Skip to main content

Opera is only about the contemporary

In 2007, La Monnaie was a reputed institution, but it lacked a global brand identity in line with its reputation. We participated in a competition to create a new visual identity for The Belgian Royal Opera House. The challenge was to express the vision of newly appointed director, Peter de Caluwe, which allowed for classical productions as well as contemporary performances produced in-house.

Peter de Caluwe and Christian Longchamp, newly appointed general director and director of dramaturgy respectively, launched a competition to rethink the global visual identity in line with their new vision for opera.

Thierry Brunfaut, Creative Director & Partner

Our first decision was to challenge the art direction by avoiding the 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 – the language of fashion & beauty.

The imagery we have created is very different from what opera houses typically use. 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 from a long list of posters.

Anthony Franklin, Partner & Design Director

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. Opera open to all.

Thierry Brunfaut, Creative Director & Partner

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 addresses Belgium’s bilingualism. We chose a name with the potential to reach a larger audience and that was in line with the visual identity: MMM or Monnaie Munt Magazine.

Anthony Franklin, Partner & Design Director

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 common thread running throughout all seasons is the intrinsic creativity of La Monnaie/De Munt: each year a new visual artist is invited 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 in which opera is in constant dialogue with the work of different artists from Elizabeth Peyton to Anish Kapoor. La Monnaie/De Munt tries to build bridges between opera and contemporary art.

Thomas Leon, Creative Director

Each brochure has a unique production story. Eighteen thousand copies numbered by hand, a mirror as a cover, a burned brochure etc. Every production is an adventure!

Fumi Congan, Production Director

The 2013-14 campaign 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 an astonishing shoot. I'm not sure whether this kind of work could be performed with every client. Thank you La Monnaie/De Munt for your confidence!

In 2011, La Monnaie/De Munt deservedly won the “Opera House of the Year” prize awarded by the German monthly magazine, Opernwelt.

Thierry Brunfaut, Creative Director & Partner

After a break of two years, we restarted our collaboration with La Monnaie, creating the “Open Opera” concept of the 2017-18 season, inviting Thomas Robson to design the visual.