The World Stage

A dynamic space for conversation about the future of global cities


Exhibition booths are often anonymous spaces, made from short-term construction materials that lead to additional waste after the exhibition. The Next City World Stage started with the idea that we could upend this typical exhibition booth process and program. The initiative began during our first collaboration with Proyecto NN in Medelli­n during WUF 7, and would continue with the same ethos in further iterations of the project. By using local materials and working with local builders and craftsmen for all construction, and then finding a way to reuse the exhibition’s elements and materials after the events were over, we found a way to craft a truly innovative approach to participating in events.

Underlying all iterations of the World Stage was the desire to create something completely different from the cold, sometimes clinical exhibition spaces often found at conventions and trade shows. Because so many people from all over the world attend such events, we wanted to create a dynamic space where artists, journalists, experts and the general public could interact, exchange information, tell stories, work and ultimately create a sense of community that would allow ideas to cross social, economic and political boundaries in a way that typically was not possible.

There were three iterations of the Next City World Stage (Medellin/2014, Quito/2016 and Kuala Lumpur/2017) each taking on its own unique visual language and characteristics.


In addition to the graphic identity and spatial design, we also always created a small series of publications called The World Stage Reader. Copies of the publications were given out at each event, and also sent to people who could not attend in person. Below are spreads from the publication made in Quito, which highlighted stories from the Next City website that were relevant to the themes of the conference, as well as the work of the participating artists.


In 2017,  I also wanted to bring the perspective of artists into the conversation, so I curated a group of internationally recognized creatives whose work addresses the environmental, economic 
and design questions that are at the center 
of the conference.

The artists were Luisa Dantas, Haas&Hahn, Michael Leung, Walé Oyéjidé, Tintin Wulia, Barry Rosenthal and Karo Akpokeire. Each artist presented their work in a site-specific gallery space that was constructed as part of the World Stage, and also presented a talk about their work to the audience.