A rendering of the projections.
Photo: Refik Anadol Studio

Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall to Get Dazzling Transformation

Mesmerizing digital projections by Refik Anadol will mark the L.A. Philharmonic's new season

The Frank Gehry–designed Walt Disney Concert Hall, home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, will light up later this month, when colorful images are to be projected on to the building’s stainless-steel exterior.

Istanbul-born artist Refik Anadol created the original imagery by using pictures, videos, and audio from more than 150,000 of the philharmonic’s concerts and turning it into mapped data points. Anadol then reimagined the numbers as vibrant and compelling graphics that instantly transform the famous structure into a massive public art installation.

A rendering of the projections. Photo: Refik Anadol Studio

The idea of projecting onto the concert hall’s exterior was part of Gehry’s early ideas for the building. The Pritzker Prize–winning architect tested multiple types of steel, ultimately selecting the material that he thought would be the best surface for projections. Gehry even hoped that the concert happening inside the structure might be shown on the outside of the building in real time.

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That idea “got shot down,” Gehry revealed in a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times. “It was thought that was offering people who couldn’t afford it to see it secondhand, and that was a demeaning thing. That was brought up by important people in the county.”

A rendering of the projections. Photo: Refik Anadol Studio

This is the third time that Anadol has used Gehry’s architecture as a canvas. The multimedia artist created a 3-D abstract sculpture using projections for the philharmonic’s June 2018 performance of Das Paradies und die Peri. The Los Angeles–based artist also collaborated with the L.A. Philharmonic in 2014, when he created a site-specific video installation that was projected inside the concert hall during a performance of Edgard Varese’s Amériques as part of a series called “in/SIGHT.”

The Los Angeles Philharmonic performance of Das Paradies und die Peri with 3-D sculptural projections by Refik Anadol overhead at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in June 2018. Photo: Gina Ferazzi

He’s dubbed this new installation “WDCH Dreams.”

The temporary installation will celebrate the beginning of a new season for the Los Angeles Philharmonic and will decorate the building nightly from 7:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., from September 27 to October 6.

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