THE LUME is a fully immersive digital art experience and Australia’s very first permanent digital art gallery. Housed across two of Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre’s (MCEC) expansive halls, THE LUME provides gallery, educational, retail and operational spaces, delivering highly curated art-orientated themes for both public and private engagement.
THE LUME Australia, approached dB(A) with a strong concept derived from years of experience creating temporary immersive shows. Seeking a thrilling multisensorial experience projecting a world of light, colour and shapes, we were charged with delivering an experiential journey that shifts in scale as it reveals new spaces and atmospheres. The highly specific operational and contextual elements required a level of architectural and legislative challenges unusual for exhibition design projects. Additionally, the MCEC hall was an empty shed, without human scale or any acoustic insulation preventing sound disturbances to neighbours.
dB(A) transformed the space so that every surface (including the floor) became the canvas for thrilling animated projections. Large-scale objects divide the space into experiential zones, inviting different perspectives. A long mezzanine with a frameless glazed balustrade provides an elevated vantage point for an alternative perspective of the gallery space. Additionally, through careful programming, the Main Gallery space was handed over to THE LUME’s technical team to install and commission its audio-visual infrastructure, whilst the auxiliary spaces were built and fitted out. A highly collaborative team of “best in field” consultants ensured exceptional design and experiential outcomes.
THE LUME reflects a shift towards multi-disciplinary and collaborative interior design practices that ensure ongoing experimentation in digital art gallery typologies and experiences into the future. Specifically, the minimal nature of the design provides a diversity of spaces that change in scale, orientation, and a program that offers potential for adaptive and interpretive future programming, ensuring aesthetic variations by users and artists alike. A commercial triumph, THE LUME offered a wonderful escape for Melbournians and visitors emerging from lengthy lockdowns to experience art in a thrilling new environment. Ever evolving, this sensory wonderland now even offers yoga classes.
Decibel Architecture worked closely with the client’s technical team, and collaborated with specialist engineering in acoustics, structure and services, as well as the building contractor to deliver a highly coordinated, fast-tracked programme and delivery model. First stage documentation allowed the structural and acoustic work to commence on site whilst the architectural and building services scope were documented and certified. This enabled the Main Gallery space to be handed over to THE LUME’s technical team to install and commission its audio-visual infrastructure while the auxiliary spaces were built and fitted out. The white floor material was a key design specification that had to fulfill its function as both a canvas for projection and an easily cleanable sitting and standing surface. This went through a rigorous and ultimately successful screening process to ensure practicality and aesthetic ambition. The matte black gateway projects dramatically into the MCEC’s entry concourse, marking the gallery’s entry point that leads to the intimately lit ‘Introduction and Interpretation’ space. From this space, patrons pass through a light-locking corridor, that disrupts and compresses the visitor’s sense of space before being expanded when emerging into the vastness of the Main Gallery.