The Ark Nova is the first concert hall of its type, taking roughly 2 hours to inflate and holding about 500 people. The hall is the brainchild of iconic British sculptor Anish Kapoor and Japanese architect Arata Isozaki and was designed after Japan’s Northeastern coast was hit by a massive tsunami.
The Ark will embark on a tour through areas of Japan affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, hosting concerts, workshops, and other performances along the way as part of the Lucerne Festival. Performances include a workshop for local children led by Gustavo Dudamel and a Kabuki performance with Sakata Tojuro, for starters.
It’s made up of a balloon-like material that resembles a big purple jellybean, which can be easily packed up and transported to another location via truck. Seats and acoustic reflectors in the building were created using wood from cedar trees previously damaged by the tsunami. The structure has a width, length, and maximum height of 98 feet, 118 feet, and 59 feet, respectively.
“Ark Nova is the first mobile inflatable concert hall,” Anish Kapoor told the Telegraph. “We felt that the site in Matsushima, amidst the destruction of the tsunami, needed a temporary structure and an inflatable seemed to be appropriate.”