All images: OMA
What does one build for Kanye West, self-proclaimed genius, Lothario, Byronic hero, mover of mountains and stone? What kind of structure could even handle the intense force of nature that is Kanye's ego? A pyramid, of course. For this year's Cannes Film Festival, West hired OMA to design a temporary polyhedral pavilion to debut his short film Cruel Summer. Located on Palm Beach, the 200-seat theater, which was inaugurated last night, consists of a massive (17' X 17', 17' X 30') seven-screen cinema configured according to a scheme "invented" by West's creative team Donda and developed with 2X4, Inc. The screens envelop the audience in the glow of Summer's dazzling cinematography that, according to its makers, constitutes a "new cinematic experience."
The pavilion itself was designed by OMA partner Shohei Shigematsu, who devised the raised pyramid with input from West's team. The pyramid, made of reflective white fabric, is suspended above a square base covered in a continuous red carpet that stretches from the outside into the theater. Panoramic views of the water and landscape beyond extend in all directions, while the film screens hover above, positioned around an inclined seating platform. Large triangular pylons pitched at the corners of the space converge overhead tied together by a square truss--an "optimized" solution arrived at with Cannes-based production team Ar'Scene.
According to Shigematsu, the pyramid presents a "subtle" formal play on the typical white shed events that populate Cannes every May. In typical OMA language, the one-off project is described as a "prototype" to be ostensibly replicated elsewhere. The seeds of the pyramid, however, have long been planted, the project being the latest in OMA's blatant, reactionary post-modern work of the last 15 years. As for West, I'm sure he was pleased to be basking in the spectacle, Kim-Cleopatra by his side.