“Every dome is a new baby”

geodesic dome expert
Carlos Montes

I studied pharmacology in college and during the same time I started working as a project leader for a Spanish company called Last Lap (www.lastlap.com). I was only 20 years old and found myself managing big clients for companies such as Nike, RedBull, Reebok, Playstation, etc. I worked in this field for 12 years and I decided to make a change in my life and started my own graphic design company where I worked for a further 5 years.

It was by accident that 10 years ago I discovered the domes for myself. In only a few months I knew basically everything about them. It became my passion. I traveled the world constructing domes in countries such as Costa Rica, Denmark, Mexico, Ireland, and all around Spain. My company focused on constructing timber domes and people were totally amazed with the structures. I began to receive requests to host courses teaching interested people on how to build such spherical structures. Clients also began to ask me to build domes for events so I decided to combine my experience of hosting events and my knowledge with this type of structure. l tried to work with different companies in Spain, and then I finally met the team from Polidomes and clearly saw how they worked and that they used only the best materials. This was exactly what I wanted to offer to my clients – the best solutions made of the best materials.

During the last 5 years working with Polidomes, I have realised it is not only about the high quality of the domes, but how much everyone cares about this product and the work they do. Whether it is work for a small client or big event, the staff cares and does everything possible to please the client, down to the smallest detail. For us, every dome is important and unique and when we finish one, we feel the dynamic energy of what we have created.

The most difficult setup

For 4 years we have been assisting MEDIAPRO providing Polidome 300 tent with 360º projection solution during the largest music festival in Spain: the SONAR MUSIC FESTIVAL. The best audiovisual creators in the world use our space to present their video and audio works. There are 4 consecutive days of audiovisual passes where the public can enjoy the greatest visual technology that exists at the moment. The trick is to cover a 10m high geodesic structure, inside the building where a crane has no access, with a PVC tarpaulin that weighs about a ton! Normally the assembly of a 300 meters square dome like this lasts 1 day. But in this case, it is 3 intense days of exhausting work. Every year we try new techniques to reach the goal, but it is always a great effort and a new challenge.

“When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty…….. but when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.”

R. Buckminster Fuller

We learn from every project how we can do things better. We used to find small issues we had to address in every set up, but that is the best way to learn how to make our product even better. After much experience we now know how to best construct a dome in any place in the world… whether it is in the scorching desert in the Middle East to the coldest place in Norway. I always say “every dome is a new baby and it’s all mine until I finally finish it and turn it over to our client”.

The most difficult project

Anything can happen in events: starting from the truck carrying the goods has a problem on the road up to the main generator that breaks. For all these cases, the experience is a degree and you know how to react in each case, but for me, the hardest are those projects in which the air temperatures do not allow work comfortably.  I remember one in the south of Spain in summer, that we reached an interior temperature of 55º. Polidomes had to assemble the dome somewhere in the south of Spain in summer and the air conditioning machines would arrive 2 days later. At that time the interior temperature was reaching 55ºC! We could only work for 10 minutes straight… and go out to drink water. That day our team consumed more than 60 liters of water! Another one that I remember very well was in January in Hungary where the temperature reached -15ºC. I’ve never had so much hot tea until that day… We worked with 3 pairs of gloves because our hands were frozen.

We are living through a “time of crisis” in our lives, something that none of us have experienced before but I look at this moment as a great opportunity to look into ourselves and discover how we want the future world to be. The way we look at our domes now is different than it was 3 months ago. We don’t look at the domes as a venue for an event… now we are more focused on creating a space where people can recover the contact that we all miss so much…contact with the earth and contact with people. 

The way events will be hosted, and the way we travel and do sightseeing will be different. We need to feel protected but at the same time in contact with people that we love. Maybe our next holidays won’t be in a hotel on the seashore. Perhaps we will choose a glamping dome on a marvelous mountain in contact with nature and be able to put our bare feet on the ground. For this reason, we are working towards making our products even more ecological, more hygienic, to make them places where everyone will feel completely at home. Maybe we will need to wait a few more months but I promise you it will be worth it 😉

The biggest goals in terms of the domes and future

I personally have several projects that I would like to fulfill in the future. One of them is to use the geodesic domes to cover large spaces, such as soccer or athletics stadiums. It would be amazing to see the geodesic structures as a roof of the most famous stadiums in the world. Buckminster Fuller, the person who introduced geodesic structures to modern architecture, would be proud. When we design a structure we only see small pieces, but once they are combined with each other and taking shape, something magical happens. It is a feeling that I have even with the smallest domes and that I would like to feel with a mega large structure.