Artexplorer’s first voyage – around the Mediterranean - is scheduled for March 2024
Europe - Designed by Axel de Beaufort and Guillaume Verdier and the first of its kind, Artexplorer is soon to set sail. As a project that encompasses both culture and environment, it aims to raise awareness of contemporary issues by utilising a revolutionary LED tunnel, made possible by visualisation technology specialists, Leyard Europe.
Since its inception in 1995, Leyard Europe has collaborated on many innovative and transformative assignments. However, Artexplorer presented the company with an opportunity to be a part of something different.
Artexplorer is a one-of-kind work of art, featuring Leyard Europe’s LED tunnel as the main event. At 46m long, it is currently the largest sailing catamaran in the world and built to the highest environmental standards.
Enlisted by Guy Butterati, Co-Founder of AV-IT systems integrator Akumendo, which spearheaded the technical side of the project alongside ArScénique, a solutions and services provider for events and digital systems, Leyard Europe immersed itself in this pioneering project, working closely with Art Explora, the owner's foundations team, from the initial design stage through to completion.
“This has been a truly collaborative process,” notes Xavier Guillermain, France Zone manager at Leyard Europe. “Everyone involved has always tried to find solutions, taking into account all aspects of the project and listening to our advice. The structure’s design is amazing and has evolved from its simpler beginnings.”
With decades of experience in the yachting industry, Akumendo and ArScénique recognised that Leyard was the missing piece of this technical puzzle. “In the consulting phase, we realised very quickly that video projection would not be the right solution,” Butterati recalls. “The progress and evolution of LED technology made a lot of sense, so we decided to push this technology forward, even though it was more expensive,” he continues. “And that’s where Leyard came into the play. We knew it was the only organisation capable of doing what was needed, so we got in touch with Xavier and began working with them. They became a true partner.”
Measuring 16m long by 5m wide and 2.3m high, the tunnel is engineered as a rugged non-permanent installation with no less than 512 special Leyard CarbonLight CLI Flex LED modules and 352 CarbonLight CLI LED cabinets, both with a pixel pitch of 1.5mm. These are housed in an aluminium structure, with the carbon fibre cabinets satisfying the challenging need for rigidity, lightweight and resilience. The supporting structure is installed on silent blocks and the innovative magnet attachments for the cabinets.
The concept of building a 1.5mm pixel pitch LED screen, with tilts and curvature never-before seen, to create and LED tunnel below deck, and mounting it onto a navigating yacht, meant the project had the potential to be a catastrophe, a possibility that taunted the team at a crucial time.
After taking delivery of the metal frame, essential to the integrity of the structure, quality checks revealed errors that could have caused weeks of delays. However, Leyard Europe’s 33,500sq.ft production factory, located just outside Presov, Slovakia, provided the company with unmatched manufacturing advantages, allowing them to repair and repaint the metal frames in just one day. “The dealer’s jaw dropped,” Guillermain states. “He’d never seen anything happen so fast! The factory being where it is means reduced shipping times, which is a huge asset.”
Leyard Europe were the pioneers who brought Art Explora’s vision to life, but even Leyard had not anticipated some of the technical challenges. The structure comprises 2m sections, making alignment difficult to perfect, and is entirely mobile; Artexplorer delicate structure, so Leyard provided technical training to the relevant teams to ensure any immediate repairs can be dealt with independently, quickly and smoothly.
The Art Explora Festival immersive show in the LED Tunnel, curated by Noëmi Daucé, curator of the Louvre’s Oriental Antiquities department, features content related to the representation of women in the Mediterranean.
Artexplorer’s first journey is scheduled for March 2024. She will sail from port to port around the Mediterranean, providing a cultural, artistic, and thoroughly unique experience, and is set to fascinate its guests whilst simultaneously drawing attention to contemporary issues we face.

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