In 2007, La Monnaie/De Munt was a reputed institution, but it lacked a global brand identity in line with its reputation.
Peter de Caluwe and Christian Longchamp, respectively newly appointed general director and director of dramaturgy, launched a competition to rethink the global visual identity in line with their new vision of opera.
Our first decision was to challenge the art direction by avoiding classical opera imagery of the singers, the set, etc. Rather, we decided to work with artists to gain access to beautiful but unexpected imagery. The new visual voice of La Monnaie/De Munt would be metaphorical, radical, cinematographic — and even a language of fashion & beauty.
The imagery we have employed is very different from what opera houses are used to. It positions La Monnaie/De Munt as an open-minded institution in sync with the era in which it lives.
One typeface, one weight, one system of composition. Strong, simple and recognizable. Apocrifu was the first one from a long list of posters.
GO!pera for teenagers, Opera for kids, MMBar and Maecenas are just a few examples of La Monnaie/De Munt’s broadening initiatives. A 360° communication system. Open Opera, for everyone.
Peter de Caluwe also initiated an ambitious editorial project. He brought the opera world to life in a magazine freely distributed to all. Our task was to come up with a strong name that dealt with Belgium’s issue of bilingualism. A name that had the potential to reach a larger audience and that was in line with the visual identity: MMM or Monnaie Munt Magazine.
Over the years, the art direction became our main creative challenge. Every season, we had to re-invent the visual language for the campaign and brochure. The idea that connects all seasons is claiming La Monnaie/De Munt as a place of creation by inviting a new visual artist every year to collaborate on the seasonal campaign with us. Very exciting.
Artists like Ronald Stoops and Inge Grognard, Asger Carlsen and Maria Friberg have contributed to the strong and unexpected visual voice of La Monnaie/De Munt. Season 13–14 was taken care of by Markus Schinwald, a young Austrian artist. Wonderful work!
The seasonal brochure is a noteworthy piece. A prestigious and practical booklet. A confrontation between the opera and an artist’s work, from Elizabeth Peyton to Anish Kapoor to Francesca Woodman. La Monnaie/De Munt tries to build bridges between opera and contemporary art.
Each brochure has a unique production story. Eighteen thousand copies numbered by hand, a cover as a mirror, a burned brochure, etc. Every production is an adventure!
Last season’s communication (13-14) was the apotheosis of our collaboration. For the first time, we created exclusive pictures for La Monnaie/De Munt with the renowned Belgian photographer Pierre Debusschere. It was without question my favourite shoot ever. I’m not sure whether this kind of work could be performed with every client. Thank you La Monnaie/De Munt for your confidence!