Creative studio The Unlimited Dream Company is behind the show design for the Dezeen Awards 2023 party. Here, co-founders Harrison Smith and George Thomson select five projects that best reflect their work.
London-based The Unlimited Dream Company (UDC) operates in the music and live industry, where its work ranges from creative direction and show design to film and artwork design.
Studio UDC is leading the creative direction for the sold-out Dezeen Awards 2023 party at Shoreditch Electric Light Station on 28 November, where we will reveal the winners of this year's programme.
"Narrative is at the heart of everything we do"
The studio's co-founders Smith and Thomson consider themselves storytellers who uncover a narrative in each project to engage their audiences.
"Narrative is at the heart of everything we do – whether designing a live show or album artwork, our role is to help our clients tell their story," Smith and Thomson told Dezeen.
"We also believe strongly in collaboration and working in the spirit of collective endeavour with all clients and contractors," they added. "Creativity should always come from a place of positivity and openness."
The multidisciplinary practice is currently working on Koko Lunar Series, a string of live music videos for emerging artists in partnership with music venue Koko in London.
Read on to find Smith and Thomson's views on the five projects that best represent their work:
Loyle Carner, Hugo Tour, 2023
"Loyle's tour was designed to coincide with the 2023 Hugo album, a poignant narrative recounting the journey of reconnecting with his father amidst becoming a new father himself.
"To physically manifest this emotional arc, the tour design encapsulated a 12-hour day and night cycle – from the red sunset of [the song] Hate, moving through the night and dreams towards the dawn of a new day in [the song] HGU.
"Incorporating a physical car prop, street lamp, and gradient back drape, we wanted to convey a sense of progression and development.
"The key set props and lighting looks were designed to be adaptable and modular to work with the various venue and stage sizes across the tour."
Obongjayar, UK Tour, 2022
"Earlier in our discussions Obongjayar mentioned that when creating music he visualises a set of doors in his mind, each one a portal to new possibilities.
"Our design brings to life this imagined space, creating an ethereal world full of doors and full of possibilities.
"The doors were set amongst the band with either projection screens or lighting states behind to create a sense of the imagined world beyond.
"In turn, these were complimented by a large soft box above the stage bathing the scene in diffused ghostly light – the conditions for a cinematic appearance."
Pa Salieu, Afrikan Rebel Tour, 2021
"Pa Salieu is grounded and guided by stubbornness drawn from his roots; everything he is, everything he creates is a work of art.
"The African Rebel tour celebrates African creativity as Pa seeks to push the culture and share his art with the world.
"Though undoubtedly influential on Western art and culture, African art and artists face unique difficulty in being recognised as such.
"We wanted to deliberately reject these stereotypes and set him directly where he should be, creating a virtual gallery space to present Pa Salieu's art with the status it deserves."
Yeule, Southbank Show, 2022
"We designed a hyper-real version of Yeule's bedroom for the stage and directed their show and interactive AI installation.
"The concept applied the Japanese term 'hikikomori', referring to isolation and confinement, to the digital world.
"The set was converted into an interactive AI installation the day after the show and facial tracking was used to scan visitor's faces.
"If visitors got too close to certain precious objects, a loud cacophony of every global alarm system played out on the PA system."
Sam Fender, St James Park Show, 2023
"For Sam Fender's homecoming show, we created a set of live visuals that drew inspiration from the core concepts of his songs to create a visual archaeology of northern culture.
"We combined several digital and analogue processes including live drone cameras and stop frame animation to create an original visual look that matched the unique texture, quality and tone of the music."
All photographs are courtesy of UDC unless otherwise stated.
Dezeen Awards 2023
Dezeen Awards celebrates the world's best architecture, interiors and design. Now in its sixth year, it has become the ultimate accolade for architects and designers across the globe. The annual awards are in partnership with Bentley Motors, as part of a wider collaboration that will see the brand work with Dezeen to support and inspire the next generation of design talent.