Theatre Projects transforms museums across Europe and beyond

February 28, 2017

Given Theatre Projects’ 60 years of experience and more than 1,500 projects, you would expect—and you’d be right—that you can find the results of our work in some of the world’s most celebrated opera houses, concert halls, and drama theatres. What you might not expect is you can also find our handiwork in a growing number of new and renovated museums around the globe. From flexible performance spaces to highly specialized equipment, acoustic treatments, and sound isolation, Theatre Projects is helping to make these cultural destinations more captivating, versatile, and welcoming spaces.

Theatre Projects and French architecture firm Studio KO are working on the Yves Saint Laurent Museum—part of the Jardin de Majorelle—a 12-acre botanical garden and museum complex in Marrakech, Morocco. 

The new 44,000-square-foot museum will include a 130-seat multipurpose auditorium and will offer a comprehensive look at the work of legendary fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent.  The $16.8 million museum is slated to open in 2017 and will feature more than 5,000 items of clothing, 15,000 couture accessories, and tens of thousands of sketches and archival items.

The museum’s multipurpose space will be used as a film room, recital hall, and lecture hall featuring cutting edge AV and lighting systems and adjustable acoustics. The multi-use nature of the room presented Theatre Projects’ team with both theatre design and acoustic challenges.

“The integration of state-of-the-art systems and variable acoustics in such a reverberant space was a feat that we all have reveled in,” Findlay Ross, project manager, said. “The small gem of a room will crystallize what Theatre Projects does best: take stringently diverse brief criteria and make them work, whatever the scale of the project.”

In Paris, the city where Yves Saint Laurent made his name as one of world’s most groundbreaking designers, another museum dedicated to his life, legacy, and influence is currently in construction. Our acoustics team is working on a renovation and conversion of the designer's former studio to adapt the space into a 5,000-square-foot museum exhibiting more than 20,000 couture pieces and accessories. The Paris Yves Saint Laurent Museum will feature sketches, models, and photographs and will allow the public to tour the salon where he worked. 

Eight hundred miles from Paris, in Vienna, Austria, we're are at work within another museum, collaborating with Hoskins Architects and Ralph Appelbaum Associates to create a new 150-seat performance space as part of a renovation of the Weltmuseum. When it reopens, the museum will feature 14 new exhibition spaces, a new lobby, café, and a new performance space that will allow the museum to host lectures, discussions, and performances, greatly expanding the institution’s scope and outreach. The museum, which houses the largest collection of ethnological artifacts in Austria, is situated entirely inside the historic Hofburg Palace and required a subtle approach to incorporate the modern galleries and performance space within the historic building form while maintaining a coherent architectural language. The renovated facility is due to open in the fall of 2017.

“In a museum project, if you’ve noticed the acoustics, you’ve failed. So, unlike a concert hall, it’s about disappearing in the space. No noise disturbing the experience, no excessive reverberance, no vibration perceived,” said Sébastien Jouan, Theatre Projects’ principal acoustic consultant. 

In addition to our ongoing permanent museum projects, Theatre Projects’ work has been on display—however inconspicuously—in a number of museums across Europe, as our Paris-based acoustics team has shaped the aural environments for several popular temporary and touring museum exhibits.

At London’s Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), we provided the sound insulation, room acoustic control, and room reverberation control for the new exhibition You Say You Want a Revolution? Records & Rebels 1966-70, which explores five years of explosive political, social, and cultural change through the era’s fashion, music, films, and artwork.

The retrospective exhibition was curated by Geoff Marsh and Vicky Broackes and designed by Nissen Richards Studio in collaboration with Theatre Projects and Sennheiser Audio.

Running until late February 2017, the exhibition explores in exhaustive detail five of the most revolutionary and tenuous years in modern history, using more than 350 artifacts from the counterculture movement—everything from suits worn on the cover of Sgt. Pepper's to fragments of Jimi Hendrix’s guitar and an Andy Warhol Campbell’s Soup can-patterned dress. 

Our team is also working on the next exhibition at V&A— stay tuned to learn more.

In 2016 our acoustics team worked with IECONS Consultants on another interactive exhibit titled EXHIBITIONISM. The show, which ran from May to September 2016 at London’s Saatchi Gallery, tracked 50 years of the Rolling Stones’ groundbreaking music and style. Immersed in film and audio clips, concert footage, and interviews, visitors were able to roam two floors and nine galleries littered with more than 500 items from the band’s personal collection. Visitors had the opportunity to step through intricately crafted environments simulating scenes like the Stones’ trash-strewn flat in 1960s Kensington, a raucous backstage frenzy before a concert, and an intimate recording studio session. In each gallery, the buzz of amplifiers, chanting of crowds, and street sounds of 1960’s London helped transport museum-goers to revolutionary points in the Stones’ history with spectacular detail and realism.

Theatre Projects was also on the winning team for the design of the new Guggenheim Museum, in Helsinki, Finland. From a field of more than 1,700 international firms, the team led by Paris architect, Moreau Kusunoki Architects was awarded the prized and highly publicized project. The project is currently awaiting funding.





Theatre Projects transforms museums across Europe and beyond
Credit: Courtesy of Brunswick Group
Theatre Projects transforms museums across Europe and beyond
Credit: Courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum
Theatre Projects transforms museums across Europe and beyond
Credit: Courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum
Theatre Projects transforms museums across Europe and beyond
Credit: Courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum