In recent years, the intersection of technology, robots and art has resulted in some of the most groundbreaking and thrilling performances. IAAC has been gaining expertise firstly with the collaboration with Ceramica Cumella and Isern Associats for “Robotics Ceramic Facade,” which translated Max Richter’s music into ceramic carvings and then with “Robotic Orchestra” concert season by Orquestra Ciutat de Granollers. During the performance, robots were utilized to produce large ceramic pieces in real-time, which were inspired by the orchestra’s music. This project was made possible with the support of the Master in Robotics & Advanced Construction of IAAC, in collaboration with its industry partner Ceramica Cumella.

The “Robotic Orchestra” project is a result of the collaboration between the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) and Ceramica Cumella, which builds on the experience gained from the “Robotics Ceramic Facade” project for the Ohla Hotel in Barcelona in 2017. With Robotics Ceramic Facade, IAAC designed and applied an algorithm so the robot was able to transform a musical input into carvings on the ceramic bricks which cover a Barcelona hotel’s façade. The music played on ceramics was the album “Recomposed by Max Richter: Vivaldi’s Four Seasons,” published in 2012 by Deutsche Grammophon label. The whole work is composed by 1120 pieces (800 in the front and 320 in the main hotel entrance), each one containing eight seconds of robotic reinterpretation of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons Recomposed by Max Richter.

Robotic Orchestra pushes the boundaries even further by reinforcing the connection between music and robotics in real-time, with the robots interpreting the music simultaneously. IAAC solved a high-level technology challenge by connecting technology across different disciplines and developing custom algorithms and pipelines to make this project possible. It involved a Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) sound analysis, an artistic programming system (VVVV), a computational drawing system (Grasshopper 3D), a robotic control system (ROS), and two 6-axis collaborative industrial robots (UR).

After months of development and experimentation, the robots made their live performance debut “The Elements” at the Granollers Auditorium. Over 30 talented musicians performed in front of an audience of over 200, with the robots interpreting the music and creating ceramic pieces. The final pieces are now permanent installations at the Granollers auditorium. The project was met with widespread acclaim from the public and received extensive coverage from local media outlets. It highlights the exciting possibilities when technology and the arts intersect.