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Luxembourg firmly at forefront of creative industries with Velvet Flare studio creation


Luxembourg recently became the home of a unique innovative digital art studio setup. The only one of its kind in the Grand Duchy, and without a doubt, an outstanding, unique and innovative proposition in Europe.
 

Named Velvet Flare, it merges a wide array of talents working together within a young skilled team not seen anywhere else, such as producers, coders, creative technologists, scenographers, 3D animators, choreographers and designers.
 

Velvet Flare - launched in January this year - is based at the 1535° Creative Hub in Differdange, and founded by entrepreneurs and artists Damiano Picci, Richie Jegen, Marion Guth, François Le Gall, Nicolas Blies and Stéphane Hueber-Blies. For Damiano and Richie, the two co-managers, this is not their first business venture as they are both heads of various set-ups in Luxembourg's digital industry such as Beast Records, Kreativ Stuff, FOQUS, Konektis and others. Marion, François, and the Blies Brothers, are  co-founders of a_BAHN, a pioneering company in Europe in digital projects and an international award winning Luxembourg-based film production company with 10 years of experience in developing the art of hybridisation bringing together different art forms and genres.
 

Mission

But what does Velvet Flare do? It's a digital and immersive art studio in "eXtended Reality", referred to as XR,  an umbrella term encapsulating Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Mixed Reality (MR), and everything in between. And this is Velvet Flare’s playground. 
 

The Velvet Flare studio is positioned in the cultural creation and entertainment sector, combining art and innovation, storytelling and gaming, etc. In particular the studio develops installation works which are becoming increasingly popular and sought-after with the general public in the international market. Forecasts by Greenlight Insights, a worldwide market research, data and advisory service for virtual and augmented reality, predict that immersive installations could become a €14 billion market in 2023, and €35 billion by 2028.
 

Velvet Flare therefore positions itself as an industrial and artistic driver responding to Luxembourg's need to develop its cultural industry in order to respond to new uses by generations X, Y and Z in Europe and internationally.

The digital artists and co-founders, Stéphane and Nicolas Blies, better known as the filmmaking duo Blies Brothers, explained. "It has been many years since we have been involved in hybridisation of new technology and it is an industry that we really believe in. However, we noticed that today in Luxembourg and indeed in Europe, there is missing a studio that regroups all these skills and talents. So we discovered a way to combine all these skills. But we didn't just create it to be opportunistic, we created it because we have a need, because we could see that this will develop and today Velvet Flare is really on the way to  being a player in creating extremely innovative and state of the art projects".
 

Projects
Indeed Velvet Flare, despite only being in existence for four months, already has several extremely large and ambitious digital art and immersive projects, not just in Luxembourg but around the world!
 

* Launching on 1 August this year, at the renowned digital art venue PHI Center in Montreal, Sex, Desire and Data is a massive 500m2 interactive and multisensory experience that explores the connections between sexuality and technology. In a society where digital technology and algorithms are taking more and more place in our lives, "Sex, Desire and Data is a tantalising experience in which you can immerse yourself, and where sexuality and technology intersect in a captivating and welcoming space" explains the project's logline. Velvet Flare has supervised the construction of a huge interactive installation created by Luxembourg artist Laura Mannelli, created the 3D sound of the whole exhibition, and produced the graphic design and 3D animations for parts of it. A world tour of Sex, Desire and Data is then planned for the coming years, with a stop in Luxembourg in 2025. 
 

* Another example is the project entitled Ceci est mon coeur (This is my heart) that is being set up and exhibited in all North America and across Art centres in Europe. Ceci est mon coeur is also a collaboration with PHI Studio, a project designed by the Luxembourg-based artists, the Blies Brothers. It's a large 200m2 exhibition combining immersive video-mapping, connected clothing and is the brainchild of the Blies Brothers. It is described as "A child’s magical reconciliation with their body. This child is us. This story is ours. The story of the restoration of the child that we were and the adult that we are now, with our bodies hurt and broken, but that we love, despite everything, with all our heart". Velvet Flare's role is the development of generative art algorithms and the creation of animated sequences in a real time environment. The exhibition can accommodate 30 people at the same time.
 

Future

Manager and co-founder of Velvet Flare Damiano Picci stated “Today there are very few studios that can be as specialised in digital art and in merging of genres whether it be cinematographic, theatrical, musical or digital. All those mediums aren't necessarily able to work within the same organisation, something that this Luxembourg company will excel at and is already extremely advanced. The studio anticipates a development of all that is immersive art, digital, cultural creations, expositions, etc., meaning Velvet Flare is perfectly positioned to be at the forefront".

Velvet Flare has many more projects in the pipeline, and others waiting in the wings already. With that in mind its objective is to become a major studio in Luxembourg, and a European point of reference, with   an international target in the world of XR and digital art.

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