Montreux Jazz Heritage Lab II

Immersive, Installation, Sound
Inclusive Audiences, Reviving Digitized Heritage

What factors foster the design of an immersive group experience of audiovisual archives?

Montreux Jazz Heritage Lab II

Open to the public in the Montreux Jazz Café at EPFL, this installation, presenting almost all of the archives of the Montreux Jazz Festival, can accommodate twenty people and gives an unprecedented sense of immersion.

Montreux Jazz Heritage Lab II

The world’s largest audiovisual archives of blues, jazz and rock live recordings are not only listed in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register, they have also now been digitized. Eight years of work under the coordination of the Metamedia Center at the EPFL, technological development and scientific research have transformed the original material into an information system. But how to revive these archives? Research conducted by the EPFL+ECAL Lab in close collaboration with ALICE (EPFL’s Architectural Space Conception Laboratory) set out to create a unique, specific experience, rather than mimicking the past.

Montreux Jazz Heritage Lab II

Several principles guided the EPFL+ECAL Lab and ALICE in this proposition. First, to enhance immersion. The side walls of the space are made up of mirrors which reflect the central image. The space seems to expand and the concert grows. The immersion is strengthened by the display of additional information on music, iconic visuals and anecdotes revealing the festival’s history and unique identity.

Sound acts also as a key factor for the immersion, involving EPFL research labs and innovative companies. The installation includes 3D sounds with full virtual reconstruction of Montreux Jazz old venues.

The simple yet sophisticated geometry of the installation is also key to the experience. The screen is a torus segment offering a variety of views to visitors from inside and outside the building. ALICE’S screen design enhances proximity to the stage by creating a sense of depth. Its physical texture improves the perception of the old standards, gives a tangible physical existence of the screen and contributes to the overall acoustic performance.

Finally, the browsing system helps to create an overview of the archive’s rich content. Over 44,000 songs are at the users’ fingertips with a design reminiscent of a music score.

The Montreux Jazz Heritage Lab II has been open to the public at the Montreux Jazz Café at EPFL since 2016.



Nicolas Henchoz

Project Management & Engineering Lead

Dr Cédric Duchêne

Design Lead

Tommaso Colombo

Research Assistant & UI Design

Karian Før

Senior Computer Scientists

Delphine Ribes, Guillaume Bonnier

Software Engineering

David Roulin

Product Design

Susanne Schneider



Architecture Curator

Pr Dieter Dietz

Senior Research Architect

Rudi Nieveen


Manon Fantini


Yannick Claessens, Javier Puchalt



Operations and Development Manager

Alain Dufaux

IT Manager, Project Coordinator, Digitization

Igor Ristic

Senior Developer, Database

Olivier Bruchez

Senior Developer, Media File Manager

Gregory Marti

Documentalist, Song Indexing

Sarah Artacho

Technology Watcher, Quality Control

Caryl Jones

Archivist, Picture Digitization & Anecdote Creation

Julien A. Raemy

Archivist, Picture Digitization & Tagging

Céline Racine



Acoustic Scientists

Dirk Schröder, Sönke Pelzer, Fabian Knauber


Photography Credits

© EPFL+ECAL Lab / Joël Tettamanti

Direct download