Co.Design

Coldplay Sucks, But How Awesome Is Their Light Show?

You could go to a Coldplay concert, just for the virtual trip of pulsating pyramids and crazy glowing people.

Say what you will about the inspiration rock of Coldplay, you hard-hearted, dubstep-loving bastards. No matter how you feel about their music, these concert visualizations, developed by Universal Everything and PixelKid out of massive LED walls are innovative projection mapping, are objectively awesome. It’s a fact beyond discussion or argument. It simply is. “With Coldplay, we wanted all out sensory overload, multicoloured emotions hitting you in the face amplified the power of their music,” Universal Everything founder Matt Pyke tells Co.Design. “We are very [also] interested in exploring the tension between abstract and human--adding anthropomorphism to sculptural forms to bring things alive.”

In practice, this means Universal Everything projected a massive multimedia pyramid over the stage at Glastonbury in 2011--they were, in fact, the first company to projection-map this remarkable architectural space that, yes, was shaped like a pyramid to begin with. PixelKid was responsible for the animated circles you see in our lead shot. (Meanwhile, several other studios handled the work with lighting and set design.)

But my favorite component of Coldplay’s tour work had to be Fuzzyman. He’s basically an amorphous digital being, with flesh of bright light shining in an ever-shifting array of shape and color. “We created the walking man first as a 'mascot’ for the tour, which then evolved into a running, flying and somersaulting man--full of costume changes, choreographed to the music,” writes Pyke. With each step Fuzzyman takes, you have no clue what he’ll transform into next…just that you probably haven’t seen anything quite like it before.

The end effect is Skittles for your eyes, pulverized into digital Pixy Stix made of electricity. Your retinas will grow warm, maybe even steam a bit between syrupy blinks. But what do you expect? This is Rock n’ Roll, man. Well…I mean…it’s Coldplay, but still.