The Tonhalle Düsseldorf was originally constructed as a planetarium, the Rheinhalle, by German architect Wilhelm Kreis. Converted into a concert hall in the 1970s, the dome structure lacked the proper acoustic needs for a concert venue. In order to provide a more “modern feel” and acoustic renovations, Hentrich-Petschnigg & Partner (HPP) Architects utilized metal mesh for the hall’s interior.
The architects decided on a special mesh production, made of stainless steel and bronze, for the cladding of wall and ceiling sound deflectors. Nearly 27,000 square feet of mesh type Omega 1540 was used to clad these sound deflectors. The deflectors no longer reflect the sound directly into the rows of the audience, as the former wood paneling of the dome used to do; the sound is now guided up into the dome. The result is a surround sound without interference and with improved reverb that guarantees the audience unadulterated musical pleasure.
Importantly, not only the audience will benefit from these new acoustics, the musicians on stage will also be able to hear each other better from now on. This is an important precondition for harmonious, high-quality ensemble playing. The special wire mesh, with its novel optical qualities, also sets new aesthetic standards, considering that the idea was to maintain the former color scheme and spatial impression, with as little change as possible.
With a blue backlight, the specialized metal fabric gives the chamber music hall an unmistakable look. Tiny lights installed in the interspace between the inner dome and the outer reinforced concrete dome shimmer mysteriously through the textile-like structure of the mesh and transform the concert hall into a musical planetarium. Depending on the angle of view, the effect shifts between glittering opaqueness and transparency, to give the impression of an unadorned beauty that constantly creates new and surprising perspectives.