Ray Winkler started out as a carpenter and qualified as a furniture craftsman before turning to his family’s tradition and studying for five years to obtain a master’s degree in architecture (from University College, London). He became interested in set design while doing postgraduate studies in California , drawn by its ephemeral nature as opposed to the durability and permanence of conventional buildings.
He has been working as an entertainment architect/designer at The Mark Fisher Studio since 1997. “It was supposed to be a six-week stint,” he says. “But I'm still here!” In that time, Ray has designed sets for countless live TV shows, including MTV Icons, the MTV Movie Awards, the EMAs in Edinburgh , Rome , Lisbon and Copenhagen , the BRITS in London and the NFL Super Bowl in Detroit .
He has also worked on tours for U2 and the Rolling Stones, and designed shows for Johnny Hallyday at the Eiffel Tower and the Olympia Theatre in Paris , and multimedia spectacles for Jean-Michel Jarre at the Great Pyramids in Giza and the Acropolis. His recent work includes the Robbie Williams Close Encounters arena and stadium tour, the worldwide design of the nine ‘Live Earth’ stages and the Take That arena tour. He recently completed a multimedia outdoor show for Universal Studios Japan, which opened in Osaka in spring 2008.
He is also the production designer for the 2012 London Olympic Handover Ceremony at the closing ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
“Architecture involves the relationship between structure, space and people, all of which come to fruition with Cirque du Soleil, because it brings together many different disciplines to create a show. The challenge with CRISS ANGEL Believe is: How do you make magic truly magical in the context of a theatre? There’s been a very interesting learning curve on my part in understanding the basic techniques and requirements for magic, and discovering just how much effort it takes for Criss Angel to do things seemingly effortlessly.”
Ray Winkler was born in 1967 in Jakarta , Indonesia.