In the heat of the Arizona desert is a little-known utopia called Arcosanti. Once a year this concrete community – dreamt up by Italian architect Paolo Soleri – opens its doors to emerging art and music festival, FORM.
This immersive extravaganza recently had its fourth outing at the eco-development, headlined by Solange, Father John Misty, James Blake and Skrillex, and staged across Arcosanti’s futuristic architecture and stunning desert surrounds.
Photographer Alex Kacha made the personal pilgrimage at the behest of her uncle, architect Antonio Fragiacomo (1950-2017), a resident of Arcosanti in the 2000s. ‘He actually helped build the courtyard about 17 years ago’ she says.
Kacha adds: ‘FORM is unlike any festival I’ve been to before, and it reminded me of Day in the Desert in the Joshua Tree – it’s pretty small. Everyone who went there seemed to really appreciate the architecture, and just being there.
Paolo Soleri founded Arcosanti in the 1970s. After breaking away from his mentor, Frank Lloyd Wright, the Italian architect bought a parcel of land 65 miles north of Phoenix, in Arizona’s high desert, on which to start building and teaching a group of students his experimental views on urban and eco development.
Soleri was opposed to the happenstance sprawl of many north American cities, and envisaged Arcosanti as a self-sustaining, compact city where ecology and architecture combined. Over 7,000 volunteers have passed through the desert town over the last 50 years – including Fragiacomo – helping to construct its mixed-use buildings and public spaces where people live, work, visit and learn.
According to the city’s official website, some 50,000 tourists also journey to the desert Utopia every year – around 1,500 of them for FORM.
‘FORM now shares a small part of responsibility in the future of Arcosanti,’ festival co-founder Trayer Tryon told NPR. ‘FORM is a direct extension of how incredible Arcosanti is, and Arcosanti is a direct extension of how incredible its people are. So we want to help to see this place thrive and grow.’
Applications to attend Form 2018 are opening soon.
Read next: Music festivals in extraordinary places