In the spring of 2020, Semi Permanent was commissioned by Tourism Portugal to design a live experience that would re-invigorate the community after months of COVID-19 infused lockdowns. The event needed to raise the profile of the City of Porto (a rapidly emerging European hub of design), while incorporating globally recognisable talent and a COVID-safe design that encouraged people to explore their country once more.
Few voices in today's music world are as prolific as Sia Furler’s, and few eyes in the directing landscape are as visionary as that of Daniel Askill. With a 21-year creative collaboration spanning seven music videos and a global live tour, the Australian-born pair aren’t just responsible for billions of YouTube views and global critical acclaim, but are credited with designing a new visual language for what a pop-star might look like today.
Between 'Chandelier', 'Elastic Heart', 'Cheap Thrills' and more, Sia and Daniel Askill's music videos have been viewed more than 5 billion+ times
Sia's work as a singer and songwriter for the world’s biggest stars needs no introduction, and her visual universe is unlike any other artist around today. Her global profile was the perfect conduit for Porto's ambition to appeal to a wide audience, and with Semi Permanent's long-standing creative relationship with Daniel Askill it made sense to create something new together.
Sia + Daniel Askill The Videos 2003-2021 was the result; an immersive installation exploring the creative partnership of Sia and Daniel Askill through a physical manifestation of the pairs collaborative video works.
Brought to life between Semi Permanent's headquarters in Sydney, in partnership with Emmy-award winning film director Filipe Carvalho, Filipe Canto Moniz of Portuguese creative agency MOON, and Serial Pictures in New York City - also Daniel Askill's home base, this truly global collaboration transcended global boundaries, exciting an international community of Sia fans.
Designing the immersive experience for Porto
Palacete Pinto Leite—a cavernous palace with a storied history—was the perfect canvas for an experience that paid tribute to Sia's iconic works. With its decaying walls and gothic features a fitting encapsulation of the visual consistencies between Sia and Daniel’s work.
We designed an event blueprint that would give each music video a space of its own, using hallways, arches, doors and windows as liminal space to further evolve the artist’s shared visual universe; a retrospective that looked forward.
Each room in the palace was designed as the physical embodiment of the pair’s music videos including Chandelier, The Greatest, Elastic Heart and Cheap Thrills. With unprecedented access to production logs, polaroids, test footage, treatments, texts, emails and receipts, we offset large-scale screens against physical ephemera to tell both the on-screen and behind-the-scenes story that has played out over two decades of collaboration. To push things further, we commissioned Askill to create a series of new visuals that played off the unique architecture of the space and further contributed to their visual legacy.
Our design team weaved the storytelling from Sia and Daniel's visual universe into the physical space. And with a view to keep the guest constantly moving throughout the experience, dynamic way-finding and sound design was carefully choreographed to lead the viewer into each room in a way that felt independent and unforced.
Free, time-allocated tickets were completely booked out come the closing weekend of the event, with a stand-by line full each morning of the exhibition. Guest feedback was ecstatic, noting the tension between the expansive space and the intimacy of the works, whilst fans from far away shared visuals across their social channels.
700+ ticket holders
2.3M+ digital reach
Produced across 4 timezones
Reaching global audiences and local fans
Semi Permanent and MOON collaborated on bespoke content and PR in the lead-up to the event, publishing long-form interviews with the cast behind the camera to further push the physical event into the digital realm. We engaged Sia’s prolific online fanbase to get the word out to her most dedicated of supporters, and blanketed the City of Porto with 60+ OOH creative signs, building hype and encouraging up-take of tickets to the event.
Event partners Portugal Tourism, the City of Porto, Volvo AutoSueco, and the Porto Tourism and Convention Bureau supported to elevate the guest experience and audience reach across their channels.
Sia and Askill’s universe remains deeply personal, but we were proud to help communicate their vision and help the public relate it to the stories even more.