New York City landmark is reborn as Hall Des Lumières

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For the first time, an immersive digital experience of great artists’ work is coming to North America from Culturespaces, France’s leading private manager of museums and cultural heritage sites. Culturespaces, the creator and producer behind the famed Atelier des Lumières in Paris, marries its shows to historic places that it redesigns and reimagines as permanent destinations.

Teaming with the global leader in events, media, fashion and sports, IMG, Culturespaces is restoring and renovating more than 33,000 square feet within the historic Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank opposite Manhattan’s City Hall Park to serve as Hall des Lumières, which will open in summer 2022 with Gustav Klimt: Gold in Motion as its inaugural installation. Hall des Lumières is the first permanent, purpose-designed center in the United States from Culturespaces, the company that originated the current wave of immersive digital art experiences.

As Hall des Lumières, the beautifully ornate former teller hall and vault level of the landmarked 1912 building will be home to experiences conceived as artistic creations in themselves: glowing, animated, 30-foot-high custom displays of images from celebrated paintings, synchronized to a soaring original musical soundtrack and perfectly mapped to the richly decorated marble walls, towering columns, stained glass skylights and coved ceilings. 

Gustav Klimt: Gold in Motion, a thematic journey through the golden, sensuous and revolutionary art of the Viennese painter, is being created exclusively for Hall des Lumières by an artistic team led by Gianfranco Iannuzzi. Iannuzzi’s original immersive experience of the work of Vincent van Gogh, reinterpreted specially for Culturespaces’ Atelier des Lumières in Paris, has attracted as many as 1.4 million visitors a year. 

Hall des Lumières will present entirely new and bespoke digital art experiences based on the work of world-renowned artists every ten to twelve months.

Advance registration for tickets for the Gustav Klimt: Gold in Motion digital experience begins today on the Hall des Lumières website, www.halldeslumieres.com. Hours of operations and ticketing information will be announced in the coming weeks.

Bruno Monnier, formerly in charge of special projects within France’s Ministry of Culture, and who founded Culturespaces in 1990, said, “Our company’s experience in managing sites such as the Musée Jacquemart-André in Paris and the Hôtel de Caumont in Aix-en-Provence brought us to understand the hunger of a broad public for cultural experiences that stand on their own as meaningful and engaging, and that might encourage and deepen people’s encounters with the artworks in museums. Out of that insight came the success of the Atelier des Lumières in Paris, our first marriage between digital art and a significant historic space. We are proud and excited to join with the outstanding team at IMG to inaugurate our first American center, created within the evocative setting of a Manhattan tower, opening with Gustav Klimt.

Stephen Flint Wood, Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Arts & Entertainment Events at IMG, said, “When we surveyed the burgeoning field of immersive art experiences, we saw many companies trying to replicate the magic of Culturespaces’ digital art centers, but they are the only one committed to creating true cultural destinations, where people of all ages can come again and again to engage with digital creations that are moving, mind-opening and thoroughly interwoven with an authentic sense of historic place. We have chosen to partner with Culturespaces because there is no other company like it, and no destination in the U.S. to compare with Hall des Lumières.”

Accompanying the Gustav Klimt: Gold in Motion digital experience at Hall des Lumières will be a shorter, complementary digital experience based on works by one of Klimt’s successors, Friedensreich Hundertwasser. Also on view will be a presentation about the history and design of the Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank, one of the first skyscrapers built in the Beaux-Arts style, and a display of Klimt paintings shown at actual scale, with information about the museums where they can be seen. In addition, guests will also be able to enjoy a contemporary creation by the interdisciplinary studio Nohlab, titled 5 Movements, which guides visitors to explore space and time using five different types of motion of the performer’s body movements.

Other destinations within the international Culturespaces network include:

  • Atelier des Lumières, created in a 19th-century ironworks in the heart of Paris
  • Carrières des Lumières in Les Baux-de-Provence, France, developed in the white limestone quarries where Jean Cocteau set his classic film The Testament of Orpheus
  • Bassins des Lumières in Bordeaux, France, at 140,000 square feet the world’s largest digital art center, built in a former submarine base
  • Bunker des Lumières in an old military blockhouse on the island of Jeju, in South Korea
  • Théâtre des Lumières, an early 20th century cabaret and theatre, in Seoul, South Korea, opening at the end of May
  • Infinity des Lumières at the foot of the famous Burj Khalifa tower, located in the Dubai Mall (UAE), which boasts more than 80 million visitors every year
  • and the new Fabrique des Lumières, created from a 19th-century industrial building near the historic center of Amsterdam, in the Netherlands

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