MASTER THE POWERS OF LIGHT

MASTER THE POWERS OF LIGHT is an original method of lighting design imagined by ScenoLight Atelier breaking down our approach into five domains of expertise that guide us to master the light phenomenon and its powers applied to space.

The Powers of Light

We have defined five key powers of light that are always applied in space design, dim up and down to create the perfect balance or overlapping and variable in a space.

FUNCTIONNALITY | The primary power of light is enabling legibility, for our safety in movements also our activities and tasks executions.

ENHANCEMENT | We perceive our environment because there is light, a power applies to emphasis space and transform his appearance.

COMFORT | Light impacts our mood and health, a power to control for adequate atmosphere while insuring our welfare and the environment preservation.

ATTRACTIVITY | Light is the most powerful eye catcher, essential for communication and to be memorable yet iconic.

EXPERIENCE | Light generates emotions and stimulates our imagination, a power used to convey stories and produce spectacular.

For this complex manipulation of the invisible we have created a range of creative and technical design pillars structured to control the light phenomenon and its powers.

The Light Phenomenon Unveiled

Lighting is one of the most fascinating phenomena known to humankind, playing a critical role in how we perceive and experience the world around us. As lighting designers this phenomenon is the backbone of our know-how.

But how this phenomenon exactly happens:

1. First a flux of energy is emitted from a powered system to spray into space, generally quantified at source in lumen.

2. Then the light waves impact matter, whose quantity is expressed in Lux / sqm, the illumination sequence.

3. Finally, these waves are reflected with alteration before being intercepted by our eyes, quantified in Candela this is the luminance sequence that activates our vision.

Major factors play a key role in how we perceive space: the lumen flux properties, the matter characteristics, and our vision abilities, so considering only Lux levels as targets is not sufficient. To truly capture the essence of space, we’ve developed an array of expertise that encompasses every aspect of the light phenomenon, and that guarantees accurate and creative lighting design for a lasting impact.

The Captivating Connection Between Lighting and Emotion

Flame is the origin of artificial light, and the origin of animated shadows, generating new images that stimulate the imagination.

Since then, light is linked to our common culture and emotional memories, as dark represents unknown and fear, light shows us the way and it’s safe.

The scale of human emotion is large and diverse, from a subtle sensation to memorable impression. It requires a sensitive knowledge about the psychological role of light to translate a mood into spatial atmosphere, and a talent for narration to convey stories with light that we manage with our expertise in scenography.

We master a powerful aspect of light to create emotions and develop imaginary, a key role in the sensory aspects of space design and the main one for experiential projects.

Prioritizing Health Through Thoughtful Lighting

The rhythm of sunlight is crucial for the balance of our life and our natural environment, with tempos scheduled on the constant evolution of light directions, color temperature and intensity. However, when this rhythm is disrupted, negative consequences, even extinction, can occur.

Artificial light, when done right, can mimic the benefits of natural light through a circadian rhythm approach, with great applications in the fields of wellness. But light also has invisible wavelengths and can generate light pollution. That’s why it’s essential to design lighting systems carefully, minimizing harmful effects on both our bodies and the environment.

Our expertise in this field encompasses various aspects, including managing color temperature, reducing glare, controlling luminance levels, ensuring high-quality light sources, and implementing effective control systems. We stay abreast of scientific research and technological advancements to strike the perfect balance between human needs and preserving the beauty of the natural night sky – a mesmerizing expression of light that everyone should have the chance to experience.

Reveal the Matter with Light.

Light is intangible and invisible, we “see the light” only through its interaction with matter, where materials, colors and textures interfere to finally reveal the physical space.

Our design approach merge light and matter, and the results are endless to reveal and transform our space perception: Play of colors, mirror effects, textures modeling, patterns projections, etc.

Lighting design mastering is then a lot about materials and color expertise, a combination of scientific knowledge and experimental process that allows us to push the limit of perfection to magnify space and generate wonder with the play of light.

Transforming Space Perception with Light

Our perception of space is shaped by the interplay of light and shadows. By understanding how light interacts with volumes, we have the ability to manipulate our perception of the world around us. To unlock the full potential of this dynamic duo, we’ve developed a three-step process.

First, we carefully sculpt the shadows and shades in a three-dimensional space, considering factors like illumination levels and light direction. Then, we strategically place the light source to achieve the desired effect, considering the unique characteristics of the space. Finally, we explore different approaches to integrating the lighting fixture itself, whether it’s hidden, seamlessly integrated, accentuated as a structural element, or used as an ornamental piece.

Merging light and space requires us to master both the intangible and tangible. Our expertise in architecture and scenography allows us to fully comprehend space and infuse theatrical illuminations effects, while our technical knowledge ensures precise and creative integration of light.

Light & Technology

Ultimately the lighting quality relies widely on the technology involved, that includes the luminaires, the control devices, cabling, and multiple accessories. This package is one of the most advanced technological sets in a project, with a concentration of more than thirty properties, specifications and certifications covering electrical, mechanical, optical, and electronic.

Our expertise in this field requires special scientific knowledge for our lighting engineers to analyze and test the products we apply in our design. Technology evolving constantly, we also keep track of the scientific research and manufacturers updates to understand the market evolution and to bring to our clients a clearer view between what is mostly trendy and what is established and durable.

Mastering lighting technology means for us providing the best solution that will fulfill together the design intents goals, the operational requirements, the maintenance constraints, and the budget

The design Process.

We have established three big sequences that rhythm our design process and involvement in a project.

The conceptual period first, from the context and program analysis till the approval of the strategy, the overall concept, and the budget target, in coordination with the other consultants with whom we link the overall nighttime experience from outdoor to indoor.

Then the technical period elevates the project to details drawings and documentation, in coordination with the electrical engineer to power and control our system, and with the operator and investor regarding the selection of the lighting and control solution. The final documents are formatted as tender documentation.

Finally, we ensure authorship supervision during the construction period, including shop drawings review and site visits at key stages. We also adjust the dimming schedules that will generate the lighting scenes, and we create original programming and media contents.

These three sequences can be divided up to a five phases mission, according to the scale and complexity of the project. We strongly advise involving us from concept till completion to ensure the reach of all project targets, and for the mastering of our art till the project is turn on!

Unlock the Powers of Light and Join us to Unleash Your Space’s Full Potential with ScenoLight Atelier

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Light Up the City: Dien Hong Park and Its Innovative Lighting Design Solutions

Lighting design is an essential component of creating a comfortable and inviting atmosphere in any space. When it comes to designing public spaces such as parks, the lighting plays an even more critical role in creating an environment that encourages people to come and enjoy the surroundings. Recently, our team of lighting designers had the opportunity to work on a unique project in the heart of Hanoi – a public park that required not only improved aesthetics but also a focus on the overall night-time atmosphere and the comfort of the visitors. In this blog post, we will take you through our journey of developing the perfect lighting strategy for this project.

The park in question was situated in the heart of the city and had a beautiful, iconic fountain that the city’s inhabitants adored. Our challenge was to integrate the newly designed lighting elements into the existing urban design while also ensuring that the overall aesthetics and comfort of the park were not disturbed. We started analyzing the site and the architecture’s context, which allowed us to craft a lighting concept that would enhance both the heritage of the site and the new urban design.

Our team put on the ‘theatrical lighting’ hat, focusing on creating a sense of drama and emotion in every area of the park. The iconic fountain was at the heart of this strategy. The fountain’s significance was highlighted by providing an architectural lighting solution that best enhances its aesthetical features and creates a visual stage, inviting visitors to come up close and appreciate it. The sense of theatricality and drama that we created drew visitors into the park and encouraged them to spend more time exploring its unique nighttime atmosphere.

One of our primary objectives was to ensure people’s comfort. Visitors need to feel safe and relaxed in the park’s environment, which is why we designed a lighting system that provides ample light to allow people to see comfortably while also offering an intimate and tranquil atmosphere that invites them to relax, socialize, and engage in different recreational activities within the park after sunset. With that, our lighting design created a balance between functional and comforting lighting that brought the park to life at night.

To integrate the lighting elements seamlessly into the park’s overall design, we collaborated with the park’s architect from DESO Architects. Together, we developed a vision for the park that balanced its historic significance and modern design through the lighting’s use. We also worked closely with landscape designers to ensure that the lighting solutions we proposed were natural-looking and complemented the park’s aesthetic elements such as trees, shrubs, and flowers.

Our project was successful as it delivered a completely new experience for the park’s inhabitants that was unique, beautiful and inviting. The lighting design brought life to the park after dark, enhancing its ambiance and comfort for the visitors. Theatrical lighting added drama and a sense of vibrancy that made the park a destination worth exploring at night. Additionally, the lighting concept harmoniously integrated the new urban design elements into the park’s existing heritage, creating a cohesive and attractive atmosphere that visitors would remember.

The successful implementation of the project demonstrated how critical lighting design is in making public spaces more inviting and comfortable at night. Our team’s approach of implementing a theatrical lighting concept that focused on the overall welfare of visitors and harmoniously integrating it into the park’s existing architectural design proved successful and contributed immensely to the project’s overall success. We believe that every public space should focus on creating an inviting and comfortable atmosphere and that it can only be successful with an appropriate lighting strategy. With this project, we hope to inspire other design and development professionals to prioritize delivering high-quality, comfortable, and inviting environments in their projects through the effective integration of lighting solutions.

Project Manager: PRX Vietnam, Paris Region Expertise
Urban Design: DE-SO Asia | Architect
Photography: Giuseppe De Francesco

ScénoLight Atelier has Illuminate Bangkok’s ARCHITECT EXPO 23!

ScénoLight Atelier made a big impact at the recent Architect 23 event in Bangkok, Thailand. Our co-founder Cyril, along with SLA BKK
Director Mr. Gap, lighting designer Ms. Pute, and account manager Ms. Valerie welcomed hundreds of visitors to our booth to exchange ideas and discuss how we empower architectural projects with light.

At ScénoLight, we’re passionate about designing lighting systems that can transform spaces into something truly unique. Our creative
director Cyril expressed this sentiment, noting, “light plays an important role in any architectural project.” We’re proud to have showcased our
recent projects and demonstrated our commitment to innovative lighting schemes. By participating in Architect 23, we not only shared our expertise but also learned about exciting new lighting design trends and potential collaborations.

Join us in mastering the powers of light and let ScénoLight Atelier elevate your next project.

 

 

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Sapa Rock N Ritual – A unique Theater in the middle of Vietnam Northern forest

Sapa Rock N Ritual is a theater project located on the Ham Rong mountain, in the northern region of Vietnam called Sapa, famous for its groundbreaking step rice field landscapes.

ScenoLight Atelier and its team of architects, scenographers, landscape and lighting designers, in collaboration with the show director and his artistic and technical team, has worked on this theater project for two years. Together we spent days on site to feel the atmosphere and learnt about the local traditions and materials that inspired the design and performance. One of the most sensitive aspects of our cooperative decision was the selection of theater location and direction, taking into account access constraints, view, climate, and beliefs. Our mutual thought leads us to consider the theater as a performance all by itself, providing a full experience focused on the four natural elements that created the legend of this magnetic site also known as the dragon head: rocks, air, water, and fire.

Back in our office, we carried out extensive research, combining traditional methods with a variety of parametric designs to generate multiple types of shapes that were meticulously installed on the natural topography. As a result, we came up with the concept of an open-air wooden structure connected to the rocks and floating in the landscape between the bamboo forests and the mountain’s peak. As a decorative but also structural element, the outline is covered by a marble string, inspired by the ethnic traditional textile patterns and jewelry.

We fully concentrated on the environment surrounding the theater, since the audience discovery experience begins at the lower level of the site’s path, which leads through the bamboo forest to the theater. The audience is then welcomed to enter inside the theater, which has an open-air lobby offering a spectacular panoramic view of the valley. After crossing the small footbridge over the landscape, the audience is invited to take their seats on the circus-style step benches arranged around the stage and facing an impressive rocks landscape. By night, the special lighting effect transforms it into a floating cloud between the mountain and the bamboo forest, highlighting the marbles, stone strings, and creating a magical landmark for the resort where it is installed.

The theater has 300 seats and an 80-square-meter stage, as well as a full set of lighting and sound equipment, and is covered by a tensile membrane roofing system and a curtain structure to enclose the space in the event of a blackout or for weather reasons. The backstage area, which includes a control room, is also accessible from both outside and inside the main volume. Every effort has been taken to create this theater as functional for the performers, technicians, and operation as possible even though the site and budget constraints are limitative.

VIETNAM DESIGN WEEK VMARK 2022

Cyril Lamy, our Creative Director, was invited to a meaningful seminar with the participation of the domestic and international Design Community in the VMARK Vietnam Design Week 2022, organized by the Design Association of Ho Chi Minh City (VDAS). The event took place at the most luxurious venue – HCMC GEM Center with great success. 

At VMARK Vietnam Design Week, Cyril and other speakers who are passionate and outstanding in Architect and Design had an opportunity to attend and share personal perspectives on the topic “Creative for Life”. The event also generated exciting activities and connections between large domestic and international businesses.

VMARK Vietnam Design Week 2022 welcomed a massive number of Architecture and Design enthusiasts, including University students, lecturers, and large domestic and international corporations. All of the missions of Architects and Designers are to add value to not only their clients but also to our lives, despite a variety of difficulties and challenges. As a result, the event was organized to contribute and strengthen Vietnam’s distinct conceptual identity, with the goal of ensuring that Vietnamese Design is recognized worldwide and sustainably developed.

SLA is grateful for the opportunity to attend a seminar of VDAS, where we were able to share our valuable design and architecture knowledge with other partnerships. We are looking forward to other related events that will cover a wide range of amazing and appealing topics, particularly in Lighting Design, which is our area of expertise; therefore, we will be able to share our comprehensive understanding and inspiration with anyone involved in lighting design, as this is not universally acknowledged in Vietnam.

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ARCHITAINMENT MEDIA FACADE FROM SLA DESIGNERS (CONCEPT)

The term Media façade has been used more and more in today’s world, it’s not only a stylistic feature anymore but an icon for the architecture itself. From the flashing illuminated advertising, Media façade is on the way to conversion and turned into a vast advertising medium, basically for sending messages. But the term Media façade is getting further nowadays with a more profound purpose rather than an advertising medium.

Photography courtesy of: extremediaLED; The Galleria (left to right)

Architainment Media Façade

Imagine any glimpse of a moment from humans can create a different effect on the Media façade. Technically speaking, any impulses from the surrounding area are transmitted into computer-aid graphics, thanks to the sensors. Hence, the content of the Media façade is driven by the visitors. Interactive media façade was the work of lighting designers, architects, engineers, mathematicians, and programmers. Once the night comes, the building is alive, the light show becomes the main attraction. Media façade, in general, can evoke diverse emotions, a message can be impactful delivered, and buildings can be distinct from city light pollution. All of those elements well-combined together into a new wave of lighting design art form – Architainment media façade. Briefly, Architainment is still sharing the same purpose with the Media façade – sending information but in a more subtle way. The Architainment façade is more similar to art installation, making the building iconic. As you can imagine the sharp line between media façade becomes blurry, thanks to technology and lighting designers.

Our Concept

SLA Designers has developed an interesting architainment façade concept for a building located in Ho Chi Minh city. Based on the architectural philosophy of the building, a contemporary Japanese concept, we generated many forms, shapes, and patterns for the façade lighting layout which was inspired by east-Asian daily objects and design language.

Lastly, we installed sensors in the main lobby to detect any vibration in the frequency of sound, talking, chit-chatting, or basic noises would be beautifully visualized via our lighting façade design. Eventually, the façade would feature a colorful sound wave, and anyone who appeared in the surrounding would feel the liveliness inside the building. That is likely to enhance the lighting design more profoundly and poetically. In addition, implementing volume light on the rooftop can create more connection between rooftop light and façade lighting.

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NIGHTSCAPE, A CREATIVE APPROACH FOR URBAN LIGHTING DESIGN

Besides the primary purpose of artificial light as it has been using nowadays for functional and security purposes, lighting also serves social and aesthetic functions by influencing how cities are used and perceived.
The urban perception after sunset is an important part of its character and take also a crucial role in tourism attraction. But to reach a level of global approach, the lighting master plan has to deal with multiple actors, private and governmental, which requires certain regulations not only technical, but also sensitive and creative. This approach has to takes into consideration the city landscape as a four dimensions public areas, the architectural structures at different space, which are the urban layout, literally the roads and scale, and the time, from the set to rise of the sun.

As creative lighting designers, we aim to think our projects with this global thinking, from the context analysis we extract the personality of the site that should be tells by night through a proper illumination, responding to the functional request with creative interpretation. To develop such lighting master plan we are used to work by layers of light, independently from the urban functions, but from a plastique point a of view, following four main approach: horizontals, vertical, landmarks and scenarios. Horizontal lighting give us a vision of the use of space. The lighting has brought by masts, bollards and trees are according to the traffic level and importance of the axis. Vertical lighting brings contrast and legibility at bigger scale to the urban landscape, some façades located on axis are then chosen to be light up because they are located on important sightlines and allow us to highlight some main crossroads and important activity zones. Landmarks lightings brings story in the nightscape, by generating breaks in terms of intensity, colors, or other lit effects, and also to create events.

Of course all this different layers have to be harmonized and in accordance with public safety, urban services as well as concern for consumption. But this functional aspect of the lighting should be forgotten from the user point of view, because the night ambient in our city are part of our culture, and lighting has big responsibility in the night environment sustainability.

Ha Long Premier Village Project

For this new urban area, SLA designers has been missioned to light the full urban areas, landscape and facades. First thing we had to consider is the position of the site on the sea side, it is why we proposed a global graduate illumination installation from the main road to the coast line, in order to avoid light pollution and to enjoy the stars sky. We also overlapped several horizontal layers, according to the different architectural styles of each zones, but still with a common logic, as a way to keep a general feeling of guidance and landmark. In terms of façade lighting, we chose to highlight the main roads façade with a strong reinforcement a the main gate. But inside the urban area, we selected only some facades because of their position and the visitor point of view. The general idea is to not overload the lighting, to generate contrast and maintain a graduation in the general illumination till very low luminance on the sea coast.

Writer: Phuc, Lighting Designer

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THE MAIN ACTORS IN THE LIGHTING INDUSTRY

As a Creative Lighting Designer, I would like to clarify some definitions of the various actors in the lighting industry, which owners, architects, landscape, and interior designers should know for dealing with their projects. This comes also from my experience working in Asia where there are still misunderstandings about the designer’s mission and some blur self-positioning of certain actors in this industry. But finally, the best option to get valuable lighting comes from the gathering of all these actors working together collaboratively.

Creative lighting designers

  • For a creative lighting designer, the starting point is the project design, a complex creative process considering all aspects of light: Space, physical, psychic, physiologic, engineering, and regulations.
  • The second step is technical development, including light calculations, implementation layouts, integration details, and the choice of light fixtures within the budget.
  • The third step is assistance in the choice of the proper supplier – contractors and the installation follow-up until the completion.

So, Creative Lighting Designers do not supply products but offer customized design services that they operate in close collaboration with other designer consultants. 

Lighting manufacturers / Lighting distributors

The starting points are the products and their possible applications. For creative lighting designers, a close collaboration with manufacturers and their distributors can be a key for some specific projects where bespoke luminaires need to be developed, and, in general, to keep a permanent update on the new products and get the best choice for our clients.

Manufacturers and distributors generally give lighting solution services. These are strictly technical studies to implement exclusively their products, also advice on the best design option and quantity is not the point. Here is where it makes a big difference with lighting design.

MEP engineers, Fitter and Electrical contractors

Creative lighting designers collaborate closely with engineers and consultants when it comes to electrical diagrams and control systems. Engineers also know how to calculate light distribution but only in 2D for general lighting in basic areas.

Then the contractors have the final responsibility of the shop drawings and coordination on site, still under the supervision of the Creative Lighting Designer till the last setup.

Writer: Cyril Lamy Founder & Creative Director of SLA designers / www.sladesigners.com

IMPORTANT FACTORS FOR A BESPOKE LAMP

SLA Designers have been facing many issues about bespoke decorative lighting that do not satisfy the interior designers’ expectations, the investors’ budget, or the lighting standard requirements.

Our analysis of this situation is that the technical development is being placed under the responsibility of the suppliers based on a concept provided by the interior designer, usually a 3D render with general dimensions and main materials. While as lighting designers, our task only consists of the light bulb specification, which is obviously a weak process because we are responsible for the lighting design but not in charge of elaborating and advising to improve the design and technology of the decorative lamps.

SLA’s bespoke design for a decorative table lamp in our lighting series called Chapeau

Creating a bespoke lamp requires specific skills combining aesthetic, lighting, and engineering approach, but the process to achieve a qualitative product and proper lighting effect is misunderstood and underestimated by our collaborators and clients. It is why we advocate being involved in product development for providing proper detailed documents to the manufacturers and delivering a professional product that will fit the design, the light, and safety regulations. We look forward to seeing the trends to pass the bespoke lighting design mission to a lighting expert becoming more popular and being considered essential.

Here are the main aspects that we consider for our bespoke lamp product studies:

  • Aesthetic and Design Accuracy
  • Light Source Technology
  • Safety and Responsibility
  • Ergonomic and Maintenance

AESTHETIC & ACCURANCY

Bespoke lamps should match the concept in terms of aesthetic and lighting effects to illustrate the storytelling of the whole project, which is very important. This way of approach is only successful when the bespoke lighting designers work closely with the project designers and the client to understand and exchange ideas, give pieces of advice on materials used, or follow up on the affordable budget for producing the lamps, this task is crucial and needs to be missioned to a professional lighting designer.

APPLIANCE UP-TO-DATE TECHNOLOGY

Light technology evolves a lot since the light bulb, even LED bulb, and we now have multiple options for an integrated customized light source for decorative lamps, particularly accurate for hotels. As lighting designers, we always think of the optimal experience for the users and bring delicate value to the projects. Decorative lighting is always an impression whether it is a huge glass pendant light in the hotel lobby or a bedside table lamp, when it is a decorative object, it catches attention. The technology used for the bespoke lamp cannot be underestimated because the lighting effect itself contributes directly to the common scenes of the environment. The lighting effect from every decorative or functional light needs to be able to expose its function and also merge.

Decorative and task lighting are synchronized with different scenario for the optimum of guest experience

SAFETY & RESPONSABILITY

We are aware that industrial design for lighting products requires high knowledge about materials’ performance with electricity, heat, and light. It comes to a serious safety engagement for tailor-made lamps in the operation process for hotels and resorts guestrooms. Accident consequences involve origin and quality certificate inspection, but who would take responsibility? Would it be the developer, the interior designer, the hotel operator, or the contractor? We should start thinking about this safety and responsibility for the advantage and the welfare of everyone involved.

ERGONOMIC & MAINTENANCE

A decorative lamp has to tolerate high manipulation from the users and for maintenance. This aspect of the product is a crucial section for hotels since it can be an issue to fix the lamp monthly or even weekly as it has not been designed for a highly demanding environment. Lighting designers are aware of this aspect and take into account these constraints of manipulation by the users and the durability target.

SLA’s sketch for the bespoke pendant lamp of Chapeau lighting series

At SLA Studio, besides architectural lighting design service, we also offer lighting design for bespoke lighting in various fields including Hospitality, F&B and Nightlife, Park and Urban, and Entertainment. Whatever we do, we aim to contribute our knowledge, our creativity and build up the true value for our client’s projects.

Credits:

  • SLA’s Chapeau bespoke decorative lighting series
  • M Gallery Hotel, Vietnam

Writer: Cyril Lamy, Creative Director

THEATERS IN VIETNAM – A French Theater Designer Point of View

As designers specialized in theaters and performing spaces based in Vietnam, we have been visiting and scouting a number of theaters and performing art spaces in the country for over five years now. We have been also meeting and exchanging with various professionals of the entertainment industry such as show directors, technicians, event organizers and investors.

Together with our French expertise background in theater design, we have a strong creative and technical knowledge in theater and performance typologies, which gives us a specific point of view to analyze the current situation of theaters in Vietnam, and propose the specific answers that could be developed in this context.

This article is then a way to share our brief analysis and directions that could be developed in Vietnam.

THE SITUATION

The most famous theaters in Vietnam are certainly the Hanoi Opera House (600 seats) and Saigon Opera House (800 seats), both parts of the heritage with a long history of different uses and renovations. Today both operas would deserve a deep renovation but the investment for such building is costly because the theatre equipment and backstage areas are less and less operational, while the theater equipment are high technology imported products that also require a strong operation and maintenance budget.

Saigon Opera House (Photo collection)

We had tested many other theaters and then realized that there are many issues from the audience’s point of view, with average quality of sightlines and acoustic, which is crucial to enjoying performances such as drama, dance, or music. From the performers’ and technicians’ side on stage and backstage, the issues are about access and set up, for which they have to readapt their set to each theater on their tour. This is also crucial for productions that are careful about choosing theaters where their set can fit to perform as planned and without extra cost.

Countdown Concert 2020 on Nguyen Hue Street, HCMC (Photo thegioinghethuat.com.vn)

We also noticed that in most of the popular music big-scale concerts, over 2000 seats are mostly outdoor, with temporary and removable setups. This type of installation for only one concert is very costly to set up, which can explain the high ticket price, and dependent on the weather with huge financial impact in case of cancellation mostly during the rainy season.

Recently, we also observed that several major groups implement large-scale multimedia shows that reveal several issues from our point of view which are firstly the problem of scale between the numbers of seats around 3000 and what happens on stage which is actually not scaled accordingly. Also in terms of strategy, the budget is mostly invested in the equipment, while the part dedicated to content creation is not valued enough, whereas it is more vital than the equipment for a successful show.

The Hoi An Lune Center for Performing Arts (300 seats) is a good example of cost-efficient and still iconic theater, with popular shows that are still touring all over the world, thanks to the passionate creators and the clever investors that make it happen.

Lune theater in Hoi An (Source: Lune Production)

THE NEEDS IN VIETNAM

We often hear that we should have new operas in Vietnam, however we need to be careful with terminology as it not only refers to a specific theater typology, but also to a certain type of performance which is one of the most expensive, requiring in-house production and set design as well as extensive maintenance workshops, resulting in an important operation cost. That is why we proposed a transformable opera in Ho Chi Minh City that can be used on a daily basis as well as for tourist purposes, offering cinema and panorama configurations as well as more revenue to balance the maintenance budget.

Besides the classic opera theater, many other typologies have been developed in the U.S. and Europe since the ’70s, with one of the most popular called Proscenium multiform theaters which are the most used for international tours by many companies for drama, dance, circus, musical, opera… The program of such theater also usually includes a secondary auditorium called a black box that can welcome more intimate performances in many kinds of stages/seating layouts.

Proscenium and Black box theaters (Photo collection)

In terms of music and concerts, we believe that there are missing places in the country’s major cities, particularly in Pop, Hip Hop, Rock, and other genres. This type of performance space can range from 400 to thousands of seats, but it does not require the same expensive machinery as the previous opera or proscenium type, and it must be carefully designed regards to scale, flexibility, and acoustics to accommodate different music shows almost every day.

Auditorium of Ho Tram Amphitheater (SLA Designers)

We also believe that the hospitality industry can affect changes in theater typology, because visitors and guests expect to be entertained when they travel, and they are increasingly demanding high-quality shows. In this field, we are currently developing several “Eatertainment” projects, which are a combination of F&B and entertainment, such as cabaret or food court theater.

Spice Route theater in Hoi An – Eatertainment (SLA Designers)

This type of program requires serious planning and gathering all expert in theater design, production, and the food industry, but the final products delivered to the guests is highly valuable to attract visitors.

Back to the historical operas, we imagine that they should should be renovated with a focus on welcoming classical music concerts, which means that the expensive machinery would no longer be required, but the acoustics and audience comfort should be thoroughly re-considered, combined with a new urban design environment to give these operas full of historic majesty.

Hanoi Opera House lighting design (SLA Designers)

THE RIGHT PROCESS TO MAKE IT HAPPEN

Buildings for performances require the collaboration of architects and theater design consultants, as well as acoustic, video, audio, and stage lighting engineers, who must work closely with the investor, operator, and users. The theater designer consultant ensures that all parties communicate effectively in order to provide a functional theater for the performers and technicians who use the venue, as well as an excellent experience for the audience.

Even before the architecture, the theater designer is usually called to define the needs (type of performances, capacity), programming (type of theater, equipment), and budget (construction and operation). From our experience in Vietnam, we realized that a lack of preparation impacts the entire development process, with a lot of time consumption testing different options and confusion about the impact on the venue’s operation, all the way until the bidding period, when it’s time to review for budget, safety, and operational reasons. Concerning safety, we observe that the regulations governing theater buildings must be reviewed and updated to reflect the new evolution of space and equipment used in contemporary theaters.

Performing spaces reach their final destination when they welcome performances, which require professional technicians, show productions, and operator teams. In Vietnam, these would involve the development of dedicated training in specialized schools, national funding support of production, and professional operators that can manage international co-production because, in the end, spaces for performance and the performing arts are linked, one and others will grow only by being together.

Cyril Lamy, Founder & Creative Director of SLA Designers

SLA Designers is an international creative agency with tailored expertise in Scenography, Lighting and Theater Design for hospitality, entertainment, and cultural projects.