IT WAS the performance – and spectacle – that stole the show at the Brits.

And now the woman behind the West Pier structure that Rag ’n’ Bone Man sang in front of has revealed the “tragic” moment that inspired her brilliant creation.

Misty Buckley was also responsible for Dua Lipa and Foo Fighters’ sets at the Brits and is one of the UK’s most renowned designers for music concerts.

A big fan of Rag ’n’ Bone Man, Misty was given freedom to invent a backdrop that would have an “emotional connection” to the singer, real name Rory Graham.

Rory now lives in Uckfield but spent large parts of his younger years living and performing in Brighton.

“I love Rag ’n’ Bone Man’s music so I was really hoping his might be one of the set designs I got to work on,” Misty told The Argus. “I was thrilled when I was approached.”

Misty spent six months working on her designs for the Brits but the root of her Rag ’n’ Bone Man piece can be traced back to 2003, when she was studying interior architecture at Brighton University – she now lives in London.

She has vivid memories of the fire that ravaged the West Pier in March of that year. “I remember the night of the blaze,” she said.

“We were all standing on the beach with cups of tea watching the flames engulf the pier. It was so desperately tragic and dramatic.”

When Rag ’n’ Bone Man’s team asked Misty to create his Brits set, saying only that it “should mean something to Rory”, the designer was in no doubt where to start.

“I kept thinking how Rory was going to feel when he was on that stage – we needed something very authentic to reflect the immense raw emotion as the song builds,” she said, referring to Rory’s hit Skin that he performed on the night.

“I thought back to living in Brighton and the drama of a stormy sea, the elegance of the murmurations. And then I remembered the pier and the sadness as it burnt down. At that point I had all the elements for the Brits performance.”

Misty said the structure was complicated to make and that the “West Pier” sign at the top was particularly delicate.

“There was lots of zooming in on photos of twisted beams and broken columns,” she said.

When asked what would become of the design now, Misty said she believed the steel would be stripped down and re-used – usual practice for her work.

She added that she always campaigned to make sure the metal was re-purposed rather than ending up in a landfill.

“We can ask [about the Brits design] but my fear is it may have been dismantled and the steel crushed down, a bit like the West Pier,” she said. “When art imitates life...”


MISTY Buckley has vast experience in designing sets for concerts. She works as a creative director for various stages at Glastonbury Festival and won set designer of the year at the TPi awards in 2013 and 2014.

She has also created work for The Paralympics Closing Ceremony in London in 2012 and the 2015 Rugby World Cup Opening Ceremony at Twickenham Stadium.

More recently, Misty was responsible for Coldplay’s Superbowl performance.

She has also worked with Take That, Elton John and One Direction and made sets for BBC’s Children In Need Misty Buckley, who designed the set coverage.