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Hard Rock Case Study at

Founded by two young Americans in London in 1971, the Hard Rock Cafe was always an improvisation. Its initial mission was to serve American diner-style food and be a place – unknown in the UK of the day – where students, artists and secretaries might mingle with bankers and barristers. Soon, the Hard Rock Cafe on Old Park Lane, with its late hours and youthful vibe, had evolved, quite accidentally, into a haven for musicians.

The memorabilia collection started quite by accident as well – long before Sotheby’s started auctioning multi-million-dollar guitars. One day Eric Clapton is at the Cafe talking to co-founder Isaac Tigrett, asking could he hang a plaque to save the guitarist’s favorite table. Isaac says, we don’t do plaques. But how about a guitar? A short time after, Eric sends over a red Fender Lead II. A few weeks later, Pete Townshend stops by and spies Clapton’s axe, and the next day a Gibson Les Paul arrives with a note: “Mine’s as good as his! Love, Pete.”

So began the largest, most valuable rock memorabilia collection in the world, with more than 70,000 pieces – from the red Fender that still hangs in London to the Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour bus.

In late 2007, Duncan/Channon, Hard Rock International’s worldwide marketing agency, proposed that its client share that collection – beyond the confines of its Cafes, Hotels and Casinos – with the entire world. It was an ambitious project, but not as ambitious as it would become when Duncan/Channon called on Vertigo to consult.

Vertigo recommended Silverlight and Deep Zoom, and the Duncan/Channon team instantly saw the potential.

Microsoft saw the potential, too – for the world’s first Deep Zoom site – and encouraged the team to complete it in time for their 2008 MIX Conference. Working closely with Duncan/Channon’s designers, Vertigo managed to complete development of version 1.0, showcasing 258 of Hard Rock’s most amazing memorabilia pieces, in an astonishing 30 days. The memorabilia site was launched to the public on March 5 as the hit of the MIX08 keynote presentation.

Along with Hard Rock’s amazing internal team and Duncan/Channon, in 2008 Vertigo continued to implement new features – including a portable memorabilia widget. In 2009, the online collection will grow past 1,000 pieces. And every day, Vertigo – with the encouragement of a very satisfied partner, Duncan/Channon, and a very satisfied client, Hard Rock – is devising more ways for visitors to share and explore it.

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  • Written from the ground up using Silverlight
  • Extensive use of Silverlight 2 Deep Zoom
  • Use of Deep Zoom Dynamic collections to allow for fast, on-the-fly sorts and filters
  • Vertigo BigPicture™ Silverlight 2 Deep Zoom technology for image automation
  • 64-bit code running on 64-bit servers
  • Streaming Videos
  • 700+ items of memorabilia
  • Fully integrated with SharePoint for content management