​francis kéré’s coachella installation comprises 12 colorful towers

architect ​francis kéré is one a number of creatives bringing their talents to the colorado desert for the annual coachella festival. as part of the event, which this year celebrates its 20th anniversary, a number of specially-commissioned, large-scale, sculptural installations have been created, as well as a series of immersive, multimedia experiences that embrace the visual arts, fashion, and architectural practice.

francis kere coachella
kéré’s installation comprises 12 colorful towers
image by lance gerber, courtesy of coachella (also main image)

 

 

the coachella valley music and arts festival, commonly referred to as coachella, has featured a diverse program of artist installations since its inception in 1999. the works, by artists from around the world, combine to create a ‘pop-up city’ that can be enjoyed by the festival’s temporary community. the installations act as landmarks to help map and navigate the field, serving as gathering points, as well as places for respite and shelter away from the desert heat.

francis kere coachella
the structures reference the baobab trees of burkina faso
image by lance gerber, courtesy of coachella

 

 

francis kéré’s installation comprises 12 colorful towers that reference the baobab trees of his native west african village of gando, burkina faso. ‘in my culture, the baobab is the most important tree,’ explains kéré. ‘it’s giant, and it has multiple uses as food and medicine. it’s the place where you get together, celebrate, and discuss. it also attracts animals. it is spiritual. naturally you will walk toward it.’

francis kere coachella
the project is titled ‘sarbalé ke’, a phrase that translates as ‘house of celebration’
image by lance gerber, courtesy of coachella

 

 

the project is titled ‘sarbalé ke’, a phrase that means ‘house of celebration’ in kéré’s native tongue. the structures, some of which are taller than 60 feet (18 meters), have been rendered in joyful colors, while their shadows provide valuable shaded spaces. light is another important component. ‘in my culture where there is no light, no electricity, if we see a light we watch it for a while,’ kéré continues. ‘if it stays illuminated we walk toward it, and there will be a celebration.’

francis kere coachella
some of the towers soar higher than 60 feet (18 meters)
image by lance gerber, courtesy of coachella


coachella is celebrating its 20th anniversary
image by lance gerber, courtesy of coachella


the ‘pop-up city’ can be enjoyed by the festival’s temporary community
image by lance gerber, courtesy of coachella


shadows provide valuable shaded spaces
image by lance gerber, courtesy of coachella


the structures have been rendered in joyful colors
image by lance gerber, courtesy of coachella


the layout of the 12 colorful towers
image courtesy of kéré architecture

 

 

project info:

 

title: sarbalé ke, ‘the house of celebration’
location: coachella, indio, USA
type of project: large scale art installation
size: 200 sqm (2,153 sqf)
design: september 2018 – december 2018 (beginning – end)
construction: january 2019 – april 2019 (beginning – end)
status: completed

 

architect: francis kéré — kéré architecture, berlin, germany
design team: johanna lehmann, kinan deeb, andrea zaia, andrea maretto — kéré architecture, berlin, germany
contributors: n’faly ismaël camara, olani ewunnet — kéré architecture, berlin, germany
project management: johanna lehmann (kéré architecture), raffi lehrer (goldenvoice)
client: goldenvoice, los angeles, california, united states
construction: goldenvoice, los angeles, california, united states
project management: raffi lehrer, associate art director, goldenvoice, los angeles
structural engineer: kyle morris

philip stevens I designboom

apr 15, 2019