Eurovision 2015: Meet the stage construction company

by Roy Knoops 567 views

Dutch company Unbranded (formerly known as Hollandse Handen) is responsible for building the main stage, green room, and commentator-facilities at this years’ Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna, Austria. Among their duties is building the iconic Eye, centrepiece of the Eurovision stage.

Last weekend, some 80 trucks left the Dutch town Hilversum, location of company Unbranded, towards Vienna. There, Unbranded‘s employees are working on constructing the main stage and other major facilities for the 60th Eurovision Song Contest, including the green room, commentator-booths, and all accompanying necessities. Unbranded, the new international name of company Hollandse Handen, is familiar with building stages, both nationally and internationally: they are not only responsible for a lot of Dutch festivals and TV-shows, but also for the stages at the MTV Awards in Amsterdam and Glasgow. The company has been active for sixty years as provider of stages and stage-properties, furnishing amusement-parks, musea and big events.

On the 8th of April, Unbranded-director Gaston van de Poel had an interview on NPO Radio 1. He is very proud and excited that Unbranded is given the opportunity to showcase their skills for an audience of around 200 million viewers worldwide. Gaston van de Poel has to maintain secrecy about the details of this years’ Eurovision-stage, but reveals some aspects of the most iconic point which is already known, the Heptic Eye:

The stage is a huge eye, constructed out of aluminium pipes. Don’t be startled: the eye is 45 metres broad, 20 metres deep, and 15 metres high. Just in the pipes alone it contains 40.000 kilogrammes of aluminium. And this is just the main stage. The green room and commentator-facilities are also built by us. Everything that you see, the look and feel, is done by us, except for the lighting.

A look at Unbranded‘s warehouse in Hilversum, with director Gaston van de Poel (left) and co-director Jauko Hartveldt (right), taken by local newspaper Gooi en Eemlander:

Gaston van de Poel (links) en mededirecteur Jauko Hartveldt.

Unbranded will not only be responsible for Eurovsion 2015’s main stage and facilities, but will also deliver the stages for the introduction-films of ESC participants Denmark, Sweden and the United Kingdom, among others. Unbranded is thus the pivot on which the 2015 contest hinges. This also implies a great responsibility, and mindfulness pertaining to safety issues. Director Gaston van de Poel:

The security demands are enormous.When the trucks with our materials arrive, the trucks are first sniffed out by dogs for thirty minutes to an hour. Then there is a double-check with mirrors at the next gate, to make sure that there is no bomb present. All of our employees have been screend and checked, it is a really big deal.

But Gaston van de Poel is confident that Unbranded will succeed in creating a wonderful experience, delivering a satisfactory staging for Europes biggest and favourite musical show:

Eventually, everything must be right and stand for a live-broadcast before 200 million viewers. The festival will take place in May, our biggest job is in April, the construction of the main stage (…) It is a beautiful piece of Dutch artistry abroad, we are proud of it!

You can listen to the interviw with Unbranded‘s director Gaston van de Poel with NPO Radio 1 (in Dutch) here:

Stay tuned to ESCToday for all the latest news on the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest!