UK: NEWSUBSTANCE designed, fabricated and installed a giant dog’s head at this year’s Download Festival at Donington Park. Standing 6.5m high to the top of his ears the Download Dog was a commission by Festival Republic and Live Nation, providing a compelling and immersive realisation of the iconic festival emblem.
With a tight lead-time, NEWSUBSTANCE worked closely with Live Nation and Festival Republic. Critical to the success of the project was ensuring that the overall look and feel of the structure captured both the spirit of the revered Dog logo whilst offering festivalgoers a tangible experience and interaction with the installation once onsite.
The Download Dog was formed from multiple sections of both CNC’d and hand sculpted polystyrene, within which a structural metal skeleton was embedded in addition to a free standing aluminium truss support. The sections were then plastic coated to give further structural integrity before being scenically finished to a cinematic standard. A large, curved aperture at the rear of its neck allowed public egress with a prescribed channel offering festivalgoers a route through to the Dog’s mouth to be photographed within its giant jaws.
The sheer size of the Dog meant it had to be broken down and shipped in two 40ft trucks, arriving to site in 12 sections that were bolted and pieced together across a one-day build. Recessed into the eye sockets were six LED floods providing a punchy 4000 lumens per unit to create piecing red eye balls glaring out onto the main arena.
Melvin Benn, Director of Festival Republic, commented: “I wanted to celebrate the Download Dog, and build a proper piece of art to do that. The response from festivalgoers has been fantastic and vindication of our decision to create a new Download family member. NEWSUBSTANCE are a truly talented outfit – agile, creatively switched on and a pleasure to work with. Their pursuit of excellence in getting this project aesthetically right against tight deadlines and in challenging conditions was breath of fresh air. A huge thank you to them!”
NEWSUBSTANCE’s Creative Director Patrick O’Mahony commented: “We were delighted if a little daunted to have the opportunity to bring this iconic mascot to life. Whilst we specialise in large, demountable structures, balancing the need for a robust, festival proof installation with a complex and sympathetic scenic finish was a real challenge; one the team once again rose to with aplomb. The Download Dog presented further evidence of the value across social media for large, scenic installations offering a genuine point of interest within a festival site.”