8 May 2024

The LUME and Grande Experiences Brings Da Vinci to Life

In a celebration of innovation, art and the timeless genius of Leonardo da Vinci, THE LUME Melbourne has opened an unparalleled showcase featuring the world’s largest multisensory gallery. Created by Grande Experiences with spatial audio technology and sound design partner Des O’Neill at aFX Global, along with the expertise ENCIRCLED, ‘Leonardo da Vinci – 500 Years of Genius’ is also set to go on tour enabling people to experience a spectacular and vivid encounter with the life and work of the original Renaissance man.

‘Leonardo da Vinci – 500 Years of Genius’ at THE LUME Melbourne, located in the Melbourne Convention Centre, is an immersive exhibition created and produced by Grande Experiences with Biblioteca Ambrosiana, the custodians of Leonardo’s original manuscripts, the Codex Atlanticus, housed in Milan. The gateway to Leonardo’s life and legacy is a colossal 3,000 sqm/four-storey high multisensory gallery that envelops visitors in an immersive journey, engaging all the senses with sights, sounds, scents, touch and taste that recreate the ambiance of the Renaissance.

Da Vinci’s Codex Atlanticus makes history

This is the first time in history that Da Vinci’s Codex Atlanticus has been displayed in Australia; an unprecedented feat that comes after over a decade of dedicated relationship-building underscoring THE LUME Melbourne’s commitment to bringing this extraordinary new experience to Australia.

Craig Smith, Grande Experiences’ Head of Production, Operations & Technology explains, “Several years ago, when looking for a spatial audio solution for THE LUME Melbourne, aFX Global and ENCIRCLED were among the first companies we spoke to. Barco’s IOSONO quickly became the solution due to its workflows and easy integration into our existing audio systems. Since then, aFX Global has worked with us on content development and deployment to our IOSONO systems, all supplied by ENCIRCLED.”

Rather than the fixed listening position of most galleries, THE LUME Melbourne’s immersive space offers over 3,000sqm of listening area. Ensuring a spatial experience for all guests regardless of their location in the gallery while staying in context to the video was key to the project’s planning.

Sound design for Leonardo da Vinci – 500 Years of Genius

The score was curated and designed by Grande Experiences’ in-house music director Ben Crook, who worked closely with Des O’Neill, co-founder aFX Global and experienced sound designer, who explained: “Our task was to create custom spatial audio for every surface.”

The spatial audio system designed by Grande Experiences and Des O’Neill with support from ENCIRCLED for the venue’s launch in 2021 provides the foundation for THE LUME Melbourne’s sound designers and technicians to tailor bespoke experiences for each new exhibition. A key requirement was all system processing is done via IOSONO, utilising addressable filters on each of the outputs and localising the audio in the room live through SAW.

Jan Langhammer, joint managing director at ENCIRCLED explains, “A ‘global map’ provides quick access to all the loudspeakers throughout the venue with provision for separate spaces like feature projection locations, the Mezzanine and the 360 Room to each have their own immersive loudspeaker arrangements. From a content perspective we can control the audio playback in all these areas – some share the same content; others play individual soundtracks. Since the venue’s opening, we’ve seen three major content updates and a number of ad-hoc events with special audio needs produced at THE LUME Melbourne thanks to the flexibility of IOSONO rendering and the forward-thinking sound design of the original loudspeaker layout.”

According to Smith with each new experience at THE LUME Melbourne Grande has worked with Des O’Neill at aFX Global on the localisation of the spatial audio “Their experience both as sound designers and IOSONO specialists made it possible for such major works to be done on a tight schedule,” he said.

Max Röhrbein, joint managing director at ENCIRCLED, said, “This project has taken immersive experiences to new heights, thanks to the vision of Grande Experiences, the brilliance of sound design by aFX Global and cutting-edge audio processing powered by IOSONO. ‘Leonardo da Vinci—500 Years of Genius’ may be the best, but it is only the latest in an important trend which elevates audio to at least on par with the visual experience to breathe new life and astonishing insights into historical artifacts.”

Following the overwhelming success of the exhibition in Melbourne, Grande Experiences are now taking ‘Leonardo da Vinci—500 Years of Genius’ on tour with a carefully redesigned and modular set-up once again based on aFX Global spatial audio and IOSONO systems for maximum flexibility.

Craig Smith explains, “Given that many of the touring venues will be smaller than THE LUME Melbourne, the exhibition design has to work within a variety of spaces and always with the visitor’s enjoyment at the centre of what we do.”

Craig Smith continues, “As industry pioneers, we’ve consistently upheld a standard of quality and professionalism. Through our dedication to storytelling, we aim to create immersive journeys that seamlessly blend art and technology. We’ve had the privilege of completing this process over 250 times across six continents. With this longevity of experience, our team ensures smooth and efficient installations for all venues, including those with delicate infrastructure and heritage buildings. We deeply value collaboration with our technical and design partners, promoters, licensees, and hosts, prioritising the visitor experience above all else.”


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