Visual Mapping At Montreal’s Quartier des Spectacles

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

This isn’t new, but it’s the first time we’ve received some details on this technology that helps draw locals and tourists to Quartier des Spectacles, Montreal’s entertainment district, in the heart of downtown.

The Quartier des Spectacles is the centre for Montreal’s numerous international Festivals and its surrounded buildings are occupied by various culturally-focused companies and theatres.

Within this square kilometer, audiences are captivated by the extraordinary visual creations displayed on several buildings via 26 various Christie projectors.

“This is truly a unique projection mapping display with artists from everywhere using the Montreal buildings as their canvas to develop new ways of delivering creative content,” says Mikaël Charpin, assistant director of Luminous Pathway, Quartier des Spectacles Partnership.

Ivan Klein, technical director and project manager, Quartier des Spectacles Partnership, says, “The objective is to provide artists with a toolbox they can use for projection mapping, making the Quartier des Spectacles a creative lab while enhancing the buildings in respect with their nature. Every image must meet certain criteria before it is considered for the display and the videos have to express the theme of the building they are displayed upon.

“For example, the Science building of the University of Québec in Montreal projection mapping theme is ‘Learning and Knowledge.’ And in a beautiful meeting of projection mapping and music, the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal (Montreal Symphony Orchestra) featured a musician playing the piano with the notes and vibrations displaying on the building. When people touched a musical note, the sound is transformed into a visual happening and it is an entertaining way to become initiated to the music.”

The managers researched various projector manufacturers and, says Klein, “Not only are Christie projectors excellent quality and manufactured in Canada, a real priority for us is to have a very good service provider. Christie delivers that service and is very close by.”

With the city’s harsh winters and stifling summers, keeping everything running smoothly could present a challenge, but not for Christie technology.

“Running since mid-2011, the projectors have worked beautifully for the last 18 months,” says Klein. “In fact, the show is even more magical in the winter with the reflections in the snow and ice. From December to February, the show’s theme is ‘Lighting Therapy’ and visitors come to live an energizing experience that shows winter’s inspiring side, through the magic of light.”

“This is a 365-day-a-year project and everything has to work properly with no down time,” says Charpin. “It is important for these building owners to know their building is lit every night and with Christie, we have a company with good value and reputation – and with durable products. It has really caught on because when building owners see the projection mapping on someone’s wall, they then want us to use their wall for a presentation. Since we started this, we have definitely seen that it has helped revitalize the area.”

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