A permanent immersive art center will open inside a Lower Manhattan landmark this summer

February 9, 2022

Image courtesy of Culturespaces / Eric Spiller

A permanent museum dedicated to immersive art experiences will open this summer in Lower Manhattan. Dubbed Hall des Lumières, the art center will take over the former Emigrant Industrial Saving Bank building across from City Hall and feature animated and glowing 30-foot displays of famous paintings. Developed by French museum operator Culturespaces and IMG, the center’s inaugural installation will be Gustav Klimt: Gold in Motion, “a thematic journey through the golden, sensuous and revolutionary art of the Viennese painter,” according to a press release.

Renderings © Culturespaces

Situated within the expansive, ornate hall in the vault level of the landmarked former banking hall, Hall des Lumières will feature animated images of famous paintings that will be synchronized to an original musical soundtrack and mapped upon the room’s marble walls, columns, stained glass skylights, and coved ceilings.

“Our company’s experience in managing sites such as the Musée Jacquemart-André in Paris and the Hôtel de Caumont in Aix-en-Provence brought us to understand the hunger of a broad public for cultural experiences that stand on their own as meaningful and engaging, and that might encourage and deepen people’s encounters with the artworks in museums,” Bruno Monnier, founder of Culturespaces, said.

“Out of that insight came the success of the Atelier des Lumières in Paris, our first marriage between digital art and a significant historic space. We are proud and excited to join with the outstanding team at IMG to inaugurate our first American center, created within the evocative setting of a Manhattan tower, opening with Gustav Klimt.”

Because the Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank is landmarked, Culturespaces had to get approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission to transform the space into a museum.

Constructed in 1911, the bank was designed by Raymond F. Almirall in a Beaux-Arts architectural style. The 17-story building became the city’s first H-shaped skyscraper, as 6sqft previously reported.

The hall’s first exhibition, Gustav Klimt: Gold in Motion, is an experience centered around the work of the famous Austrian painter and created by a team led by Gianfranco Iannuzzi.

New, unique art experiences featuring work by world-renowned artists will be hosted at the art center every ten to twelve months.

In addition to the Klimt installation, a shorter digital experience based on works done by Friedensreich Hundertwasser, one of Klimt’s successors, will be available for viewing. A presentation about the history and design behind the Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank building will be on display as well.

Immersive art experiences have been growing in popularity worldwide, with two separate Van Gogh experiences opening in the city last summer, Immersive Van Gogh and Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience.

Information on advance registration for tickets to Hall des Lumières can be found here.


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