Now known as the largest sphere on Earth, the dominating dome boasts the world’s largest video screen, and the city was treated to a preview of its astonishing capabilities on the Fourth of July.
As part of the sneak peek show, residents and tourists watched in awe as the 366-foot-tall Sphere cycled through a multitude of mind-bending displays, including a giant, ominous eyeball, a basketball, a snow globe, a Jack-o’-lantern and even the Earth itself.
To achieve such impressive displays on the Sphere’s 580,000-square-foot fully programmable LED screen — named the Exosphere — engineers fitted the exterior with 1.2 million LED “pucks.” Each puck contains 48 individual LED diodes capable of displaying 256 million different colours.
“It’s absolutely stunning to look up and see what’s in front of you,” Rich Claffey, Sphere’s chief operations officer, told CNN. “I’ve been in the entertainment business for almost 40 years. I’ve never seen anything like this, and I’m not exaggerating. It is off the charts.”
Populous, an architecture firm behind some of the world’s top arenas, designed Sphere. It’s nearing completion and officially opens on Sept. 29, when it will welcome almost 18,000 guests to the U2:UV Achtung Baby Live at Sphere show.
The videos and photos from Sphere’s Fourth of July preview are almost unbelievable. The orb dwarfs cars driving on a nearby road and has spawned plenty of jokes about its size and capabilities.
Sphere will primarily be used as a live music and film venue, but will also have the infrastructure to host sporting events like boxing and mixed martial arts. In November, the Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix’s street circuit will pass through the Sphere property.
In addition to 160,000 speakers, the venue will also offer 4-D experiences, with vibrating seats and wind machines.
“Most music venues are sports venues. They’re built for sports — they’re not built for music. They’re not built for art,” U2 frontman Bono said in an Apple Music interview earlier this year, as he toured the venue. “This building was built for immersive experiences in cinema and performance.”
Sphere sits one block off the notorious Las Vegas Strip and will connect via pedestrian walkway to the nearby Venetian resort complex.