You've read our many blogs and articles about Eurovision Song Contest. Heck, I even got to attend Eurovision in Helsinki in 2007...good times. I received word from i.e. Design Events Inc. this morning that John Casey, principal designer at the New York-based company, will be the production designer for the semi-finals and finals of the ESC in Moscow for 2009 on May 12, 14, and 16. Casey's design is inspired by Tatlin's tower, Lissitzky paintings and prints, Malevich's graphic arts, Koltunovich's lithographs, Kandinsky's paintings, and other Russian artists.
"Even before I worked with the Russians on the TEFI Awards in Moscow in 1998, I was inspired by and drawn to art from the Russian Avant Garde period, especially the constructivists," Casey said today. "Everything from this artistic time period--from the posters to the three dimensional constructions--- has interesting perspective. "The art presents an unexpected view or use of space. I've tried to come up with a theatrical design for the contest that incorporates Russian avant garde art into a contemporary setting, almost entirely made up of different types of LED screens."
With 43 countries participating and broadcast to 100 million viewers, the contest this year will take place at the Olympiyski Indoor Arena in downtown Moscow, built for the 1980 Summer Olympics, with a capacity of up to 80,000 people. Casey previously designed the 1997 Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin and worked as part of the design team on the 1995 and 1994 Eurovision Song Contests, also in Dublin.
"It's an honor to act as their designer because it's the first time Russia has ever hosted the Eurovision Song Contest," Casey added. "It's a big deal for the Russians, and to be part of the team for this project feels like a big deal to me as a designer, especially since my work has been so largely inspired by early 20th century Russian designers. I worked with Channel One's director general, Konstantin Ernst, in 1998 on the TEFI awards in Moscow—Russian TV and film awards—it was a fast and furious project, in an intense and mysterious time in Russia's history. Konstantin is a strong leader and was a pleasure to work for because although he has a clear perspective on what he's looking for. He's always open to new ways of doing things."
Casey founded i.e. Design Events in 2007, which he runs with his wife, Cathy Casey.