INTERIORS: Kanye West's Saint Pablo Tour

INTERIORS: Kanye West's Saint Pablo Tour
Courtesy of INTERIORS Journal

Interiors is an Online Publication about the space between Architecture and Film, published by Mehruss Jon Ahi and Armen Karaoghlanian. Interiors runs an exclusive column for ArchDaily that analyzes and diagrams films in terms of space.

Kanye West followed up his demented masterpiece Yeezus with an art project—an album never officially released, never officially completed, and one that is continuously being revised and restructured. It’s a continuous work in progress, a painting that’s never finished, which has evolved before our eyes (known by many titles including So Help Me God, Swish, Waves, until finally settling on the anachronistic The Life of Pablo).

It’s no wonder then that The Saint Pablo Tour, which kicked off in Indianapolis on August 25th, 2016 and is tentatively scheduled to end in Brooklyn on December 31st, 2016, feels unlike anything Kanye West has done before, while staying true to his creative vision. If 2013’s Yeezus Tour was an operatic experience that was more about the performance aspect, 2016’s Saint Pablo Tour is an active experience that is more about creating a Disneyesque attraction.

Courtesy of INTERIORS Journal

The design of the tour is broken down into two stage components, its Main Stage and Secondary Stage (or “Spaceship” Stage as it has been named by many). These stages feature an elaborate pulley and track system. The open web steel joists compose the elaborate framing system that attaches to the structure of each arena. The result is that people actually become part of the experience, taking the concept of a concert to another level. In this sense, audience members are singing, dancing and engaging with Kanye West. It is the first concert in recent memory that actively uses the crowd as part of the experience of the show.

Courtesy of INTERIORS Journal

The Main Stage, which is a rectangular steel platform, is attached to two parallel steel joists that allow West to literally float around the entire arena. These parallel steel joists are connected to a larger steel frame system that span almost the entire length of the arena. The Main Stage has spotlights surrounding the edges of the platform and lining the bottom of the platform surface (which shine directly onto the crowd during certain moments of the show).

The Secondary Stage takes on the same language as the Main Stage but is lined with more spotlights all along its bottom surface (which provide different light cues throughout the show and change color and brightness depending on the song that is being performed). In addition, parts of this stage are able to detach from the rest. There are four rectangular forms that can move independently from one another, which allows for different designs during songs like “Heartless” and “Wolves.”

The Saint Pablo Tour draws heavy inspiration from a variety of sources (most notably the films of Ridley Scott and Stanley Kubrick). The shows consist of two intermissions where the Secondary Stage rotates along its short axis, barring striking resemblance to Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977). The show even takes on a Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) feel with Kanye West’s time on the Main Stage with the crowd directly under him.

The Saint Pablo Tour is divided into three sections with two transitions. The first section of the show consists of Kanye West entering on the main stage during “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1”—at first, only the spotlights on the edges of the platform are on for the first group of songs, with lighting cues that represent Kanye West’s arrival, gradually building energy and momentum for the show. The second section includes additional lighting cues with Kanye West traveling closer to the opposite end of the arena. The third section sees parts of the stage transforming with more lighting cues and effects from the Secondary Stage and ultimately concluding with Kanye West traveling back to a bright spotlight in the center of the stage during “Ultralight Beam.”

Interiors has created two diagrams for The Saint Pablo Tour, which includes two elevation drawings showing each side of the show. The short elevation depicts the show during “Freestyle 4” where a large crowd is directly below the Main Stage. The long elevation depicts the show during “Wolves” where the Secondary Stage breaks apart, rotates, and shines onto the crowd.

There are few artists, if any, who do as much for the sake of art as Kanye West. This is an artist who has continuously combined Film, Architecture, and Fashion into his work, creating concerts that feel like theatrical experiences—even going so far as to redefine our understanding of tour merchandise, making tour shirts feel like their own in-demand clothing line. Kanye West has transformed Stage Design and Performance Architecture, with each live performance now redefining the way we envision and experience the medium, much in the same way his idols, Steve Jobs and Walt Disney, transformed their respective fields.

The Yeezus Tour was a feat in terms of design and production, but the Saint Pablo Tour is a feat in terms of engineering—and few artists can say they’ve created a transcendent experience that goes beyond what is expected of a “concert.”

These diagrams, along with others, are available for purchase in our Official Store.

Courtesy of INTERIORS Journal

Architectural Drawings and Graphics were created by Interiors (

Interiors is an Online Publication about the space between Architecture and Film. It is run by Mehruss Jon Ahi and Armen Karaoghlanian. Check out their Website and Official Store and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

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Cite: INTERIORS Journal. "INTERIORS: Kanye West's Saint Pablo Tour" 02 Nov 2016. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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