Stage design has evolved far beyond a simple elevated platform and attractive backdrop. The past year has seen some of the most innovative, unusual staging ideas, from a star-shaped platform at a resort opening in Dubai to an emoji design at a conference in Orlando to 300,000 crystals lining an award-show stage in Los Angeles. Here are some of the most interesting, original stage designs for conferences, concerts, award shows, and more.

1. New York, New York End of Year Party

For a recent end of year function, we created a “Times Square”-themed ballroom, which showed distinctive visuals and videos reminiscent of those on display in Times Square on the paneled LED screens surrounding the stage, while colourful lights pulsed with vibrancy.

2. Doritos SXSW

To draw attention to its latest tortilla chip flavor, Doritos built a structure that was designed to look like a giant vending machine, dubbed the “Jacked Stage,” at South by Southwest in March.

3. 89th Annual Academy Awards 2017

For the 89th annual Academy Awards the stage design featured more than 300,000 Swarovski crystals. Eleven Oscar-shaped figures featuring nearly 150,000 crystals served as a focal point.

4. Spirit of Life Award Gala

City of Hope, a nonprofit cancer treatment and research center, held its Spirit of Life award gala in November in Los Angeles. The event had a sunset beach theme with blue, yellow, and pink tones. Rising from the stage was a series of oversize panels hung from the ceiling, creating the overall effect of a setting sun.

5. IBM Impact Conference

With some 18,000 people attending the IBM Impact Conference, event organizers chose to create a multi-dimensional set with a series of screens layered across the stage. Organizers assigned each conference topic a color. So, with this creative corporate stage design, it was possible to transform the set with lighting and on-screen imagery in the designated color for each topic. This is high-energy multimedia at its best!

6. In Good Company Conference

For the In Good Company Conference, the overall design combines living room-like comfort with elements of nature – a breath of fresh air. Beautiful greenery disguises the front and sides of the black stage and helps to create a sense of happiness and balance. The furniture invokes a sense of intimacy, which is a perfect tie into both the conference name and purpose – for creative entrepreneurs who are women and mothers to connect with each other.

 

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7. Dubai Islamic Bank Gala Dinner

This is the perfect example of creating a theme with corporate stage design. Lighting, screens and 3D objects were all used as features that, when combined, resembled a galaxy with a night sky and a central planet with rings. The brilliant lighting across each step reflects that of the rings, while also directing attention to the stage. The lighting beams projecting outward from the stage create a feeling of inclusivity – that attendees are really part of what is happening on stage.

 

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8. Microsoft EDU Keynote

During a Microsoft EDU keynote, illustrator Hyesu Lee created an illustration using the Microsoft Surface Pro. It was shown live on a screen which became the backdrop for the session. Because of this colorful and attention-grabbing backdrop, it was essential that the rest of the corporate stage design didn’t compete for the audience’s attention.

 

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9. VH1 Hip Hop Honors Event

For its annual Hip Hop Honors event, held in Los Angeles in September, VH1 transformed a Paramount Studios street into 1990s-era Brooklyn. A main stage with custom-designed graffiti meant to evoke the era was created; the artwork was temporarily attached to buildings with vinyl stickers.

10. ASU GSV Summit

At the ASU GSV Summit the main stage had an interesting three-dimensional design. Pieces of vinyl-wrapped foam hung from the ceiling and were mounted to the flat vinyl backdrop to give it the effect.

11. Hillsong Colour Conference

Flat, box screens won’t surprise your audience, but a pyramid shape can.

Bonus: Other Stage Designs We’re Loving

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