Eurovision 2023: stage design behind the scenes

The Eurovision 2023 stage design for the legendary annual song contest, held this week in Liverpool, has been designed by Yellow Studio and draws on the power of a hug

Eurovision 2023 stage design
(Image credit: Eurovision)

The Eurovision 2023 stage design is an intrinsic part of the annual global spectacular that is the world's most popular song contest – taking place this week (9 – 13 May) in Liverpool, UK. The set's creators, New York-based stage architecture experts Yellow Studio have been hard at work, crafting an environment for the performances that is not only eye-catching and supremely functional, but also sends a message of togetherness and positivity. The event’s theme is ‘United by Music’, as this year the UK is hosting the contest on behalf of 2022 winner Ukraine, which scooped the top spot with Kalush Orchestra's song 'Stefania'. As for the stage design concept? It's a hug. 

pink set at 2023 eurovision stage

(Image credit: Sarah Louise Bennett)

Eurovision 2023 stage design: united by a hug

Yellow Studio's director Julio Himede explains: ‘The concept of our design resembles a wide hug, welcoming the people of Ukraine and Europe with open arms. The architecture of the set embraces a sense of togetherness, community, and celebration.' 

He continues: 'Our studio inspiration includes cultural identities from Ukraine, such as craftsmanship, the symbolic patterns of embroidery and traditional costume, as well as the rich musical history of Liverpool.  Given we are hosting the show in Liverpool on behalf of Ukraine, we felt the 'welcoming hug' concept is an appropriate approach to define our set.  During the three live shows, cultural aspects of Ukraine and Liverpool will be celebrated.' 

2023 eurovision stage set

(Image credit: Corinne Cumming)

The project was not challenge-free, as the show is a large scale production of the highest calibre, broadcasted to a global audience of more than 160 million and encompassing some 220 sq m of staging. 

Himede says: 'The collaboration between Ukraine with the UK has been a wonderful and unique opportunity to design the Eurovision Song Contest this year. As we embrace and celebrate the cultural aspects of both countries hosting the show, our monumental design must be able to offer a landscape for all other countries competing to take ownership of the stage during their performances. In less than a minute, the stage needs to change over and set up for the next contestant and their creative, in front of a live audience.'

2023 Eurovision stage design

(Image credit: Eurovision)

Yellow Studio has been the creative power behind several high-profile cultural events over the years, such as Disney's Beauty and The Beast 30th anniversary celebration, the Grammy Awards and the MTV Music Awards. Bringing together state-of-the-art technology with mesmerising visuals through its designs, the practice has cemented its reputation as one of the leading forces in its field. 

As to what makes great stage design? 'The Eurovision stage design must carry its own bold and unique identity every year. Having surprising elements that offer different production values is key to a successful set design of such a monumental scale. The design needs to transform into multiple compositions to cater for all 37 contestants,' says Himede. 

performer with golden lights at eurovision stage 2023

(Image credit: Sarah Louise Bennett)

The acts competing for this year's top title will share the stage with last year’s winner Kalush Orchestra, as well as the UK's 2022 contribution Sam Ryder, who was runner-up. A selection of performances that celebrate Liverpool's heritage and contribution to pop music over the years will also be part of the programme. 

With its stage design perfected and ready to go, the 67th Eurovision Song Contest is on course to launch its events in Liverpool this week, with the grand final taking place on Saturday 13 May 2023. 

eurovision stage 2023

(Image credit: Eurovision) 

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).