Billboard Illustration

When music flows into pictures

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In June 2012, the Philharmoniker Hamburg wanted to attract new visitors to their upcoming concert “The Moldau” (Vltava) by Bedřich Smetana. The solution for the design concept consisted of a 16 by 2 metre billboard, on which artist Debbie Smyth visualised the storyline of this classical piece of music, using 5,900 nails and 1.2 km of string. For five days, she worked live in public in front of passers-by in a shopping arcade in Hamburg. On the billboard, the strings of a real violin flow into all the scenes Smetana was picturing with his music, including a hunting scene, a farmer’s wedding, nymphs in the moonlight, the river growing into rapids and finally reaching the Charles’ Bridge in Prague. The sonic world of this famous piece of music is thus turned into a tangible visual experience that is not only translated into and staged as a highly unusual illustration. In addition, the music also becomes a public event as the task emerges in an original and innovative realisation. Statement by the jury »The idea to visualise a musical composition in this way is outstanding. The realisation with nails and strings lends “The Moldau” a high expressivity and presents itself as a brilliantly implemented illustration not only in terms of the handicraft involved but also through the character of its execution.«

Credits
  • Client:
    Philharmoniker Hamburg
  • Design:
    Draftfcb Deutschland GmbH, Hamburg
  • artist:
    Debbie Smyth
  • creative direction:
    Dirk Haeusermann, Jessica Schneider, Mario Anspach
  • art direction:
    Tim Lehnebach
  • text:
    Frederik Wetzel
  • account management:
    Guido Kirschner, Sabine Classen, Susanne Knauff, Maik Schneider
  • art buying:
    Katja Nicklaus
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