David Korins on his storytelling stage for the Oscars 2019

David Korins on his storytelling stage for the Oscars 2019

The blockbusting set star creates 15 concepts for the 91st annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles with the theme of inclusivity

David Korins knows how to make a scene. The veteran production designer, and one of the Wallpaper 2019 Design Award judges, has created backdrops for everything from Broadway wunderkind Hamilton to megawatt musicians like Lady Gaga. But for the 91st annual Academy Awards, he flips the script and puts his designs at the forefront.

‘[Awards shows] have no linear, written narrative,’ Korins explains. ‘It’s not like we have to find ourselves in Washington’s tent. Creating the environment for the show is a huge deal because I get to decide what the narrative will be.’

For Hollywood’s biggest night, it’s all about inclusivity. ‘There are too many hard lines being drawn, and people are not experiencing these large, cultural events as a community,’ he says. ‘I have the responsibility to try my best to open up the dialogue.’

David Korins for Oscars
The 2019 Oscars stage by David Korins. Courtesy David Korins

An asymmetrical proscenium made with 115 foam blocks breaks the fourth wall, stretching out into the audience and engulfing some of the box seats. Onstage, the set rotates through 15 concepts, varying from ribbons made of roses (over 40,000 real roses were used throughout the night) and a golden gate, which he likens to a beautiful piece of jewellery.

Korins also partnered with Swarovski to integrate over 41,000 crystals into four designs. Highlights include the Crystal Cloud, an interpretation of atmosphere clouds made with over 1,250 crystal strands, and the Crystal Swag, which looks like a waterfall flowing upwards.

Whether you’re in the audience or streaming the show at home, Korins hoped all viewers felt the warm and welcoming atmosphere.

‘There is a movie for every kind of person,’ he says. ‘It doesn’t matter your age, race, creed, nationality, anything – there’s a movie for you. [The set] is a celebration of that and storytelling.’ §

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