Eurovision 2019: Florian Wieder talks about the Tel Aviv stage design and Germany’s S!sters staging

by Roy Knoops 2,987 views had an interview with Florian Wieder, the stage designer for the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 in Tel Aviv. He talked about the designing process and the new staging for Germany’s representatives S!sters.

Jan Feddersen of website talked to Mr Florian Wieder in a hotel in Berlin. The first questions are, of course: does he know Tel Aviv? And is he looking forward to Eurovision 2019?

Florian Wieder begins:

I love to talk about it. I know this city well, I have a lot of friends there.

He adds:

Of course. This show is like no other – above all, it is good to plan, even though we know the acts only a few weeks in advance. Yet my job is not the production of the shows, but their design.

Symbolic language

Speaking about the design: did he start with his own imagination or did he get instructions from the Israeli hosts?

Before I applied for the stage design in Tel Aviv, I was just thinking about how to design it (…) No, I did not know them. A host country has never given any regulations to me. But I know Israel very well, both professionally and personally. So I had thought to emphasize triangles strongly in the artistic language of my design and ‘play’ with them. From triangles the Jewish Star of David is also formed. And then I had the idea to symbolize the twelve tribes of the Jewish people. Of course translated into an artistic language, not immediately obvious. Just like last year in Portugal the sea was the topic – waves, navigation equipment, seafaring.

Florian Wieder, Vienna 2015

The technical and logistic aspects

Florian Wieder was responsible for several recent Eurovision stage designs, including last year’s in Lisbon, Portugal. What are the differences with this year in Israel?

In technical terms, I would say that there will be LED walls again – light-technical ways to wrap acts into different scenes, images and films. That did not work in Lisbon, because of financial reasons. Besides, the hall in Tel Aviv is not like those kinds of arena’s or even a stadium like in Düsseldorf – a big stage that is horseshoe-shaped, surrounded by ascending ranks.

He adds:

The hall is smaller, it is rectangular overall. There are many rows of spectators. But you can also see everything on stage from very far back.

Laying rumours to rest

The stage designer furthermore addresses some rumours about the design and hall layout, such as the standing room in the venue:

No idea where the rumour came from that there will be no standing room. Yes, of course, it will be there. Without the fans there can be no Eurovision. The director needs them to capture enthusiasm. The Eurovision Song Contest has to have a flair of party as a staging, this is its trademark.

Coming fresh out of Lisbon, and having done other previous Eurovision stage designs, doesn’t Florian Wieder want a break from Eurovision?

You could think so, but it was not like that. In fact, many teams come to Eurovision again and again, because they know their way around, they have knowledge of the processes and the necessities for such a production. But there will also be a lot of people behind the technical scenes, who come from Israel and are part of the creative scene there. For me as a stage designer, I was asked to submit a pitch, an offer. Besides my application, there were twelve others, all from Israel, who submitted their designs.

A new setting for S!sters

Besides designing the main stage in Tel Aviv, Florian Wieder will be involved with the staging of Germany’s Eurovision 2019 representatives S!sters. The female power duo Carlotta Truman and Laurita Spinelli appeared on a giant rotating platform during Germany’s national final, will there be any changes to their act in Israel?

We will probably refrain from letting them go on stage on a rotating platform – that’s the latest situation. That was a bit confusing, for everyone, for the spectators as well as for the artists themselves. In Tel Aviv, the focus will be more strongly on the message of their song, especially at the beginning. Their voices, which fit so perfectly together, speak for themselves. For us, it’s now about clearly putting the ideas that their song conveys into the picture.

Florian Wieder is happily looking forward to Eurovision 2019 in Tel Aviv. Will he be there all the time?

From April 18th, until the day after the final. Twice I have to go from there to somewhere else – but what counts for me is the show in Tel Aviv. I am looking forward to it.
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