Bringing colour and elevation to one of the world's most iconic music & arts festivals

Attended by over 250K people across two weekends, Coachella is one of the biggest music and arts festivals in the world.

As one of only six distinguished interdisciplinary studios chosen by Coachella, NEWSUBSTANCE were tasked with designing a brave, new and innovative large scale installation exclusively for the Festival.



— Client


— Location

Coachella Valley, USA

Created with Sketch.
Created with Sketch.

A band of colours, as seen in a rainbow, produced by separation of the components of light by their different degrees of refraction according to wavelength.

NEWSUBSTANCE made its debut at the 2018 Coachella Valley Music & Art Festival with Spectra – a stunning, seven-floor pavilion.

Commissioned by Coachella as part of its over-arching Art program, NEWSUBSTANCE was one of 6 distinguished interdisciplinary artists chosen by Coachella to create new, brave and innovative original large-scale installations exclusively for the Festival.

Over three years in its conception and design, Spectra is an ambitious, architecturally informed installation featuring a spiral design, an observation deck at its peak, air conditioning and a dazzling colour scheme that reflects the lively spirit of the festival and its awe-inspiring location.

When creating the piece, NEWSUBSTANCE wanted to explore the relationship between the light and landscape of the festival, the shifting environment that this creates and how it influences those that journey through it.  The festival is enriched by beautiful sunrises and sunsets that roll across the landscape, and it is these iconic explosions of colour we wanted to capture in the design. From running through the burning reds of the morning sunrise to a gentle sunset stroll bathed in rich purples and blues as they ascend the pavilion of light, Spectra purposely propelled people into a technicolor haven.When journeying through Spectra, people were saturated in colour, offering a new outlook on the world around them. Every step on their journey through Spectra was different: different views, different colours, different emotions. As they rose through the structure and challenged them to interpret their environment through the medium of colour.

The positioning of Spectra on the site was key. NEWSUBSTANCE wanted it to act as a beacon of light that drew people in from day to night.  At certain times it perfectly blended with the natural colours of the Coachella sky and at others it offered a wonderfully stark contrast.  As they ascended through Spectra’s tower of colour, they were rewarded with never before seen views – a new way of seeing things and a new way of experiencing the festival.

“Spectra is a bold commission by the festival and one we are super excited by. We were immediately drawn to the notion of offering festivalgoers a unique lookout across the festival site bathed in a rich interplay of color and light. Working closely alongside NEWSUBSTANCE it was immediately clear they understood the Coachella vernacular, bringing a fresh take on our environment and we are delighted to welcome them to this year’s festival."

Paul Clemente, Art Director at Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival.