Arvo Pärt's music celebrated in multi-sensory installation at V&A
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Arvo Pärt's music is the focus of a multi-sensory installation at the V&A

Arvo Pärt's music celebrated in multi-sensory installation at V&A

A multi-sensory exhibition at the V&A's Norfolk House Music Room, created as part of this month's London Design Festival, aims to bring the work Estonian composer Arvo Pärt to life through his own words.

Combining a light display with Pärt's music, the installation was conceived by curators Clare Farrow and Eva Woode for the Victoria & Albert Museum's 18th-century music salon.

Arvo Pärt's music is the focus of a multi-sensory installation at the V&A

Farrow and Woode took inspiration for the installation from Arvo Pärt's well-know quote: "I could compare my music to white light, which contains all colours. Only a prism can divide the colours and make them appear; this prism could be the spirit of the listener."

The installation at the Norfolk House Music Room aims to bring Pärt's words to life through a transparent curved screen made from perspex acrylic.

Arvo Pärt's music is the focus of a multi-sensory installation at the V&A

The screen, which represents the prism in Pärt's poetic description, sits alongside a luxurious viewing and listening bench upholstered in brown leather.

Here visitors can sit and experience the composer's words through a set of headphones, while his music plays out through surround sound speakers.

Arvo Pärt's music is the focus of a multi-sensory installation at the V&A

Pieces on the playlist include Spiegel im Spiegel – meaning Mirror in the Mirror, Für Alina, Silentium and Da pacem Domine.

"My father's music is really about the meaning behind the music," Arvo's son Michael Pärt told Dezeen at the installation's unveiling. "One has to really peel those layers to get deeper to a certain core."

"That core might be a common denominator across many ways of expressing those values. So as long as everything that is built on top of this has a relevance to this common denominator, then they all work in harmony – so we're talking about the physical installation, sound, lights, his music and his quote," he continued.

The installation was commissioned as part of Estonia 100, to celebrate 100 years since the foundation of the Estonian state.

Arvo Pärt, 83, is the most performed contemporary composer in the world. After struggling to write and perform under the Soviet rule of the 1960 and 1970s, Pärt emigrated to Vienna in 1980, and then Berlin.

In 2010, he returned to live in Estonia. Today his life and music represent a drive for freedom and invention, against the odds.

Arvo Pärt's music is the focus of a multi-sensory installation at the V&A

It precedes the opening of a woodland cultural centre dedicated to the composer's legacy, which is set to open in Estonia on 13 October.

The Arvo Pärt Centre, designed by Spanish office Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos, will hold scores, manuscripts, personal correspondence and publications from Pärt's personal archive.

Arvo Pärt's music is the focus of a multi-sensory installation at the V&A

The 2018 edition London Design Festival takes place from 15 to 23 September. Our round-up of the top 12 must-see installations, events and exhibitions, includes a poetry-spouting lion and a huge tea party.