Theatre Projects consultants, together with the architectural office Studio KO, have recently designed a multipurpose auditorium of 115 seats, with the aim of hosting conferences, screenings, concerts, theater, and cinema.
The auditorium is part of the new Museum Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech –inaugurated on October 2017 in Morocco – and incorporates a series of elements and technologies that allow for high-quality sound and lighting, as well as ensuring total flexibility of the room to adapt to all required uses.
From the architects. A museum honoring the legacy of iconic French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent opened in October 2017 on the grounds of Jardin Majorelle—a 12-acre botanical garden, artist’s landscape, and museum complex in Marrakech, Morocco.
The 43,000-square-foot Museum Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech houses a collection of thousands of Laurent’s couture dresses and jewelry and features two exhibition halls and a grand entrance atrium. At the center of the building is a versatile 115-seat multipurpose auditorium for informational screenings, acoustic and amplified music, theatrical events, conferences, film, and live telecasts.
To accommodate all those uses, Theatre Projects designed the intimate auditorium, including the theatre equipment and acoustic environment, to allow the room to work as a first-rate cinema and conference room as well as a dynamic recital hall. Working with architect Studio KO, Theatre Projects designed an ergonomically, acoustically, and aesthetically comfortable and inviting room that envelops performers with the audience and creates a shared experience.
Theatre Projects also concentrated on public ease-of-access, logical and efficient circulation, and audience comfort. With sensitive and seamless integration of the technical systems, audiences can focus on performances, not on the theatre equipment. The result is a multifaceted technical jewel and a highly versatile, immersive space.
Sound-diffusing panels were tailored to enhance the richness of sound and create a sense of spaciousness—critical for classical music. Above the stage, architecturally cohesive reflectors control echoes and direct sound toward the audience. Embedded in the side walls, a variable acoustic system controls reverberation time, reducing it to as little as 0.2 seconds for medium frequencies. Theatre Projects managed the hall’s sound isolation, designing a double-skin room envelope and lobby access through specially designed doors, which block intrusive noise levels up to 20 decibels.
Adjustable acoustic walls, highly responsive lighting, and cutting-edge projection and sound systems provide exceptional performance flexibility, allowing the room to effortlessly adapt to each event. The theatre features a portable sound reinforcement system, 48-channel digital mixing console, digital recording and playback equipment, simultaneous translation devices, and wireless transmission for the hearing impaired. A state-of-the-art projection system lets the room meet an array of programming including live performance telecasts, streamed to the theatre through an integrated satellite reception system.
With a system of motorized battens in the ceiling, lighting can be loaded and adjusted with minimal disturbance. Performance lighting in the auditorium is made up entirely of LEDs, controlled by a digital lighting table through an Ethernet network. Architectural lighting in the auditorium is integrated artfully into the room’s architecture and operates with a Paradigm system of automated lighting control. The lighting control allows users to save and recall different illumination settings and to activate or deactivate different zones of the pre-set states.
In addition to the versatile auditorium, Theatre Projects was responsible for the acoustic environment throughout the entire museum. Their work ensured that exhibit space was free from intrusive exterior and mechanical noise and could function as intended—fostering thought and reflection into the work of Yves Saint Laurent and the culture he helped shape.