The €63m Sir John Monash Centre, named after an Australian military commander of the First World War and located in Villers-Bretonneuax in northern France, is a poignant centre of remembrance of Australia's part during the First World War. The Centre, designed to cater for 110,000 visitors a year, uses stunning immersive visuals to convey Australia's story of their significant role on the Western Front during the 1914-1918 conflict.
The decision to build the 1,000sq m centre was taken in 2015 by then-PM Tony Abbot, who said "the story of Australia on the Western Front should be much better known". The construction of the site was not without its issues however; during the excavation for the build the construction company unearthed 234kg of unexploded bombs, and retrieved 180 personal artefacts, all from the First World War. To deliver fitting impact to the Centre, Global AV solutions provider Orpheo Group were tasked with supplying AV to a several multimedia galleries, equipping them with more than 450 LCD screens, a complete video integration and broadcasting system, show control technology and other equipment. French company Videmus, a specialist in show control, designed the Datapath-driven control systems.
A total of 96 Datapath processors power displays and a 360° immersive 4K videowall - the centre-piece of the Sir John Monash Australian National Centre in northern France. To meet the client brief for maximum impact, NEC LCD panels were chosen for their brightness and clarity, along with Barco projectors. The highlight of the Centre is a 483sq m multimedia interpretive and immersive gallery experience. The immersive gallery features an 8-minute video shown on a giant circle of 185 NEC LCD panels (a mix of 55-in and 46-in screens), in different configurations, mounted with Peerless-AV videowall mounts, and processed using Fx4 Datapath display wall controllers. The immersive gallery features an 8-minute video shown on a giant circle of 185 NEC LCD panels (a mix of 55-in and 46-in screens), in different configurations, mounted with Peerless-AV videowall mounts, and processed using Fx4 Datapath display wall controllers. The immersive gallery also features spatial audio, so the video and audio is provided in 360 degrees, to fully immerse the viewer. The experience is enhanced by smoke effects and light beams, all in sync with the video content. The end result is a stunning visual spectacle which delivers a powerful message of sacrifice and bravery and one that is fitting for such a venue.