Montreux Heritage Lab V2 is an immersive audiovisual experience that places nearly 6,000 hours of archive footage from the Montreux Jazz Festival at the fingertips of the public. Made possible with the support of Audemars Piguet, the viewing booth was designed and built on-site at the EPFL + ECAL Lab through collaboration with Metamedia Center and the ALICE laboratory.
The collection comprises thousands of hours of recordings by the finest musicians on the planet. It is the first audiovisual library to have earned the accolade of UNESCO Memory of the World.It all began when Audemars Piguet joined forces with Montreux Sounds and the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) to digitise, restore and preserve the treasured archives of the Montreux Jazz Festival, which was founded by the late Claude Nobs exactly 50 years ago.
Work to preserve this legacy began in 2008 and is almost complete. More than 11,000 hours of video recordings and 6,000 hours of high-quality audio recordings have been preserved in uncompressed digital formats utilizing the very latest technology. Since 2010, this unique collection has used as a database for a number of research projects at EPFL.
The study conducted by the EPFL+ECAL Lab and the ALICE architecture studio ALICE (at EPFL), proposes a new vision for this digitised heritage. The aim is not to reconstitute the past, but instead to create a specific experience for a digitised archive. The first private booth was launched in 2012 and awarded the Design Preis Schweiz the following year.
A ramped-up version of the booth, dubbed Montreux Heritage Lab V2, opens to the public in September in the brand new Montreux Jazz Café at EPFL.
The researchers worked tirelessly to come up with a design that did justice to the content and its cultural value. Inside the booth, the experience taps into the essence of the archive: images and music. The focus is the flawlessly reproduced live footage, matched to the audio sound that was recreated to perfection by the finest sound scholars on campus. Horizontal mirror partitions, that relay the image shown on the central screen, heighten the sense of immersion in the space. The outer design of the booth is geometrically simple yet sophisticated.