“La Gaîté Lyrique” amazing interactive experience

La Gaîté Lyrique is the new venue in Paris dedicated to digital arts and new musics. La Gaîté Lyrique , an abandoned 19th century theater is set to is set to become a center for digital arts when it opens in December 2010. The artistic team and Passion Paris director Yves Geleyn have teamed up to create an every animation and 3D experience which will give visitors an abstract, sensual taster of the venue. The director of this project has done an interview exclusive for thisblogrules.com.

What exited you about the project?

When La Gaîté Lyrique approched me, I had just finished working on a long project for an ad and I wanted to work on something more personal. The timing was perfect. The most interesting thing about this project was the fact that it was so creative, open, experimental, a really good way to build something very different from what you usually see. Projects like this one are so rare,  I immediately jumped in it without any hesitation & no second thoughts.

gaite5 gaite4

How did the venue’s history influence the film? And what were the other influences?

La Gaîté Lyrique does carry an enormous amount of  history within its walls, and  it’s located in the heart of the Arts part of Paris. It was built 150 years ago, under the Second Empire, by the architect Hittorff Cusin and managed by Jacques Offenbach. This heritage was literally slaughtered in the 80s when turned into an urban amusement park for children, “Magic Planet”! It was cynically renamed “Tragic Planet” because it was abandoned only a few weeks after its opening. La Gaîté has remained sadly unoccupied and ignored for the past 14 years.  In a way it inspired me to insert various visual references from the past of the building inside the project, a kind of subtle tribute to the past but turned towards the future. The film, is also completely infused with the shadowy and naïve world that you can see in my other productions, its also full of enigmas and references, in particular to Kabuki and baroque and Italian theatre,and many other ones. This project was super inspiring for me.

How did you develop your interpretation of the theater? Was it quite spontaneous or did you do a lot of research?

I started with the architecture of the building designed by Manuelle Gontrand, it was very inspiring and I spontaneously developed all the spaces. I did a lot of research before finding the right balance between all  the spaces. I don’t wanted to be realistic so I decided to show the essence of each space by using the textures. For example I wanted to make the Sound space look like a giant cocoon made of sound cones, and the ‘Mediatheque’ was made of paper origami because in this hi-tech building it’s the only space where you will find books. So textures and forms were inspired by the function of each space.

gaite3 gaite2

What were you hoping to achieve with the interactive experience?

Early in the developement, I felt the desire to visit these spaces I had created. Furthermore, what should be just a film becomes a complete film/website system. I really wanted the people to live an experience, I don’t want to create a game website, but more a whole new experience, an insight as much as an illustration one. So I teamed up with studio Grouek to extend the initial artistic diktat of La Gaîté Lyrique.  The 3D animation film gradually becomes an independent space from which the visitor can visit La Gaîté Lyrique virtually, without a click, simply through the movement of the body, the breath or hovering the mouse on the background. An interactive stroll bathed in mystery and poetry. You can play with the characters: you interrupt them, you disturb them. They live in a weightless environment and you are the pleasant intruders.

How long did the project take?

I started over a year ago, I spent a lot of time on it – because I thought it was a terrific project, I didn’t count the hours. The good thing was the fact that I had time to develop the project extensively. Usually you don’t have time to develop characters, design, spaces etc. when working in advertising. For La Gaité I spent the first 6 months simply developing the project, it was just great! Then I spent the last 6 months working with “One More Production”  for the 3D and “Grouek” for the interactive part, both enthusiastically bound to the project and displayed all there talent into the project.


Begin the experince here and enjoy in this digital art.


  1. The whole installation relaly worked in a auspicious way. The real wall, those windows up high, the odd parachute sculptures, the lovely laptop mini film, The way we all had to come together to look in the window of the van, the engine running,the coming together of family and friends and city officials and the powerfully simple time line that drew it all together (I had the pleasure of handing out) it worked for me.I think the waist shirt workers would have been very proud. In fact I felt them there.falling and rising.

Leave a Reply