Here's Part II ofED's List of 35 Influential Designs; for Part I, click here.


Steve Wynn might be Walt Disney of Las Vegas: a pure showman who knows how to please the crowds, but also an astute businessman who knows how to attract the crowds in the first place. A maverick in many ways when it comes to Las Vegas entertainment, Wynn was the first to take the show out of the showroom and put it out on the sidewalk. His first venture into outdoor showmanship is the massive volcano sitting in front of the Mirage Hotel and Casino. A peaceful waterfall during the day, the volcano erupts nightly (every 15 minutes from dusk to midnight, weather permitting) with blazing rings of fire that shoot 100' into the air and glorious lighting by David Hersey. Wynn continued his outdoor experiments with the Buccaneer Bay pirate battle next door at Treasure Island, and the incredible dancing fountains on the Bellagio lake.


Complain all you want about its inclusion here, but there's simply no getting around the fact that MTV has held enormous influence over the look and feel of popular culture — and by extension, design — since its debut in 1981. Madonna's early videos created an army of tarted-up teenage girls, a trend that continues today with (insert current pop queen here). The quick-cut editing of videos spawned a generation of bad film directors; The Real World spawned a generation of reality television. Indeed, the rise of video projection, certainly in the concert world, but perhaps even in entertainment design as a whole, can be traced in part back to what started out as a four — minute commercial for pop acts. And if you think MTV's influence has waned, we'd like to introduce you to a little show called The Osbournes


With the possible exception of The Who's Tommy, no rock album screamed for a big fat stage production more than Pink Floyd's The Wall. Released in December 1979, the album was transformed into a visually stirring if sometimes pompous concert mini-tour that traveled to Los Angeles, New York, Germany, and London. Staging of The Wall was spectacular: room sets appeared within the Wall, which was built live onstage; giant puppets were dangled over the Wall while animations, created by Gerald Scarfe, were projected onto it. During the show's breathtaking finale, the Wall crashed to the ground, revealing the band playing in the ruins. Mark Fisher and Jonathan Park designed the mammoth set and Marc Brickman designed the lighting. A decade later, original Floyd member Roger Waters tapped the same design team to stage a mammoth-sized version of the Wall in the desolate Potsdamer Platz just after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Still, it was the first production of The Wall that introduced the now common notion of rock show as public spectacle.


Steel Wheels photo courtesy Stufish, the Mark Fisher Studio

Inspired in part by cyberpunk novels of William Gibson, Mark Fisher's post-industrial set for the Rolling Stones 1989 tour is the logical extension of his work on Pink Floyd's The Wall tour a decade earlier. What set it apart from that earlier production was not just its technical and visual superiority, but the fact that it could move around the country so nimbly. Sporting the largest touring stage ever built at the time, and housed in 80 trucks with a traveling crew of 200 people (plus an additional 150 locals hired for each performance), Steel Wheels visited 33 US cities over a 15-week period. The tour also helped make the inflatable, a favorite of Fisher's since Pink Floyd's Animals tour in the mid 70s, a staple of touring concerts. Who could ever forget the two 19m inflatable babes and their all-too-brief appearance during "Honky Tonk Women?" It was only rock and roll, but we liked it.


Patrizia von Brandenstein's white three — piece suit for John Travolta is the single most recognizable icon of the disco era, and certainly one of the most famous costume designs in the history of film. John Badham's movie was stylistically significant for other reasons. Four years before the debut of MTV, it established a new direction for the film musical, which never entirely died out, but radically shifted tropes: songs became soundtrack accompaniment, with images cut to the beat, and the camera often out-pirouetting the dancers. Seductively shot in a real disco by Ralf Bode, who used star filters, smoke, and small movie fixtures to augment the club's strobes and mirrorball, Saturday Night Fever is a relic of the pre-automated era, but it prefigures its kinetic excitement.


If Sesame Street broadcast a New York look and sensibility to America's toddlers, Saturday Night Live did the same for the nation's post-adolescents. It had a ruder, grimier style and design than West Coast variety series like The Carol Burnett Show, and it was live. Eugene Lee's superstructure of a set allowed for the flexibility and speed of changeovers needed for a 90-minute show that accomplished most of its scene changes during commercials. It also helped pave the way for the return of live television to the Big Apple, with David Letterman and later Conan O'Brien joining the late-night crowd with sets also inspired by the city in which they were broadcast.


It revolutionized children's television for so many reasons, but here are a couple: Jim Henson's Muppets, which everyone takes for granted nearly as a force of nature, were introduced to most of the public in 1969, when Kermit the Frog, the Cookie Monster, Ernie and Bert, Oscar the Grouch, and Big Bird took up residence on PBS. And the multicultural tapestry of its title street — where people of different races lived in harmony with Muppets of many sizes and colors — also brought the mixed-use ideal of urban planning theorist Jane Jacobs to the small screen.


You're laughing again. Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Uwe Ludwig Horn, known by millions as simply Siegfried and Roy, are a Las Vegas institution. They started their incredible run of magic shows in 1977 at the Frontier Hotel and by 1990 were making tigers disappear nightly at Steve Wynn's Mirage Hotel and Casino. And they are still there, performing their special illusions to sold-out audiences who are still captivated more than a decade later. Siegfried and Roy took a gamble on the look of their show, bringing top-name designers, including production designer John Napier and lighting designer Andrew Bridge to town, upping the ante on production values forever. What is the secret to their success? Illusion, pure illusion.


Star Wars photo courtesy LucasFilms

Nine years after 2001, George Lucas trademarked a futuristic vision that finally superseded Kubrick's. ( Star Wars supposedly takes place a long time ago, but the inevitable link of space to the future remains.) What else is left to be said about this still-going-strong franchise? Industry giants Industrial Light and Magic and Skywalker Sound were direct outgrowths of the film's success, which also created a demand that spawned dozens of competitors. Ben Burtt created heretofore-undreamed-of robot and creature sounds, and John Dykstra and Richard Edlund became visual-effects legends due to the movie, which also marked the moment of composer John Williams' ascension to institutional status. Production designer John Barry famously interjected some recognizable grease and grit into space, and the contribution of John Mollo's costumes is not to be forgotten — without it, the revolutionary marketing of Star Wars figures might never have taken off. Like it or not, the movie business as it stands now is unimaginable without the path charted by Star Wars .


Before Stanley Kubrick's visionary blockbuster, science fiction was mainly the province of the B movie, a popular but unmistakably low-rent genre. A year before the first moonwalk, 2001 established outer space and the future as big-budget, big-business, even prestigious items, and sent "special photographic effects supervisor" (and former NASA illustrator) Douglas Trumbull to the top of the burgeoning field (though Kubrick himself received his only Oscar for conceiving the movie's effects). The production design, credited to Ernest Archer, Harry Lange, and Tony Masters, had the prescience in its Howard Johnson's space station to envision the role of branding in the future; the movie's look retains its witty charge, even if we snicker at the hopelessly 1968 hairstyles. Along with John Chambers' work on Planet of the Apes that same year, Stuart Freeborn's more mobile primate appliances also set a new standard in the makeup field . 2001 instantly vaulted to the front of the head-movie class, but that's another story. .


More than any other show of the last 20 years, The Who's Tommy announced to the world that projection design had arrived as a viable design element on the Broadway stage. Wendall K. Harrington's work was far from the first of its kind to be seen on the Great White Way (see Peggy Eisenhauer on Beatlemania ) but it was easily the most visually stunning. More important, Harrington's projections felt very much a part of the entire design package — from John Arnone's simple yet innovative sets to Chris Parry's rock-and-roll-meets-theatrical lighting, to David C. Woolard's edgy period costumes, the video work of Batwin + Robin, and Steve Kennedy's gloriously loud and thoroughly appropriate sound — and not a tacked-on element to appease the MTV generation.


With its dramatic use of backlight, shadow, silhouette, and contrast, The X-Files brought neo-noir feature film production values to network television. For its first five seasons The X-Files eschewed sunny southern California in favor of Vancouver, Canada, partly for budgetary reasons but also for its quality of light. With five out of eight shooting days spent on location, the show made extensive use of the area's variety of rural mountains and woodland and modern cityscapes. The original design team — director of photography John S. Bartley, CSC, production designer Michael Nemirsky, special effects producer Dave Gauthier, visual effects supervisor Mat Beck, and costume designer Larry Wells — made creepy look easy.

To Read "Futurama," Part III of Our 35th Anniversary Special Report, click here.