Red Bull Flying Bach
High culture meets urban art: When the Flying Steps and Red Bull first asked us to create an elaborate visual concept for their ambitious show from scratch, we knew we had a long road ahead of us. At that time nobody expected this road to become a direct route to an overwhelming global success. The extensive campaign accompanied all of the Flying Steps sold out worldwide performances. We developed the key visuals alongside the additional corporate design to lay the groundwork for this award winning global campaign. Thank you Flying Steps, Thank you Red Bull and Thank you Kastner & Partner for this wonderful collaboration.
The first reaction to this collision of cultures is intended to be contradictory by any account. In fact there are many similarities between the high culture and urban art. We found graffiti tags to be a contemporary counterpart to old hand writing and signatures. The basic idea behind the logo was to combine typical calligraphy styles of both these eras: the result was the synthesis of J.S. Bach’s marvelous signature with a splendid contemporary tag.
ONE COLOR LOGO
Various calligraphic styles were embedded within classic baroque ornaments. Our aim was to stay true to the original idea and find an even balance between historical and contemporary influences.
Original Bach Seal
A Cultural Heritage
The ornaments refer to the famous ‘Bach Seal’. Containing the letters ‘J S B’, they are superimposed over their own-mirrored image. The seal is topped with a crown just as the Flying Bach Logo is topped with the Red Bull logo. J.S. Bach was a universal talent and perfectionist. We have great respect for his cultural heritage and chief goal was to handle this project with the greatest sensibility.
Remember the giant piano keyboard from the 1988 Tom Hanks movie Big? Ever since I was a little child I was dreamt of playing this genius toy! Flying Bach finally made this dream come true. Our idea to turn zebra crossings into gigantic keyboards which presented the perfect opportunity to please some of these deep childhood dreams. The idea was fairly simple and each time I crossed a street I could almost hear the piano playing. We subsequently decided to also turn it into an additional guerilla art project.
In the tradition of sidewalk chalk & street painting the zebra crossing appears to be an actual slightly oversized keyboard. It combines J.S. Bach’s signifying instrument against the historical background of b-boying: “Da Street”.
A major part of the show’s act was integrated into projections. Visual artist Christian Seifried and I took the chance to express the deeper meanings behind the drama into moving images and 3-D animations. We established the piano itself as just another protagonist and therefore designed it’s own choreography. The animation begins fairly simply: The gigantic piano keys suddenly start to move as the camera tracks back opening the frame to reveal that the actual keyboard is within a lager dark plane of space.
Several animations evolved around this key visual concept: The rough street turns into a plane keyboard. White paint trickles over the smooth surface of a black Bösendorfer grand piano. Splashes of color turn into pumping audio lines of a supernatural equalizer and silhouetted dancers float above the graceful wooden shapes.
In several languages and writing systems
Along with several sold out Broadway performances in New York, the Red Bull Flying Bach World Tour captured international stages in the Middle East, Asia, Europe and many more. Frank Escher Lämmer and I teamed up to develop a simple but functional ‘Master Playbill’. Our aim was to create a layout which could be easily adjusted to several languages, and changing typefaces.
OUT OF HOME
‘Whole car’ is a term used by graffiti writers when they paint over a train. We remained true to our original concept only expanding our own approach and the project’s ambition. But not only did we ‘bomb’ (graffiti jargon) streetcars – this project resulted in entire subway stations redecorated in the Flying Bach Corporate Design.
More than 250 years after his death, the German composer J.S. Bach who was far less known during his lifetime, mostly would have been have been blown away to see the Austrian capital literally covered in advertising for his music. Trams and entire subway stations were temporarily re-designed for this great event at the Burgtheater.