The name says it all: LUCERNE FESTIVAL ARK NOVA was initiated by Festival Executive and Artistic Director Michael Haefliger and the Japanese concert agency Masahide Kajimoto in response to the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami suffered by Japan on 11 March 2011. As a “new ark," LUCERNE FESTIVAL ARK NOVA was intended to make a contribution to cultural reconstruction in the regions of Japan that had been affected.
For this purpose the Japanese architect Arata Isozaki and the British artist Anish Kapoor developed an inflatable mobile concert hall. It serves not only as a platform for high-level artistic offerings but also as a vibrant and diverse venue for gatherings, bringing together international and local musicians, artists and audiences. LUCERNE FESTIVAL ARK NOVA was inaugurated in the fall of 2013 in Matsushima; in 2014 it traveled to Sendai for its second season; and in 2015 the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ARK NOVA operated in Fukushima and additionally received the Classical:NEXT Innovation Award.


It’s an eye-catcher: a work of architectural sculpture which blends harmoniously into the landscape and whose unusual shape attracts attention, seeming almost weightless on account of its light materials. LUCERNE FESTIVAL ARK NOVA was designed as a formless shell that does not require a conventional supporting structure. The shell consists of an elastic, inflatable material that allows the hall to be easily disassembled, transported, and reconstructed in another location. For interior decoration, cedar wood from the Zuiganji Temple region was used in order to establish a connection to sites that are highly signifiant for Japanese spirituality and history. A freely floating, reflective acoustical balloon ensures optimal sound. The effect is impressive for visitors as they become immersed in an organic space whose soft, round shapes and color scheme illuminated by aubergine and pink convey a sense of protection and warmth. LUCERNE FESTIVAL ARK NOVA’s flexible seating space can hold up to 500 persons.