Devialet is no stranger to working in famous 19th Century classical music venues. It already has a 16-Phantom installation in the Palais Garnier opera house in Paris. But now a little slice of musical Entente Cordiale is taking place between the French audio experts and the beating heart of classical music in the UK, the legendary Royal Albert Hall in London.
The Royal Albert Hall is no stranger to creative partnerships with brands, but traditionally these have been with food and beverage suppliers, or large hotel chains. The two have been in discussion about working together since the Spring of 2017, and the first example of the collaboration was the Lost Recordings session on 15 May last year, which was performed at the Royal Albert Hall and culminated in a single Devialet Gold Phantom loudspeaker playing on the stage in the main auditorium. A closer link was inevitable.
Fast forward to today, and that ‘closer link’ is tantamount to a love affair between the two. Victor d’Allancé – Devialet’s UK and Ireland’s General Manager – is working with the Royal Albert Hall’s Head of Programming and Corporate Partnerships – Mehdi Aoustin-Sellami – in an initial three-year collaboration to create something more than just a sound-space in the Royal Albert Hall foyer. “There is a desire from the hall to seek out those partners that can enhance and preserve the building, and create an unforgettable experience,” says Mehdi Aoustin-Sellami, “but as a charity, our remit is to promote both the arts and the sciences. The sciences are much harder for the Royal Albert Hall to promote. The work between the Royal Albert Hall and Devialet in this respect is quite ground-breaking and brings us into the 21st Century!”
A significant part of this collaborative work includes working with the Royal Albert Hall’s commitment to outreach and education. The charity already has music programmes and masterclasses going into schools, music therapy centres, and even hospitals, care homes, and hospices. It is hoped that Devialet’s input will enhance and extend these facilities yet further. “Our goal is not just brand awareness, it’s a meaningful story, complementing the idea in Paris,” Victor d’Allancé explained. “The Royal Albert Hall is different; by streaming live outside to hospitals, schools, care-homes, and community centres, places where the Royal Albert Hall is already working and beyond. We are bringing the emotion of the Royal Albert Hall outside the walls of the Royal Albert Hall.”
The first challenge to Devialet is one of installation, and keeping that installation in keeping with the design of the Victorian hall. “We faced the same challenges when we started with the Paris opera.” Said Victor d’Allancé. “The opera has been on the same spot for 350 and the Palais Garnier dates back to 1875, and the French were not willing to change this at all. The Royal Albert Hall is a similarly iconic building, but the goal is not to just play products, but to create a love story. A completely unique love story. Not simply a repeat of the Opera.”
However, given the success of the Palais Garnier installation, the Devialet installation (expected at Door 6 of the hall) is well in progress. They are planning big things even here, as Mehdi Aoustin-Sellami suggested “This is our first multi-layered corporate concept, as opposed to redesigning bars, etc., and it’s something quite special. We will be working together for the next three years, which will include the Royal Albert Hall’s 150th anniversary in 2021. Hopefully the love story will continue beyond the three years and make for some really special things in the future.”
The Devialet Press Release in full…
THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL PARTNERS WITH DEVIALET TO DRIVE INNOVATION AND CONNECT WITH AUDIENCES OUTSIDE THE VENUE
Collaboration with the fast-growing, Apple-distributed audio startup backed by Jay-Z and Andy Rubin will enhance sound inside the building’s grand entrance and allow people of all ages and backgrounds to experience the emotion and magic of the Hall.
London, 30 January 2018: The Royal Albert Hall and Devialet, the French audio technology brand behind the Phantom speaker, today announced a unique partnership to take the emotion and magic of live performances to new audiences outside the iconic venue. The partnership will also see the creation of an immersive experiential space within the Hall’s historic grand entrance.
A long-term partnership of excellence
In the first partnership of its kind for the Royal Albert Hall, Devialet has been selected for its unparalleled sound technologies and its commitment to democratising access to music. Initially a three-year partnership, the collaboration is built upon a shared belief that the emotional power of music should be accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds.
"From the beginning, Devialet’s ambition has always been to use our technologies to make the true emotion of music available to everyone,” commented Quentin Sannié, co-founder and CEO of Devialet. “When we first spoke to the Royal Albert Hall, it was clear they had a similar goal. We are thrilled to partner with such a unifying symbol of the British Arts and a true London icon to help make our shared vision a reality.”
Craig Hassall, Chief Executive of the Royal Albert Hall, said: “We are delighted to announce our exciting partnership with Devialet. The first time I heard the revolutionary Phantom I realised that we shared a commitment to excellence and to allowing people of all ages and backgrounds to experience the emotion of live musical performance. The initiatives will improve the experience of our visitors and bring our concerts to those who might not otherwise get to enjoy them.”
Beyond the Hall
The partnership will see the creation of a new project taking concerts beyond the Royal Albert Hall. Whilst the Hall will provide the content, Devialet’s technologies will live stream the performance from the auditorium to Education & Outreach partners with an unmatched level of fidelity. People outside the venue, including those not able to visit the Hall itself, will therefore be able to experience the exact sound of the unique concert hall for the first time, live.
New sound experience area
The partnership will also see the transformation of the venue’s emblematic Door 6 into a multi-purpose, experiential space. Offering an innovative sound experience to visitors, the space will enable latecomers to feel they are already in the main auditorium.
ABOUT THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL
Built in 1871, the Royal Albert Hall is the world’s most famous stage. Last year, its breathtaking auditorium presented nearly 400 events by the world’s greatest performers – taking in rock, pop and classical music, dance, films and Cirque du Soleil – with the magical setting and inspired artists creating amazing memories for audiences.
Opened in 1871 to fulfil Prince Albert’s vision of a central hall to promote the arts and sciences, the Hall is a registered charity that remains true to his founding ambitions within a modern context. It hosts more than 1,000 events a year in its secondary space, the Elgar Room, and beyond, broadening the Hall’s appeal to incorporate younger and more diverse audiences.
Its Education & Outreach programme reaches more than 185,000 participants each year, working with schools, young people and the community, as well as other charities such as Music for Youth, as part of its extensive public benefit remit. It creates memories, changes lives and provides inspiration through music for all.
Founded in 2007 in Paris, Devialet is a leading tech start-up and the most award-winning company in the history of audio. Widely acclaimed by industry experts, international press and protected by more than 100 patents, Devialet’s products deliver unparalleled quality and power thanks to its unique amplification and sound processing technologies.
In December 2016, Devialet accelerated its development with a record €100m in fundraising from leading international investors to deploy its technologies in new sectors and accelerate commercial development globally.
Devialet has over 30 stores worldwide, including flagship stores in London, Paris, Hong Kong and New York. In 2017, the company announced its first ever licensing partnership with Sky in the UK to create the Sky Soundbox, an all-in-one sound system designed to take the TV viewing experience to the next level.