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Global Truss Spreads Its Wings Over Coachella Music Festival

PLSN Staff • News • May 11, 2010

INDIO, CA – The crane carries a universal message of peace, so it's only fitting that the more than 100,000 visitors who attended this year's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival were greeted by a giant sculpture, Ascension, inspired by the Japanese art of origami. Spanning its wings 150 feet wide and standing 45 feet high, the white aluminum crane was one of the festival's main attractions – right up there with headliners Jay-Z, Muse, Gorillaz and Thom Yorke – at an event known for its visual art as well as its eclectic music. 

 

Created by Crimson Collective (www.crimsonsociety.org) , a group of Los Angeles-based artists, architects and designers, the sculpture offered more than soothing aesthetics; it also helped shelter concert-goers from the desert sun by day, while collecting solar energy to power its lighting system at night.

 

Building such a massive structure that could withstand the potentially extreme outdoor conditions in the Coachella Valley presented a challenge – one that was successfully met using aluminum trussing products from Global Truss.

 

A couple months before the concert, recalls Donald Hauger of Global Truss, he was approached by Crimson Collective founder Behn Samareh about materials for the project. "Behn had come up with this concept of a giant aluminum crane sculpture, and he pitched the idea to Coachella's investors, who gave the go-ahead," said Hauger. 

 

Designed to resemble an origami paper crane, the sculpture was constructed using the principle of tensional integrity, which is the balancing of tension and compression. More than 60 pieces of Global Truss's F44 16-inch square trussing make up the bird's skeleton, covered by 7,000 square feet of white shade fabric.

 

An additional 50-plus pieces of Global Truss F34 I-Beam truss form the structures that house the solar panels on both sides of the big bird. The bird-shaped sculpture used connectors designed and custom-fabricated by SGPS/ShowRig.

 

"At first, they wanted to use our 12-inch box truss, but we had to go with the 16-inch because of the wind load in the Coachella Valley," said Hauger.  "The wind can get as high as 70 to 80 miles per hour, so the structure had to be built to withstand those conditions.  Another consideration was that everything had to be weighted down with various tie-downs and aircraft cable." 

 

Global's trussing proved well-suited to the rigors of the environment, since it is TUV-rated and made of 6082-T6 extruded aluminum alloy – a material so strong and rigid that it is used by the aviation industry for aircraft construction.

 

The trussing is also lightweight and modular, which will help Crimson Collective members take their sculpture to festivals and fairs throughout the world.   Completely mobile, the entire crane can be dismantled and packed into one 40 ft. shipping container.

 

The crane sculpture "stands as a symbol of hope and a prelude to ascension through awareness and understanding," said designer Samareh. It also personifies the ideals of self-sustainability and energy independence, powering its own lighting system with its two solar collection stations.

 

Additionally, Hauger pointed out, the structure reflects the mission of Crimson Collective's parent organization, the Crimson Society, a non-profit group that benefits homeless people.

 

"With the large wings hovering over people and sheltering them, it ties into the concept of providing housing and building structures for the homeless."

 

For more information, please visit www.globaltruss.com and www.crimsonsociety.org.

 

Photo: Crimson Collective/Michelle Cassel

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