Montreux Jazz Heritage Lab

Immersive, Installation, Sound
Inclusive Audiences, Reviving Digitised Heritage

How audiovisual archives be revived through an immersive installation?

Released in 2012, the Montreux Heritage Lab, was the first installation in a series of collaborations between the EPFL+ECAL Lab and the Montreux Jazz Festival archives. Taking the most important digitised audiovisual audiovisual heritage of jazz, blues and rock concerts, the project offers an immersive experience which revitalises our bond to such heritage.

Montreux Jazz Heritage Lab

The Montreux Jazz Digital Project aimed to digitise all the archives of the Festival since 1967; over 5000 hours of concerts recorded with a pioneering spirit by using the best technical resources of the time. This work integrates technologies developed at EPFL laboratories in order to enrich and enhance this legacy.

The EPFL+ECAL Lab was tasked to explore a way of transforming this heritage into an immersive experience. Research was conducted in close collaboration with EPFL’s Space Conception Lab, ALICE, in charge of working on the physical dimension of the experience. Several other laboratories also contributed to this project with their expertise in the fields of acoustics (LEMA), signal processing (LTS2) and audiovisual communication (LCAV).

Montreux Jazz Heritage Lab
Montreux Jazz Heritage Lab

The result of this journey is a bespoke installation that creates a unique viewing experience of concerts past. Yet, it does not aim to recreate the original concert: the real presence of musicians cannot be replaced, nor the collective emotion of a 3000 people crowd, nor the unique atmosphere of an evening at the Festival. Instead, it paves the way for digital formats to allow you to travel amidst an almost infinite heritage, to cross decades, to evoke the ties between musicians and concerts and to access much more information. The acoustic insulation also reveals the details of a particular sound, takes diverse perspectives and close‐up cameras into account and allows associating different songs and concerts during a more attentive second listening.

Conceived by Cem Sever, interaction designer, and Daniel Tamburrino, engineer, the interface effectively fits into the overall physical experience of its location, its interaction scenarios and its visual representations.

The user can thus be guided by a “discovery” mode proposed by the system. They can also search for concerts and artists. Furthermore, users can benefit from recommendations based on musical content. By allowing two users to simultaneously search and compose a playlist together, the interface encourages them to interact. The work done on the gestural interface, which enables “sending” a concert to the screen with a movement, provides intuitive and fun transitions.

The Montreux Jazz Heritage Lab reflects not only architectural, but also constructive virtuosity. The 7x8m module was designed and produced by the Space Conception Lab ALICE at EPFL. Created to be easily constructed and deconstructed with a unique assembly system, the structure highlights the importance of the relationship between the inside and the outside, the transition between the real world and the virtual one. Deep‐rooted on a principle of interaction, this work deals with the impact of space, light and human relations on the perception of content.

By combining architecture, interaction design and new technologies, the Montreux Jazz Heritage Lab showcases the power, richness and uniqueness of this special digital content.

Montreux Jazz Heritage Lab

The Montreux Jazz Heritage Lab was released in 2012.

Direction & Coordination

Nicolas Henchoz

Interaction design

Cem Sever


Daniel Tamburrino, Gavrilo Bozovic




Pr Dieter Dietz, Olivier Ottovaere, Charlotte Erckrath, Lukas Lenherr, Tibo Smith




Hervé Lissek, Cédric Monchâtre



Overall coordination of the Montreux Jazz Digital Project

Alexandre Delidais


With the support of

Mr Vasily Shahnovskiy
Mrs Theresa Rydge


Photography Credits


Video Credits


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