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The immersive installation Montreux Jazz Heritage Lab 2 revives 50 years of jazz history

Switzerland Architecture News - Dec 6, 2016 - 18:41   14154 views

The immersive installation Montreux Jazz Heritage Lab 2 revives 50 years of jazz history

The Montreux Jazz Heritage Lab 2 is a research program at the crossroads between architecture, design and technology. The program is led by the EPFL+ECAL Lab in close collaboration with the architectural lab ALICE, at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), one of the two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology.

This new permanent and immersive installation is hosted within the new campus building designed by the architect Kengo Kuma, and situated just next to the Montreux Jazz Café. Rather than mimicking the past, the project leads the audience on a unique journey through 50 years of history and 5.000 hours of audiovisual recordings made at the Montreux Jazz Festival. Visitors truly feel that they are live on stage with Ella Fitzgerald, standing beside Miles Davis’ trumpet, or composing Smoke on the Water together with Deep Purple.

The immersive installation Montreux Jazz Heritage Lab 2 revives 50 years of jazz history

Image © Joël Tettamanti / EPFL+ECAL Lab

After an 8-year long preservation project kick-started by Audemars Piguet, Montreux Sounds and EPFL, visitors can now delve into 50 years of concerts and have world’s largest collection of live jazz, blues and rock recordings at their fingertips - the first audiovisual library ever to be listed in the UNESCO "Memory of the World" Register.

The immersive installation Montreux Jazz Heritage Lab 2 revives 50 years of jazz history

Image © Joël Tettamanti / EPFL+ECAL Lab

''The original concert experience is set against the backdrop of Lake Geneva and the mountains, the atmosphere of festival-goers in their thousands, the unfolding of events on stage, and above all the flesh-and-blood presence of the musicians. We can’t recreate this. Instead, we need to make the most of what digital has to offer, on order to create an alternative, complementary experience,'' says Nicolas Henchoz, the project curator.

The immersive installation Montreux Jazz Heritage Lab 2 revives 50 years of jazz history

Image © Joël Tettamanti / EPFL+ECAL Lab

Several principles have driven the multiple design and research choices: from a deep desire to preserve the recordings’ cultural value and content by keeping the original footage unaltered and prevalent, to the enhancement of the immersive experience. 

To boost the power of the central images, the sidewalls of the installation consist of mirrored panels featuring a LED light grid, which reveals data and visuals about the concerts.

The immersive installation Montreux Jazz Heritage Lab 2 revives 50 years of jazz history

Image © Joël Tettamanti / EPFL+ECAL Lab

The double curvature of the central screen takes the form of a torus segment, which creates a sense of depth without generating fatigue or queasiness. This sophisticated geometry offers a variety of views both from the Montreux Jazz Café and the external square, the heart of the university campus. 

The partial, intriguing transparency towards the café creates an enveloping atmosphere during the day and illuminates the campus at night. The set-up simultaneously provides an intimate space within which to view the archive, and sparks broader dialogue with its environment.

The immersive installation Montreux Jazz Heritage Lab 2 revives 50 years of jazz history

Image © Joël Tettamanti / EPFL+ECAL Lab

Last, but not least, the building system contributes to the sonic environment by hosting speakers for 3D sound and absorbing sound reflections in the installation space. An innovative browsing system permits the public to scroll a horizontal timeline and choose between over 44.000 tracks or performances, in a simple touch.

The immersive installation Montreux Jazz Heritage Lab 2 revives 50 years of jazz history

Image © Joël Tettamanti / EPFL+ECAL Lab

Following its public opening, the Montreux Jazz Heritage Lab 2 will continue to evolve. It will serve as a tool to explore new research issues, provide a testing ground for designers, and also observe users’ perceptions, on order to better understand the impact of immersive devices.

The immersive installation Montreux Jazz Heritage Lab 2 revives 50 years of jazz history

Image © Michel Denancé

The immersive installation Montreux Jazz Heritage Lab 2 revives 50 years of jazz history

Image © Michel Denancé

The immersive installation Montreux Jazz Heritage Lab 2 revives 50 years of jazz history

Multi-layer map

The immersive installation Montreux Jazz Heritage Lab 2 revives 50 years of jazz history

Campus map

The immersive installation Montreux Jazz Heritage Lab 2 revives 50 years of jazz history

Cosande plan 

The immersive installation Montreux Jazz Heritage Lab 2 revives 50 years of jazz history

Geometry principle 

Project Facts

Year: 2016 

Design research on emerging technologies: Nicolas Henchoz, Cédric Duchêne, Tommaso Colombo, Karian Foehr, Delphine Ribes, Guillaume Bonnier, David Roulin, Susanne Schneider, EPFL + ECAL LAB 

Design research on the conception of space: Dieter Dietz, Rudi Nieveen, Manon Fantini, Javier Puchalt, Yannick Claessens, ALICE EPFL 

Coordination Montreux Jazz Digital Project: Alain Dufaux, Igor Ristic, Olivier Bruchez, Gregory Marti, Sarah Artacho, Caryl Jones, Julien Raemy, Céline Racine, MetaMedia Center EPFL 

3D Sound: Dirk Schröder, Sönke Pelzer, Fabian Knauber 

Sponsors: Audemars Piguet, HGST, Foundation Ernst Göhner, Foundation Lombard Odier, Loterie Romande, Private donors 

Technological partners: Claude Nobs Foundation (preservation & valorisation Montreux Jazz Festival Archives) HGST (storage Montreux Jazz Festival Archives) Illusonic (upmix stereo sound) PSI Audio (speakers) Stahl & Traumfabrik (construction) 3D précision (3D printing aluminium) Lang (LED technology) Lumens8 (video installations) Burmester Event (audiovisual programming) Rückstuhl (acoustic carpet)

Top image © Joël Tettamanti / EPFL+ECAL Lab

> via EPFL+ECAL Lab/ALICE