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V&A - Faberge

Immersive, Other


The brief

In the autumn of 2021, the Victoria & Albert Museum opened “Faberge in London: Romance to Revolution”, a major retrospective of the Russian master goldsmith’s work. We were commissioned to create several immersive pieces of music, each for a differently themed room of the exhibition.

The challenge

The exhibition took visitors on a journey through a period of intense change, not just in the British capital, but across the world as it moved from a golden age of Victorian affluence and into the perils of two world wars. Our challenge was to distill the mood of three distinct historical moments into three tracks which would stand alone but which also belonged together (not least because they would be playing at high volumes in adjacent rooms.)


Our approach

V&A encouraged us on our own journey in understanding the historical context from which Faberge’s popularity in Britain spawned (his only branch outside of Russia opened in London in 1903). 

We worked with the show’s curators to explore some rich archive material that examined the golden age in which he rose to fame, and the subsequent changes to the global political climate – and, importantly,  what these meant for Faberge and his brand.

For ‘Lure of London’, a room which celebrated the pre-war golden age in the British capital, when Faberge’s glittering creations were all the rage among a growing affluent class, the show’s curators gave us a collection of archive footage and steered us towards the music of les Ballets Russes. 

We repeated phrases from Glazunov’s The Seasons, a piece which felt emblematic of the time – elegant, energetic – and layered the strings and piano chords with glittering percussion which suggested opulence.

In ‘War, Revolution and Exile’, we set out to capture the gloom of world events – the Russian revolution and The Great War – with the sounds of flames, distant gunshots, a heartbeat, all underscored by a cello in perpetual A minor, a note we chose so that it would flow seamlessly into its more hopeful relative major in the ‘Finale’ room.

Here, a room which showcased the biggest collection of Faberge eggs ever to be exhibited together, we wanted visitors to feel a palpable release of tension: to compose a piece that felt uplifting but also reflective. We worked with cellist Lucinda Chua on this end, who played a reinterpreted version of Reinhold Glière's String Quartet No. 1 in A major.

Room: Finale

Room: War, revolution and exile

Room: Lure of London


The result

In the Evening Standard’s 4-star review of the exhibition, culture editor Nancy Durrant said:

After the shock of the revolution though, the curators, who clearly can’t resist the spirit of absolute pleasure that characterises the entire Fabergé enterprise, relent and you enter the throne room of the Easter Eggs (the sound design, by the way, is a delight, from the twinkling music box theme of the first few rooms to the dark dissonance of the revolution, to the more imperial, stately music of this final, royal room) celebrating the Fabergé legacy.



  • Client: V&A
  • Music and Sound Design: father