Posted 10/10/2013

Lance Goodall

I have attached the following from HILLSONGS own website where they go into great detail on how they came up with the concept of the “Mountain” (Pyramid) for the 2013 Hillsong Colour Conference

I mentioned in a previous blog entry on this site that at this years’ Hillsong’s Colour Conference was an Alien Deception, and now you can get up close and personal and see what I mean first hand.

MOUNT ZION: Colour 2013 Stage Design

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2013: Stage Design inspired by Mount Zion
A conversation with stage designer Nathan Taylor.

Influenced by modern architectural trends, ‘Mount Zion’ is one of the most unique creative expressions over the conference to date.

Blog Editor: Modern Architectural Trends? This is architecture from ANCIENT Egypt!?

If you take a cross section of a pyramid, you get a triangle.

If you take a cross section of the Great Pyramid of Khafre at Giza, you get the Egyptian Triangle.(1)

Actually, you get two – ABD and ACD. A right triangle with sides measuring 3-4-5 was vitally important to the ancient Egyptians as it helped them to resurvey the land each year following the Nile’s annual flooding.(2) However, this triangle was also considered sacred as it represented eternal truths, which they then incorporated into the construction of their most important monuments.

In an Egyptian Triangle, the sum of the squares of the two sides produce the third. In other words, 3² + 4² = 5². How the Egyptians interpreted this geometric fact was to equate 3 with the male principal, Osirus; 4 was the female principal, Isis; and 5 was their offspring, or Horus. Plus, 3² x 4² = 144, and 144 is a number signifying completion, perfect knowledge, or eternity.(3)

Plutarch in his treatise on Isis and Osiris written around the turn of the first century says:

This triangle has its upright of three units, its base of four, and its hypotenuse of five, whose power is equal to that of the other two sides. The upright, therefore, may be likened to the male, the base to the female, and the hypotenuse to the child of both, and so Osiris may be regarded as the origin, Isis as the recipient, and Horus as perfected result. Three is the first perfect odd number: four is a square whose side is the even number two; but five is in some ways like to its father, and in some ways like to its mother, being made up of three and two.(4)

The Egyptian triangle represented the universal nature of Father + Mother = Child, the holy trinity of creation, the divine recipe for the continuity of life, for eternal life.

Nathan Taylor, the man behind the‬ design, takes Hillsong Collected‬ on the journey from concept to stage design to reality.‬
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How did you come with the concept of ‘Mount Zion’?

“I was playing around with shapes and experimenting with the possibility of using them on stage as a projection surface. Mount Zion came quickly after the United album and Bobbie was inspired by Isaiah 52:7, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

Blog Editor: Where are the tidings of Good news? This is just wishful thinking? This design looks more the Pyramids of Giza??  A mountain that turns out to look nothing like a mountain, and therefore the message must be nothing like the gospel. 

The Egyptians adapted the Greek word for a wheat cake, “pyramis,” to invent their word for a pyramid. The shape of the cake looked like the pointed top of a pyramid. The earliest Egyptian burial sites were an underground chamber that was covered with a small chapal structure where family members could place offerings. The shape of the tomb was named “Mastabas” because it resembled the benches commonly found outside homes. Pyramids were constructed as burial monuments for the pharaohs, often as soon as he assumed the throne since it took many years to build one. Each king constructed at least one pyramid but many pharaohs built up to three during their reigns.

Stairway to Heaven
Since the sun sets in the west, all pyramids face the setting sun over the Nile River. Construction of the pyramids on the banks of the “river of life” served as a method of transporting the pharaoh’s spirit through the gateway into heaven. The main burial chamber of the Great Pyramid, among other pyramids, has a narrow passageway that points to the center of the sky as if to propel the spirit directly in to the awaiting arms of the Great God Re.

As a Summoning Symbol

Some occultists use the triangle as a summoning symbol. At the culmination of a ritual, the desired being is expected to appear within a triangle inscribed upon the floor. The occultist often performs his ritual from the protection of a circle.

The Shape of Benben
A symbol of the source from which all life on earth originated, Benben is a pyramid-shaped stone used in early burial temples to form a mound. Egyptians believed the shape united the pyramid and its deceased pharaohs directly to Re, the Sun God. The pyramids took on the shape of Benben to preserve the sacred connection between man and god in the afterlife.

The Triangle

The Triangle represents the threefold nature of The Universe – Heaven – Earth – Man,  Father – Mother –  Child, the human as Body – Mind – Spirit and the mystical energy of the three – dynamic action.

The Equilateral Triangle symbolises completion, and the trinity in unity.

The Upward pointing Triangle is ‘solar’ and symbolises Life, Fire, Heat  the masculine principle, the Spiritual World, and the trinity of Love – Truth – Wisdom. The horizontal line representing Air.

The Square
The Square represents the ‘Earth’ as opposed to the circle of the heavens.  Earthly existence, static perfection, immutability, integration, God manifest in creation, and the totality of the Godhead. – three sides being it’s threefold aspect and the fourth side representing totality.
The symbol of the square also denotes, honesty, straightforwardness, stability, integrity and morality and the four sacred elements, earth – air – fire – water.
The square represents limitation and therefore form and order within the universe.

In sacred architecture, the square symbolises transcendent knowledge: the archetype controlling all works.  In sacred buildings such as Temples or Churches it represents the mystical union of the four elements and the attainment of unity in the return to primordial simplicity.

In occult doctrine it is thought that “from the union of spirit and matter (the pyramid is made of stone, rock, and earth—and represents the unconscious. The capstone is made of an immaterial substance—light or spirit—and is conscious), a new being—a transformed being—is created. The seal’s reverse depicts a separation state in the separation of the eye the triangle.”

The pyramid exemplifies the initiation stage,… it is the house of initiation, in which the candidate confronts the world of darkness and enters the world of spirit. By passing the tests of the elements, the candidate is initiated into the realm of higher consciousness.” (Hieronimus ibid., p.92) After succesfully completing the initiation process, the candidate is reborn, and joins the single eye in the pyramid.

So this is the gospel according to HILLSONG!

How did you turn this concept into a workable design?

“I based the design on an architectural trend which is similar to the use of low poly where complex shapes are broken down into a simplified triangle mesh. I traced different mountains, formed lots of lines, and forced the mountains 3D shapes. Thematically it fit. Light, diamonds, Zion. I used a great app called D-mesh

This was a really fun and hands on way for me to trace nature shapes, particularly mountains. I also used Sketchup []”

Blog Editor: Does this look like a MOUNTAIN to you? Hillsong are caught up in their own world and alternative universe!!

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How did you manage to build the stage?

“It took a while to meet someone mad enough to build it.”

The sheer scale in size deemed the project mad. Mad, yet clearly not impossible. Nathan embarked on the task of sourcing a set builder crazy enough to take on the feat.

A team of at least 30 people, most of which were volunteers, worked to make the design a reality. Volunteers trained in architecture assisted with stage detailing and laying the flooring, while volunteer artists helped to bring the visual details together. Builders, electricians and lighting contractors were also employed to build the stage

The set was built in parts in order for the conversion to be made and to allow for transit. The stage design was made to fit perfectly in both the Sydney Entertainment Centre and the Hills Convention Centre.

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The design team were among the first to arrive at the conference venues for set up and then also the last to leave at the conclusion of each conference. The team is made up of a wide array of people with different gifts and talents in areas such as building, transporting, sourcing, drafting, painting and installing sets and props.

Without the team, ‘Mount Zion’ would have remained another good idea on a piece of paper. The team was integral to the building of the design, partly for the dedication of their gifts but mostly for their belief in the Reason behind the conference and the purpose of God through His Church.

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Tell us about the opening night. What were you thinking when the doors finally opened?

“When it’s all up and working and you look around at the team of dedicated volunteers, talented and hardworking college students, producers, musicians and countless crew that have been a part of an event, that’s usually a moment.

They might be a bit tired as the doors open and people flood into the arena but its a real strong sense of team – almost family.

I’m a reserved English guy but when you see people connect, it’s a cool feeling. It makes it all the more meaningful.

People get to be apart of the space you have designed. They can touch it, feel it and be a part of the environment as a congregation. Hearing people sing and also engage with the space puts a massive smile on my face!

Its the most uplifting feeling. Knowing what you have worked on is playing a part in helping point people towards the common focus of any Christian event – JESUS.”

Blog Editor: The people get to engage with the space? I think they are probably right… Because they certainly wouldn’t have engaged with Jesus!


About Nathan Taylor

Nathan is employed as a production and stage designer at church.

He has been part of the Creative team since he moved to Australia more than ten years ago. In his former life, Nathan served on the team as a guitarist and toured with United.

Nathan and his wife Lin attend the City Campus in Sydney.

Blog Editor: This article below is no better….
 See my more recent article:-
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Hillsong Team

I remember walking into the foyer and being so blown away by the scale and splendour of the place. All I had known of church was small, derelict old buildings, half empty and cold…