Roger Tallon: Archives in Motion

AI, Controller, VR
Reviving Digitised Heritage

How can archives in virtual reality support a physical exhibition experience?

Roger Tallon: Archives in Motion

Unveiling the hidden face of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, the installation Roger Tallon: Archives in Motion paves the way to previously inaccessible knowledge. This immersive experience highlights the work of the iconic French designer and invites the audience to explore his vast collection. In partnership with the museum, the EPFL+ECAL Lab studied this complex world of drawings, sketches, images and texts to create an unprecedented virtual universe of the physical archive.

Roger Tallon: Archives in Motion

It is estimated that just 5% of museum pieces are ever actually on show. How then could more of these be shown to the public? Digital archives are a step in the right direction, but when confronted with huge archives on the internet, it is hard to know where to start. Therefore, this project explored an innovative use of virtual reality to highlight a digital archive collection within a physical exhibition.

Visitors knowledge about the designer increases after using the VR installation.

Roger Tallon: Archives in Motion

The result is a virtual world in which visitors immerse themselves in the heart of a library. The entire collection is then set in motion to enable them to understand its diversity, richness and how it echoes with current innovation.

Visitors may explore the material more in depth at any time by stopping on a specific project. The system fosters a new view of archive material — no longer a conventional method of consultation, but a discovery tool based on the user’s overall perception.

Building a virtual architecture to display a large physical database has become a design project in itself. This research allowed not only to enhance the heritage of the prolific French designer, but also to generate a system which can subsequently be applied to other collections, be they public or private. Treasures hitherto safely tucked away on shelves for preservation will thus be able to come back into the light in a new form.


This experimental installation was presented at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris during the exhibition, Roger Tallon, Le Design en Mouvement in 2019.


Nicolas Henchoz

Project Management

Marius Aeberli

Research Assistant

Elise Migraine

Virtual Environment Design

Elise Migraine in cooperation with Béatrice Durandard

Software Engineering

Delphine Ribes with contributions from Yves Kalberer

VR Mask Design & Scenography

Béatrice Durandard

Sound Design

Dr Cédric Duchêne

Photography & Video Credits

© EPFL+ECAL Lab / Arthur Touchais


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