MSG Sphere ‘exo’tic Exosphere glow in grandeur


MSG Sphere in Las Vegas on the road to opening date Image: Sphere Entertainment

Visuals of fireworks and the moon were among those to illuminate the MSG Sphere in Las Vegas (US) as it was lit up to celebrate the Fourth of July.

‘dezeen’ stated that the 54,000-square-meter LED screen, the largest of its kind, was emblazoned as part of a special show before its official opening in September.

The 18,600-capacity MSG Sphere at The Venetian Resort is a spherical music and entertainment arena in Paradise, Nevada, near the Las Vegas Strip and East of the Venetian Resort (US). The project was announced by the Madison Square Garden Company in 2018, and construction was underway the following year. It is scheduled for September 2023 opening.

Built to host concert events, the Las Vegas structure will have capacity for tens of thousands of people and is reported to have cost $2bn (£1.6bn) to construct. It has been built by the Sphere Entertainment Company in partnership with the sports powerhouse Madison Square Garden Entertainment.

US-based the Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corporation is an American entertainment holding company based in New York City. The company was established in 2020 when The Madison Square Garden Company spun off its non-sports assets as an independent, publicly-traded company.

Independence Day, known colloquially as the Fourth of July, is a Federal holiday in the United States commemorating the Declaration of Independence, which was ratified by the Second Continental Congress on July 4th, 1776, establishing the United States of America.

‘dezeen’ further stated that described as “living architecture”, the MSG Sphere is designed by the architecture studio Populous for the company behind New York’s Madison Square Garden (MSG).

Kansas City, Missouri (US)-based Populous is a global architectural and design practise specializing in sports facilities, arenas and convention centers, as well as the planning and design of major special events.

Once complete, it will host live entertainment and concerts while showcasing a wide range of visual content across its exterior. While breaking records for its vast LED screen, which is named the Exosphere, it is also the world’s largest spherical building.

Said Guy Barnett, MSG Sphere Senior Vice-President, “The Exosphere is more than a screen or a billboard – it is living architecture, and unlike anything that exists anywhere in the world. Last night’s (July 4th) show provided a glimpse of the Exosphere’s captivating power and the possibilities for artistes, partners and brands to create compelling and impactful stories to connect with audiences in new ways.”

The special Independence Day show began with a graphic reading Hello World, which had been captured by passersby earlier in the week when tests were run on the screen.

This was followed by a variety of striking animations ranging from colorful fireworks and underwater scenes to visuals of stars and lunar surfaces.

Reflected MSG Sports Chief Operating Officer David Hopkinson, “Sphere’s Exosphere is a 360-degree canvas for brand storytelling that will be seen around the world. The extraordinary experiences we can create are only limited by imagination, and we’re thrilled to finally share with the world the spectacular potential of the Exosphere.”

The Exosphere is formed of approximately 1.2 million pucks, which each contain 48 individual LEDs that can display 256 million different colors.

It will have a capacity of 20,000 people, including 17,600 seats and a further 2,400 standing spaces. The Irish rock band U2 is set to be the first band to play there when it opens in September.

While the building is designed by Populous, its screen has been developed by the immersive content studio Sphere Studio with LED specialist SACO Technologies. The Fourth of July display was developed by Sphere Studios’ in-house creative team.

The MSG Sphere Studios opened in Burbank, California (US) in May 2022. The facility handles production and post-production work for the Las Vegas Sphere and future spheres. The MSG Sphere Studios sought to collaborate with filmmakers and musicians to create some of the content for the Las Vegas Sphere.

Montreal (Canada)-based SACO Technologies has corporate offices in Europe, the Middle East and North America. The SACO’s team boasts over 30 years of experience in the development and supply of industry leading solid-state LED lighting and media solutions. The vast experience and expertise of the SACO team ensures that interfacing with architects, designers, tour managers, and other professionals is seamless and efficient.

It is one of two sphere-shaped venues designed by Populous, with the second planned for Stratford in East London (UK). However, this venue has proven to be controversial and was placed on hold by the United Kingdom Housing Secretary Michael Gove earlier this year.

Other spherical buildings include a proposal for a moon-shaped resort in Dubai and a theater that forms part of the Taipei Performing Arts Center by Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA).

The Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) is an international architectural firm with offices in Rotterdam (Netherlands), New York (US), Hong Kong, Doha (Qatar), and Australia.

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