A 1920’s prohibition time coffee shop, le Chat Doré, was brought to life with an augmented reality portal at the Amos Rex Art Museum in Helsinki.
Almost a hundred years ago, there was a notable little café called Le Chat Doré. The place is known from the late 1920 Helsinki cultural community, the favourite spot of artists and bohemian academics.
Designed by artist and multi-talent Birger Carlstedt, Le Chat Doré is seen as an expression of functionalism as well as being one of the first constructivist works in Finnish art. The Russian Cabinet, the backroom of the café, became the heart of the venue. Le Chat Doré’s interior was quite the sensation at the time, and the café itself has become an icon within Finnish art.
AR bringing history to modern days
When the art museum Amos Rex, located in the heart of Helsinki, decided to set up an exhibition of Birger Carlstedt life work, including the café was a given. They decided to build a life-size version of it in-exhibition, and so the Russian Cabinet came to life in augmented reality, as a portal for you to step in, and immerse yourself in a long-lost space.
Visitors of the museum could grab their smartphone, tablet or one provided by the museum, scan a sketch of the Cabinet’s interior with the Arilyn app, and then place it on the ground in front of them. In front of them a doorway, a portal, opened up to a place that has not seen the light of day in a hundred years. By stepping in through the portal, one could admire the room’s cassette ceiling, Carlstedt’s wall painting and details even down to the smoke of a cigarette left in an ashtray.
The physical space itself having been long gone, the interior of the Russian Cabinet was recreated in 3D based on water-colour sketches and a few black and white photographs of the space.
Amos Rex strives to be an art museum where the past, the present and the future meet: from new experimental contemporary art to 20th-century modernism as well as art from ancient times. With the Russian Cabinet and the Birger Carlstedt exhibition, they managed to achieve precisely this - a blend of times, complementing one another and giving art an even deeper meaning by adding another layer of reality.
Danske Bank is also a partner in immersive technology for Amos Rex, supporting the creation of immersive experiences for the modern museum visitor.