Siida — The Sámi Museum and Nature Centre — in Northern Lapland. Image: Ben Hunt
Genelec monitors are part of the interactive experience at a renovated museum to celebrate the culture of Lapland’s indigenous Sámi people.
The Sámi Museum and Nature Centre — Siida — is one of Northern Lapland’s most popular destinations and recently underwent significant renovation and expansion to accommodate increased visitor numbers and to bring the establishment into line with modern standards. As part of the process, Oulu-based technical systems specialists Caverion Suomi Oy supplied and installed a comprehensive Genelec Smart IP loudspeaker solution on a Dante AoIP backbone. Sound designer Aki Päivärinne from Oioi Collective – specialists in interactive experience design – was responsible for the sound design for the new exhibits.
Living in harmony
The Sámi people live in harmony with the lands they inhabit. Their traditional livelihoods include coastal fishing, fur trapping, sheep herding and semi-nomadic reindeer herding. The newly renovated museum building houses an all-new exhibition where culture fuses with nature, using the latest in museum technology to showcase and celebrate Sámi heritage. There is a strong link between Genelec Siida: The principal architect of the new exhibition — the renowned industrial designer Harri Koskinen — collaborated closely with Genelec for many years.
“My brief was to recreate a soundscape reflecting the multifaceted sounds of nature in Lapland and design a technical solution for it,” explains Päivärinne. “I knew the open museum hall environment would be an interesting acoustic and thematic challenge since it presents the seasons in the same room.” Sámi culture celebrates not four but eight distinct seasons, which dictate the rhythm of life for Sámi people.
“I wanted to create a soundscape that would render a natural and authentic backdrop for the exhibition, which puts the Sámi culture into context,” he continues. “Considering that the Sámi still live in close connection with nature, an interplay between nature and culture seemed like an appropriate starting point.”
When implementing the sound design, Päivärinne was categoric, “I knew I would use Genelec loudspeakers because, in terms of sound quality, detail and transparency, there’s nothing to rival them. It’s also a Finnish brand – and in a museum celebrating indigenous culture in an exhibition designed by Harri Koskinen, it would be sacrilegious to use anything else! It was also a foregone conclusion that we would be using Smart IP technology because the newly renovated technical infrastructure of Siida is based entirely on ethernet cabling, making it very easy for us to plug into the same network.”
It was important to us that, where possible, to use brands whose values mirror our own, especially on issues like sustainability. Genelec meets those requirements.
Siida marketing manager Minna Muurahainen
Smart technology at the heart
Lauri Riihiaho led the team from Caverion, responsible for the Dante network and loudspeaker installation throughout the building. “Our brief was to install the loudspeakers and configure the network switches for Dante,” says Riihiaho. “We installed a total of thirty 4430s plus a pair of 8010s for one of the Sámi cultural displays and a 7040 subwoofer that plays out Sámi shamanic drum sounds. We used Genelec’s Smart IP Manager software to configure the loudspeakers, which was very straightforward and saved us a lot of time. We configured the switches, and everything worked perfectly. A Picturall Mark II media server equipped with a 32 x 32 Dante card acts as the main hub to run all the museum’s media content. We connected the loudspeakers to the Dante outputs of the media server, and that was it — our job was done.
“Smart IP is impressive technology,” continues Riihiaho. “You only need one CAT cable to connect the speaker to the network. You don’t even need to worry about power outlets, as that same cable delivers power via PoE along with the audio and control signals. Consequently, a Genelec Smart IP solution is actually a cost-effective option compared to a traditional analog audio system, as you save money on cabling as well as installation time.”
Staff at Siida are thrilled with the new exhibition in the renovated and expanded space. “We have increased the building area by 50%, which enables us to do justice to the richness and diversity of Sámi culture and its intimate connection with the natural environment,” explains sales and marketing manager Minna Muurahainen. “It was important to us that, where possible, to use brands whose values mirror our own, especially on issues like sustainability. Genelec meets those requirements. We’re delighted with the new exhibition that uses the very latest technology to educate and immerse our visitors into the Sámi environment, which is today under threat and deserves a voice. We see ourselves as an essential part of the mission to preserve Sámi heritage, and the deployment of modern and sustainable AV technology to help tell the story is a key part of that mission.”