So spectacular is Alta Lumina in Les Gets, I was desperate to know where the concept, the story and the technology came from after I toured the site on its opening night in August 2020. Alta Lumina is just one multi-sensory experience by Canadian creative agency Moment Factory. They’re responsible for innovative instillations in public spaces across the globe (Singapore’s Changi airport is just one example) and even Madonna’s MDNA Tour. Fortunately Alta Lumina’s Creative Director Jean-Baptiste Hardoin was available to answer my questions.
How was Alta Lumina initiated? Did you approach the resort with the concept? Or did the resort approach you?
“Each project and collaboration is different, however in the case of Alta Lumina, the relationship began when SAGETS (Les Gets’ lift operating company) contacted us in winter 2019 after hearing about the Lumina Night Routes. Visiting the location and the region, our team was immediately inspired by the site and saw the potential to create a Lumina Night Course that would be operated almost year round.”
How long did the project take to plan? And could you give me an idea of the various stages involved?
“It will have taken approximately one year of work from conception to opening of Alta Lumina. About 100 people, including all Moment Factory staff, external suppliers (eg video shooting), prop manufacturers, musical artists, etc. The different stages of a project include conception, design, production, installation, integration and then operation.”
We love the story of the hawker and his hot air balloon, it resonates beautifully with the mountains in all seasons. Where did the idea come from?
“For each Lumina Night Tour, the original story we create is inspired by place, culture and local nature. We meet people from the place who know the history and the roots of the site and who will be as much inspiration for our creative team. SAGETS was one of those actors who helped us immerse ourselves in local history.
“The Colporteur (hawker) is an inspiring character, unique and imaginary at the same time, a smuggler and messenger. He travels in a hot-air balloon, which creates a gap with reality, in order to share and communicate music with the villagers. This music, conceived specifically for this story, this experience, was inspired by mechanical music, very anchored in Les Gets. The soundtrack combines the sounds of nature, animal bells and the sounds of mechanical instruments, in a modern and innovative approach.”
Was this a difficult installation to create logistically? Of course you had COVID-19 restrictions to consider too!
“Using technology outdoors is a challenge in itself. You have to make sure that the installation can withstand all weather conditions and that the technology is integrated on the course, so that the experience is in harmony with nature.”
“In addition, Alta Lumina has been designed to be operated summer and winter on the same site with the same equipment with as little handling as possible. This is a first for Moment Factory. As with all of our Lumina night tours, we have developed a way of working to integrate multimedia into the environment, in order to be respectful and discreet.”
“At several levels, our teams and SAGETS had to adapt to the unpredictable realities of the COVID-19 pandemic in order to complete the project. Whether it is uncertainty, delivery times, travel, etc. All the teams have been able to adapt in order to deliver an experience that lives very well in this era of physical distancing.”
“Regarding COVID-19, specific measures have been put in place by SAGETS so that visitors to Alta Lumina can have a safe experience in the
context of the Covid19 health crisis. This includes lowering the capcity of the course to just 50%. They also provide hydroalcoholic gel, undertake regular disinfection of surfaces in contact with customers and provide markings on the ground in the waiting area to respect physical distances. We also promote internet ticket sales to lower physical interaction. It should also be noted that the activity takes place entirely outdoors where visitors move at their own pace with wide paths allowing overtaking while maintaining barrier distances.”
As a year-round installation, how do you imagine the experience will change for each season?
“Alta Lumina has been designed to be experienced in both summer and winter, the changing nature will allow you to live and relive the experience through the seasons. We often say that a Lumina experience comes to life over time and with the evolution of nature, we can have the same experience many times, but it will always be different thanks to nature, thanks to the people with whom we meet, and thanks to the weather”.
At Moment Factory you are constantly innovating and pushing the boundaries for interactive human experiences. What technology can we expect next? What does the interactive entertainment of the future look like?
“Discovery through practice and experimentation has always been in Moment Factory’s DNA. As the use of a technology can be limited to its primary function, our research and development team constantly seeks to “hack” existing technologies by taking them out of their original context and pushing the limits of their use.”
“As technology offers us multiple ways to interact through our personal devices, the need to physically come together seems more vital than ever. Whether for a moment or during an experience that can be repeated, our goal is simple: to encourage people to leave their homes to live a collective experience, even while respecting the instructions for physical distancing. To this end, we create epic encounters that spark safe public participation and radiate positive energy.”
“More recently, Moment Factory has developed several interactive innovations to transform any place into a true immersive playground of infinite capacities. Using cutting-edge technology, interactive apps, and creative multimedia content, augmented games and sports encourage collaboration and human connection while respecting physical distancing measures.”
Alta Lumina Essentials:
- Alta Lumina created ten new jobs for local people when it opened and expects to welcome 100,000 visitors each year.
- Tickets are only available online, in advance at altalumina.com/en
- It takes approximately 45 minutes to complete the 1km course
- The course is entirely outside so wrap up warm and wear a good pair of shoes.
- Parking spaces are limited so you’re advised to take a free shuttle bus from the centre of Les Gets.
- It’s a compulsory to wear a facemask throughout the course.
- Children aged up to 4 years can enjoy Alta Lumina free of charge, children 5 – 15 years are €10 and adults €19 per visit.
- Families of two adults and two children enjoy a family pass priced at €53.
- Dec – 6pm – 9.20pm | Jan – 6pm – 9pm | Feb – 620pm – 9.20pm | March – 7.20pm – 10pm | April – 8.40pm – 10.20pm | May – 9.20pm – 11pm