Sitting at the gateway to the World’s largest music festival, this one-of-a kind, interactive musical installation combines art with sound and lighting technology to energize the new North End Plaza and Summerfest North Entry in Milwaukee, WI.
A cluster of futuristic organ-like pipes emit sound and light as visitors play on four keyboards that surround the sculpture. Each keyboard has five illuminating touch-sensitive note pads, which play alternating musical sounds from Jazz, Rock Band, Wind Chime and Percussion palettes.
We wanted to infuse an interactive play of light and sound to create a musical experience for people travelling to Summerfest and for people exploring the lakefront.
The Drum Organ began as a concept for a “Band Experience”, allowing visitors to Summerfest and other ethnic festivals to momentarily join together and make music together. The Plaza evolved through input from the client and architect into a musical playground, with the Drum Organ as centerpiece. As we designed it, the vertical columns began to suggest a pipe organ, and most of the notes were percussion based, hence the working title of Drum Organ, which ultimately stuck.
Every couple of minutes the palettes will shift to a different keyboard, allowing visitors to play a wide range of tonal sounds. In the evening, their music comes alive in a shower of beautiful lighting colors and intricate harmonious movements.
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