Earlier this year, Genelec brought immersive sound to the ‘India in Fashion: The Impact of Indian Dress and Textiles on the Fashionable Imagination’ exhibition at the new Nita Mukesh Ambani CulturalCentre (NMACC) in Mumbai.
The multidisciplinary arts centre features a 2,000-seat theatre, two intimate performance spaces and a four-storey Art House. To mark its opening, a three-day celebration blended musicals and international art exhibitions, including ‘India in Fashion: The Impact of Indian Dress and Textiles on the Fashionable Imagination’. This exhibition celebrated the global influence of Indian design on fashion, with the help of 128 Genelec 4430 Smart IP loudspeakers.
Overseeing the project was Mumbai-based technology and acoustic consultancy firm, Munro. Its mission was to create a soothing auditory landscape without compromising audio quality, while ensuring the seamless integration of the loudspeakers into the background and their continuous operation for 12 to 14 hours daily.
"We work extensively on projects where new ideas are explored for culture and entertainment," explained Kapil Thirwani, audio and acoustic consultant at Munro. "We were called in mid-January 2023 to explore possibilities of adding an immersive sonic experience to a fashion exhibition for the NMACC launch. The concept was the influence of India and its fabrics and handiworks on the world of fashion against a backdrop of world music with subtle Indian influences, with 15 zones playing different tracks to build the soundscape."
‘India in Fashion’ wove together India’s colourful relationship and influence on fashion across the globe from the 18th century to modern day, featuring the garments in glass domes under spotlight. Curated by fashion journalist and Vogue editor Hamish Bowles, the exhibition explored everything from the Mughal emperors to the imperial rule that brought the country’s craftsmanship over to Europe. Throughout its two-month run, ‘India in Fashion’ drew a stellar line-up of stars and influential figures from the fashion industry, including Gigi Hadid and Zendaya. Munro and Genelec were tasked with providing an ambient soundtrack to enhance this stylish journey.
"Munro is well known for its sonically excellent designs," said Thirwani. "If we are hired to design, we also have to keep up to the same design sense for sonic aesthetics. This led us to the Smart IP loudspeakers by Genelec. They run seamlessly off a PoE+ switch via a single CAT cable and ticked all the boxes. We verified this by comparing electroacoustic modelling simulations of similar IP speakers and analogue speakers, followed by the creation of a mini rig for a singular immersive zone which we measured to verify performance against the theoretical model. Genelec was a clear winner."
Genelec’s Smart IP series supports PoE, AoIP and sophisticated loudspeaker management, combining optimised audio with single cable networked convenience.
"The Smart IP series offers outstanding sonic quality, minimum distortion and an excellent signal-to-noise ratio, all of which was important to us," continued Thirwani. "Everything is run over a single CAT cable, which simplifies the installation massively — a crucial advantage when you’re working on a big project like this. We have a reputation for providing and designing some of the best audio solutions in India and using Genelecallows us to maintain that reputation."
For ‘India in Fashion’, the exhibition played with multiple immersive and stereo zones stored on two 64 channel TiMAX servers via the Dante network. These outputs were then assigned via Smart IP Manager and Dante Controller.
"Time delays and source intercorrelation data were adjusted and stored both on the Genelec and TiMAX software," said Thirwani. "The TiMAX stored the preset for the show reel and tracks and the global level variations between zones, while the Genelec sources stored the individual local information of that source in a particular zone.
"This was a team effort, and solutions like these require meticulous planning and execution, drawing expertise from various fronts,” Thirwani concluded. “From conceptualization to planning and execution, the project faced challenges on site that had to be resolved before completion. I’d like to thank the team involved in the design and execution of this project: Utkarsh Naidu, Cyril Thomas, Johan Pais, and Aman Prajapati. Everyone worked incredibly hard, and the exhibition was an undeniable success."