It’s no exaggeration to say that Temple of Light (光廷) has taken Shanghai by storm over the past year. An immersive, animated, projected art project, it covers a 600 sqm space on the world-famous Bund, and has become one of the city’s most successful attractions of recent years. Hailing originally from Paris, the first Shanghai exhibition combined a Ukiyo-e inspired exploration of 17th-19th century Japanese art with a kaleidoscopic digital exploration of shape, matter, colour and sound, in collaboration with the world-famous Danny Rose studio. Upon launching a second space in Shenzhen, and installing a new European-themed exhibition in Shanghai, Temple of Light enlisted Zenfeel’s help to ensure a totally immersive acoustic experience. In this article, we’ll talk about the challenges Temple of Light faced, and how Zenfeel helped surmount them.

Temple of Light

The term ‘immersive’ has become a buzzword in the worlds of theatre, exhibitions and public events in recent years. It implies an experience where an audience is transported away from their sense of ordinary life. To be immersed in art is to forget that it is being presented. It is to momentarily experience a space and time where only the art, and one’s perception of it, exist. It requires that an audience be wrapped up, swept away, their focus entirely captured. There are only a handful of projects in Shanghai and Shenzhen that can truly lay claim to having created such an experience, and Temple of Light is one of them.

Immersion, in this case, is achieved by a multi-sensorial hijacking of attention. Upon entering the exhibition space, the audience’s entire visual field is filled with Danny Rose studio’s beautiful moving images. All walls and floors are projected upon, including dividing wall columns, creating a world that is at once whole and yet mysterious, ready for exploration. Simultaneously, a spatialized sound system creates a 3-dimensional sound environment, such that different parts of the space literally contain different sounds, adding to the experience of exploration.


Artistic immersion is easy to break. It is fragile. Think of those moments in the cinema when someone in the rows ahead takes out their phone. While, seconds before, we may have been entirely engrossed by the film on-screen, having forgotten all about our surroundings, suddenly we are reminded that we’re in a cinema, surrounded by other people. We’re no longer in the world of the film, but back in our own worlds, in which the film is simply moving images projected on the screen ahead, and sounds coming from a speaker.

For Temple of Light, maintaining a sense of immersion is of the utmost importance. The audio and visual fields have to be of the highest integrity, so that this lapse never occurs; so that the audience forgets that they are an audience, and fully exist within the art.

Challenge One – Audio

In large, mostly-open rooms such as those used by Temple of Light, there is a huge challenge to maintaining decent audio quality, due to reverberation. Though we’ve covered it before, in brief, reverberation can be thought of as the continuing presence of sound in a space after its initial occurrence. Open spaces with hard, flat surfaces allow sound waves to bounce around, often giving the impression of sound being projected, but with a slightly tinny feel. With multiple sources of sound all in one space with high reverberation, it will quickly begin to feel ‘noisy’.

To solve this problem, Temple of Light decided to project not onto hard walls, but onto large acoustic panels. These panels work by using specific materials that are good at absorbing sound, rather than bouncing it back into the room. In the construction of their new Shenzhen space, Temple of Light used Zenfeel’s Polyester Acoustic Panels. Made from 100% recyclable polyester fiber (PET), they effectively reduced reverberation so that the spatialised sound system can effectively localise distinct areas of sound, while minimizing the impact of audience noise. Following Temple of Light’s satisfaction with these panels, they also replaced the panels they’d originally used in their Shanghai location, during the brief window between exhibitions.

Challenge Two – Visual

The effect on noise was not the only motivation behind Temple of Light switching their Shanghai acoustic panels for those made by Zenfeel, however. While different surfaces reflect sound differently, so, too, do they reflect light differently. In a space in which high-quality projection is paramount, the production team required a solution that would allow for the images to be displayed true to their form. The PET panels supplied by Zenfeel have the advantage of being fully colour-customizable, are designed with a texture such that they don’t interfere or stand out in any obvious way, and can be fitted with no visible joints between panels. For all intents and purposes, they can behave, visually, like walls. For Temple of Light, this was a huge improvement.

Challenge Three – Safety

All public venues in modern times are conscious about the safety and security of the people who inhabit them. Although the worst construction practices are a thing of the past, with the likes of famous carcinogen asbestos now happily just a note in the annals of history, there are still materials that leak harmful substances into their surroundings found throughout modern builds. Certain paints, plastics, glues, solvents and more can leak toxic ‘Volatile Organic Compounds’ (VOCs) into the air over time. Fortunately, Zenfeel’s Polyester Acoustic Panels are tested against the American CDPH test standard, classified as having low VOC emissions, and are compliant with the LEED and WELL certification. Moreover, they can be fitted with low-emission glue. Temple of Light, therefore, can be assured that air quality will not be effectively impacted by the acoustic panels.


Both the Shanghai and Shenzhen locations for Temple of Light are now fitted with large Zenfeel Polyester Acoustic Panels. They allow for an appropriately balanced sound, such that the spatialized 3D audio system can work effectively, while reducing noise generated by audiences. Their custom colour profiles, smooth texture and seamless joints create an ideal surface upon which to project, and their low-emission qualities ensure that air quality is not negatively impacted. For information about how Zenfeel might be able to support your project with acoustic panels, please feel free to reach out to us.

Discover more about Temple of Light