With ‘the world’s most beautiful sound’ as its concept, the design of the hall took into account not only opinions of leading conductors and musicians but also music lovers in various fields. The Main Hall was designed in the vineyard style, the first of its type in Japan.
As all 2,006 seats are directed towards the stage — just as terraces of vines are orientated towards the sun — the sound showers down on all seats like rays of sunlight. This design allows both musicians and audience to feel that they are in perfect harmony with each other and to be fully immersed in the musical experience both acoustically and visually.
Suntory Hall is in itself a magnificent instrument. In order to deliver the most beautiful pianissimo to every corner of the hall, vineyard style seating was chosen, and the form and materials of the floor, walls, ceiling and seats were carefully considered. Several acoustic tests were conducted using scale models to attain the ideal sound characteristics: 1) a rich, relaxing sound, 2) a stable sound supported by a profound bass, 3) a clear but sensitive sound, and 4) a three-dimensional sound. When fully seated, the reverberation time of the hall is 2.1 seconds in midrange frequencies.
Cutting-edge technologies are used in the stage mechanisms as well as the sound and lighting control systems. An ideal stage can be set up quickly for all kinds of orchestra configurations. Optimum acoustic effects can be achieved by adjusting the height of the sound reflectors located above the stage. The logically-constructed, fan-shaped stage floor is divided into 39 sections, each of which can be raised up to a meter above stage level in one-centimeter increments.
The concert organ placed above the stage of the Main Hall is one of the largest organs in the world with 74 stops and 5,898 pipes. Master craftsmen from the renowned Rieger Orgelbau of Austria handcrafted each and every pipe to achieve soft and warm sounds in keeping with the acoustics of the hall. After the organ was installed, the pipes were further adjusted for perfect tuning. In addition to its large number of stops, the organ is equipped with the latest computer memory system so it can be used to play a wide range of repertoire. In addition to the main console, it can be operated using a remote console set up on the stage.
The seats are laid out in the vineyard style and a rich Burgundy material with a grape pattern is used for the seating upholstery. The pattern was created by the Austrian design house Backhausen and was a popular design in 1930s Vienna. Removable seats are also available for audience in wheelchairs.