Over two weekends in April, thousands have flocked to the Southern California city of Indio for Coachella’s 20th year. Since its inception, the festival has morphed from a modest music and arts gathering into a multimedia bonanza, with a visual identity best described as a glamorous take on Woodstock-bohemian.
For this year’s lineup of monumental artworks there, architect Francis Kéré designed a cluster of 12 kaleidoscopic towers inspired by the baobab tree, a symbol of community in his native Burkina Faso. Called Sarbalé Ke – “house of celebration” in the Mooré language – the installation offers visitors respite from the hot sun; at night, the steel structures, clad with triangular wooden panels, cycle through a glimmering sequence of neon LEDs.
“In my culture, where there is no electricity, if we see a light, we watch it for a while,” said Kéré. “If it stays lit, we walk toward it, and there will be a celebration.”