The mesmerizing displays showcased at THE LUME Melbourne are known to envelop the surroundings with artistic creations from Connection, immersing both visitors and models in this remarkable exhibition that narrates the visual stories of the world’s oldest living culture.
As part of the 2023 Melbourne Fashion Week, LUME presented a show that celebrated outstanding emerging First Nations fashion talent to a whole new level.
Featuring ADJADURA ART, BAYIKINA AWAKEN, Clair Helen, Elverina Johnson x Taking Shape, Ginny’s Girl Gang, Ihraa Swim, Ikuntji Artists, Kamara Australia, Kaninda, Lazy Girl Lingerie, MumRed, Nungala Creative, Ticia Designs, wa-ring, Wuurn of Kanak, Yarrenyty Arltere Artists.
Founder Bruce Peterson sat down for an interview to discuss inspiration, technology and fashion week.
Could you please tell us about the influences in your life that led you to founding Grande Experiences and THE LUME?
I’m Bruce Peterson and my journey towards founding Grande Experiences and THE LUME Melbourne was influenced by a deep desire to make art and culture accessible to everyone around the world. Democratizing art so speak and making art appeal to a general audience, not just those with an already acquired deep understanding and love. Many moons ago I was a teacher, and my mother and grandmother were both talented artists and musicians, however it was a gap year at the age of 29 that ignited my entrepreneurial spirit.
My first foray into the world of exhibitions was in 2006 when I brokered the first Leonardo da Vinci exhibition on his machine inventions to come to Melbourne from Italy. Following this I moved with my young family to Italy to develop the largest and most comprehensive exhibition on Leonardo under the one roof. However, thanks to my kids’ boredom at many of the famous museums, I realised there was potential for more immersive and engaging experiences. As a teacher I learnt that if you want to educate someone, you need to engage them. And if you want to engage them more, you’ve got to entertain them.
This journey led me to create Grande Experiences, produce 250 exhibitions and experiences across the globe in more than 170 cities and over 22 million visitors and then ultimately create THE LUME Melbourne, where we aim to redefine how people experience art and culture by combining cutting-edge technology with traditional art.
Can you describe your first experience of being in THE LUME? How did it feel to experience art in a new way? Was there anything that surprised you?
Stepping into THE LUME for the first time is an awe-inspiring experience due to its jaw-dropping scale. It’s a 3,000 square metre, four-storey high space, and the first permanent space of its kind in the southern hemisphere and largest in the world.
THE LUME’s permanency means we can experiment with technology in ways we’d never before. Our immersive, multisensory approach makes art come alive in a way most people have never experienced before. I think what surprised me the most was how many people come to THE LUME Melbourne not just for the art, but for escapism from the outside world. Its very calming.
Tell us about the current exhibition at THE LUME—Connection. What made your team curious to explore fusing the world’s oldest continuing culture with the most cutting-edge technology?
Connection is a groundbreaking experience that merges the world’s oldest continuing culture with the most advanced technology. It’s a celebration, featuring over 110 visual and musical artists who’ve collaborated to create the most expansive tapestry of First Peoples’ art ever assembled. Across nearly 650 paintings, including 85 significant pieces of original art, emerging voices are showcased alongside master artists in the most spectacular, unique and immersive experience.
What intrigued our team was the opportunity to make this important and remarkable art accessible to a wider audience. We wanted to create a space where people could experience the incredible artistry and storytelling of First Nations artists like never before.
How did the idea for the ganbu marra runway at THE LUME come about? What was exciting about the possibility of using the space for M/FW, and for this runway specifically?
The concept for the ganbu marra runway at THE LUME was born out of a desire to further celebrate and amplify emerging First Nations talent. After the success of our previous experiences, we recognised the potential of our space for unique, immersive activations and events, so fashion seemed like a natural fit. The prospect of hosting Melbourne Fashion Week at THE LUME was exhilarating, and the ganbu marra runway, in particular, allowed us to showcase fashion and art in a mesmerising way, creating a dynamic synergy that was truly exciting.
What’s something unexpected or surprising people might be curious to know about the ganbu marra runway at The LUME?
One unexpected aspect of the ganbu marra runway was the use of our technology to create the actual runway. The fusion of fashion and art was so unique, and guests were captivated not just by the stunning designs but also by the way technology enhanced the entire experience. It was fashion as you’ve never seen it before!
What emerging technologies are you excited to experiment with at THE LUME?
Being innovators in our sector and market leaders, we’re always eager to explore new technologies that can push the boundaries of what’s possible at THE LUME. In Connection we’ve introduced Art Play, which motion-captures guests in real time, allowing them to interact with elements of the artwork in a 360-degree room. This type of interactivity adds a new layer of engagement that we’re excited to further develop and expand in future experiences.
Grande Experiences has exhibited 250+ times in 170+ cities globally across 6 continents in 33 languages with over 22 million visitors passing through. What have you learned about merging technology and art to create new digital-physical experiences?
Our extensive global presence has taught us that merging technology and art can create powerful, emotional connections with audiences. By utilising multisensory technology, we can enhance the traditional art experience and make it more accessible to a diverse range of people. Our audio, including music, narration and sound effects, not only enhances the experience but also encourages guests to discuss the art without worrying about disturbing others. Introducing scents, large-scale projections and animations adds a new dimension to familiar famous artworks, making them more engaging and emotionally resonant.
How do you hope people felt when they came to the ganbu marra runway at THE LUME?
Our hope is that when people came to the ganbu marra runway at THE LUME, they felt a profound connection to the art, culture and fashion showcased. We aimed to create an unforgettable experience that left guests inspired to explore the boundaries of creativity. We wanted them to feel the magic of First Nations art and fashion in a way that lingers in their hearts and minds long after they’ve left our space.