Techno attraction offers multisensory journey through electronic music

When an Amsterdam club’s fate hung in the balance, enterprising music professionals devised a rescue plan to transform it into museum by day, club by night. Anna Mitchell explores a unique AV installation that delivers for both audiences.

The team behind Amsterdam’s new techno museum, Our House, have rescued one of the city’s dance music institutions while simultaneously celebrating and exploring the rich history and culture that surrounds electronic music.

More than two years in the making, Our House resides in the building that used to be iT, a much-loved, iconic Amsterdam nightclub known for hedonistic parties through the 1990s. By day, Our House offers visitors a multi-sensory journey through electronic music and club subculture. Three nights a week, the same site welcomes clubbers as Club AIR.

The visitor attraction is a collective effort. A group of professionals from the city’s dance music scene first had the idea to revive the iT site with a techno attraction. Embarking on the project, they soon discovered that events producer ID&T, the company behind festivals including Tomorrowland and Awakenings, also had ambitions to create a museum dedicated to electronic music in Amsterdam. A collective effort made sense, and the two parties joined forces.

The next crucial recruit to Our House was First Impression audiovisual. The Tilburg, Netherlands headquartered AV integrator was a perfect fit for the project. Ron Haans, CEO of the company, is a house music enthusiast and had an early career as a DJ before founding First Impression, an AV company operating in the events and rental space. Over the years, First Impression has shifted further into AV installation and content creation within retail and experience centres and spaces like Our House. Haans says it’s been many years since he’s been seen behind decks, but as soon as he heard about Our House, he was on board.

Initial hopes to use much of the fabric and some of the AV systems in the existing nightclub were quickly dashed. “When we got on site we realised quickly we couldn’t repurpose any of the technology,” explains Patrick Versteegh, solutions architect at First Impression. “But it got worse when we also discovered we’d have to completely replace the ceiling as it wasn’t strong enough to support the rigging and equipment we wanted to suspend from it.”

A full overhaul of the space commenced, and AV systems for the nightclub were installed. The Our House team forged a partnership with Harman and all audio systems throughout the space are JBL in a vast installation of loudspeakers and subwoofers powered by Crown I-Tech HD series and DriveCore Install amplifiers. Additional audio processing is handled by two Bose ControlSpace EX-1280 DSPs. Nine square metres of Newstar 3.91mm LED was installed behind the DJ booth, and a further 38 square metres of VISS 9.3mm LED behind booths to the left and right of the dancefloor. 

It's this central area of the of the nightclub that is used for the start and the finish of the Our House experience. The attraction is timed; up to 120 visitors enter as one group and head straight to the centre of the club for a 15-minute introduction.

The main sound system is built from JBL VTX line arrays with 16 A8 elements and 8 subs. Additional VRX subs are installed below the stage. This supported by four JBL AC18/26 loudspeakers. A Soundcraft Vi1000 digital mixing console was provided for FoH.

Retractable projection screens can be lowered on three sides of the dancefloor and, combined with eight 15k lumen Epson projectors, deliver 270-degrees of projected content. Another two Epson projectors (20k lumens each) fire onto the dancefloor.

The projection is supported with further lighting and effects that combine six lasers, moving head lights mounted on moving trusses, 12 CLF Lighting strobes, 150m of LED light strips and Magic FX CO2 Jets.

Visuals here are delivered by a Dataton Watchout system that handles timecode video playback, serving up more than 20 million pixels. Control of lighting, motion and projection screens can be accessed by an MA Lighting grandMA lighting console.

The opening show introduces the origins of house music and uses Chuck Roberts’ legendry My House speech worked into powerful content. It’s an impressive starter that shows off the venue’s punchy sound system and sets the scene for what’s to come.

Visitors then have 45 minutes to explore the museums’ exhibits and installations with the instruction to meet back on the dance floor at the end. 

Most clubs only come to life at night, leaving prime city centre properties unused throughout the week. Our House changes all of that, but it wasn’t easy. Dotted throughout the club are a series of what would appear to be solidly permanent exhibits. However, many of these are designed to pack quickly into flight cases they are either placed on top of, or built into.

Alan Luring, manager and founding partner of Our House, says the team has got the transition from museum to nightclub down to less than 30 minutes. “It took a lot of practice but that’s our record and we think we can get quicker,” he jokes. “But we don’t have technical people on the staff and, in addition to being quick, we have to get the exhibits in place and working at the press of a button.”

Many of the exhibits are complex multimedia installations and First Impression had its work cut out to have very complex systems up and running with simple, quick and failsafe operation. Extron PCP Pro 360Qxi control processors are installed throughout the site and First Impression programmers wrote more than 10,000 lines of custom code for the project. “It represents 1,000 hours of programming time,” says Versteegh. Control is accessed via Extron TLP Pro 1025T touchpanels.

A good place to start the tour is with the History Masterclass. A Samsung 2.5mm LED wall runs along the back wall of an area just off the main dance floor. Seamlessly integrated into the centre of the wall is an 85-in Samsung display that appears to effortlessly float in portrait orientation. Versteegh explains it took extensive calculations to achieve the effect. “We had to make sure that there was space in the LED for the display mounting fixtures but of course you can’t cut LED tiles,” he explains. “We had to calculate exactly where to install the LED to make sure the display panel was centred.”

A short video on the origins of dance music -  from underground roots to stadium-filling stars – features information delivered by virtual Our House hosts as well as famous DJs including Carl Cox, Charlotte de Witte and Diplo. Kexcom delivered a clever blend of focused content on the display integrated with background visuals running along the LED wall. Content is driven by Scala media players and a JBL 5.1 sound system provides audio.

Another exhibit looks at dance music around the world with a Pufferfish PufferSphere interactive globe central to the installation. Other visuals in the same area are delivered with Epson projection on one of the walls, and a five-by-one display wall comprised of portrait mounted Samsung displays. Content is powered by a mix of Scala and Aopen players.

A large Displax touch table invites visitors to scroll through decades to see rave flyers from the period. Dragging a flyer onto a central “turntable” will play music from the event through one of eight sets of JBL headphones installed around the table. Two displays form the touch table but the interactive surface had to be seamless, so First Impression installed a single IR overlay over both units. The content is served by an Aopen player, while the Intuiface platform delivers the interactive experience.

Interactivity continues with a dance music quiz served through headphones and three Samsung displays paired with Aopen players. Visitors to Our House are also encouraged to explore approaches to making electronic music and a small variant of the Redbull sequencer allows visitors to compose their own tracks they can listen to through headphones. Visitors can dance to their track, viewing themselves on seven LG screens controlled with Datapath FX4 videowall controllers.

Visitors can also create their own audio sequence on a larger Redbull sequencer, the largest analogue unit of its kind in the world. Alongside the sequencer, First Impression built a sampler wall that allows visitors to play and experiment with classic samples, as well as experiment with iconic drum machines such as Roland’s TR-808 and the TB-303, listening to the samples and sounds through JBL headphones via Brightsign audio players. Samsung displays driven by Scala and Aopen players deliver visuals.

After that, if visitors have a taste for music creation, they can go through a DJ tutorial. Four set ups are available where instruction is provided via a Samsung screen to play and mix tracks. For those more into listening, a crate-digging experience offers that chance to look through boxes of ‘records’. Vinyl covers are recreated on plastic squares the same format as a record and, using RFID, if the record is placed in a slot, it plays out through JBL headphones, while information on the track is provided visually.

Forty-five minutes in this techno playground, that also includes dance music memorabilia including a Deadmou5 mouse head, one of Daftpunk’s iconic helmets and Carl Cox’s DJ Mag award from 1995, goes quickly and it’s soon time to head back to the dancefloor.

In the final show, called The Culture Ride, Our House creators throw everything at the visitor. A full sound and light show features classic dance music tracks spanning nearly 50 years and multiple genres. LED surrounding the edges of the walls is synchronised with projection on four surfaces, lasers and lighting. It’s here that visitors also experience the surprise of the vibrating dance floor, created with Powersoft's Mover direct-drive transducers, for the first time.

Our House doesn’t just tell the story of dance music through exhibits. The club experience is woven into the very fabric of the museum right from entry where visitors queue to enter the club together. The AV installation stretches out into these areas too with a Samsung LED wall used to deliver a countdown to entry, supported by signage delivered by 55-in and 98-in Samsung displays driven by a mix of Sacla and Aopen players. The JBL sound system extends out into the entrance and shop as well. Four JBL AC28 speakers are used in the entrance, while the shop uses Control 28-1 speakers powered by a Commercial series amp and processing delivered with a BSS Blu-50 unit. Extensive use of LED continues with 30 dynamically controllable LED lines from LED lighting specialist oneeightyone.

Absen LED and further lighting, driven by Aopen and Scala, is also installed on the façade of the building, enticing visitors passing through the busy spot just off Rembrandt Square.

Everyone involved in this project has been impacted by, and in many cases made careers from, electronic music and the culture that wraps round it. Multiple organisations, international artists and of course technical teams have collaborated to create this interactive, playful, and multi-sensory experience. This is a project born of passion and it shows.

And it doesn’t stop there. Luring says there are already plans underway to bring the concept to other locations. “We’re looking at how to build experiences in other nightclubs in other dance music capitals around the world, as well as to use some of the approaches from Our House for temporary pop-up exhibitions,” he closes.



Bose ControlSpace EX-1280 DSPs and EX8ML Dante endpoints
BSS Blu-50 DSP
Crown I-Tech 4x3500, DCi 4|1250 and DCi 8|600 amplifiers
JBL VTX A8 line arrays and VTX subs; VRX, LSR310S and ASB6112 subs; AC18/26, AC28 and Control 28-1 loudspeakers; 308P MkII studio monitors; CSA 1300Z amplifier
Powersoft Mover
Soundcraft Vi1000 digital mixing console


Video & Lighting
Absen LED
Aopen media players
Brightsign media players
CLF Lighting strobes
Datapath FX4 videowall controllers
Dataton Watchout software
Displax touchtable
Intuiface touchscreen platform
Epson projectors
LG displays
MA Lighting grandMA lighting console
Newstar LED
oneeightyone LED lines
Pufferfish PufferSphere display
Resolume software
Samsung LED and 55-in, 85-in and 98-in displays
Scala media players and software

Control & Processing
Extron PCP Pro 360Qxi control processors and TLP Pro 1025T touchpanels

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