, presenting extraordinary and thoughtful works in a setting where they can inspire, inform, and invite direct engagement with art and current social and cultural themes and ideas.” 

“In selecting projects from around the world, our intention is to bring together artists, architects and designers whose practices invite participation, inclusion, and transformation. We strive to create a multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural program that reflects our audience and the many performing artists that grace the stages of the festival. 

The resulting works will become icons — part of the identity of this year’s show. These installations act simultaneously as way-finding markers, points of congregation, and most importantly, accessible entry points for all show-goers to experience art,” stated Curatorial Advisor Raffi Lehrer. 

Kumkum Fernando spoke with Designboom regarding their art installations that were inspired by their heritage. 

“My installations at the festival draw a parallel resemblance to my previous sculptures of gods and robots. These new works are by far the biggest I have ever dreamt of making. The festival will showcase figurines, which I have created solely for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. The inspiration for these works comes from a combination of South Asian art/architecture, Hindu mythology, personal memories, as well as imagery of retro-futurism,” Fernando explained. 

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“My intention is not to force a connection between the past and the future, but rather to create a new world where they can coexist. I am not attempting to impose any particular meaning or message onto my work, but rather to explore the possibilities of combining different elements to create something entirely new and unique.”

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Vincent Leroy is another artist known for traveling to remote and unexplored parts of the world to inspire and reveal his artwork. For Coachella, the artist delivered an installation meant to give festive goers the chance to experience real and imagined spaces of our digital world. 

“My work is often based on movement and Molecular Cloud is a continuation of research and a subsequent project, Molecules, imagined in 2022. Inspired by the scientific universe and molecular structures, the idea for this series was to use movement to transform combinations of simple geometric shapes – spheres – into organic and more complex shapes. For the Coachella art program, the same module is repeated seven times, and the whole thing forms the appearance of a moving cloud floating above people’s heads,”  Leroy tells designboom

“I like my works to be part of the real world, while providing another perspective by adding a poetic or dreamlike dimension. This will also be the case for Coachella’s Molecular Cloud. 

From a distance, the installation evokes giant pink clouds floating in the air and from close up you can see the festival, the sky and the people reflected in the colored spheres. Furthermore, the augmented reality experience developed around the work with the Coachella team reinforces its dreamlike dimension and the idea of dialogue between reality and fiction,” he explained. 

The festival also encourages visitors to explore their own creativity through an initiative by Raices Cultura, an arts and culture nonprofit organization run by executive director Marnie Navarro. The organization will be recruiting and mentoring 20 young artists who live in the East Valley cities of Coachella, Indio, Mecca, Thermal, and La Quinta to form an artist’s cohort working together to build an art instillation for the festival.