Soundforms is a mobile acoustic performance shell, designed to bring the quality of an indoor concert hall to the outdoor stage. Able to be built in different sizes, capable of use in a wide variety of weather conditions, and optimised for a wide range of performances, Soundforms is a theatre space for many worlds.
Acoustic principles were fundamental to the development and form of the shell. The core idea for the form came from the notion of a seashell that mythically is able to project the sound of the sea to a listener. The naturally elegant form is a perfect match for the acoustic principles of the design: that of a throat, projecting sound. Analysis of different performance types determined the proportions of the shell interior and reflective surfaces.
Intended for external use in a variety of locations, the shell is portable, and can withstand a wide range of weather systems. With an inflatable skin suspended from an aluminium structure, the design is lightweight and packs into a small space for transport. A series of hung timber acoustic panels allow musicians to hear themselves perform – a rare quality in fabric stages, that ensures a better performance.
The result is a shell designed to project a clearer, louder, and reverberant acoustic. As demonstrated in its summer-long installation at the 2012 London Olympics, Soundforms exists to bring the vibrancy and community of performance to different scales and spaces.
A full symphonic and permanent version of the shell is currently being designed for the San Diego Symphony Orchestra’s Bayfront Performance Park.
Designer Flanagan Lawrence (UK)
Architect: Flanagan Lawrence
Engineer: Malcolm Richards
Contractor: Total Solutions and ES Group
Acoustician: Arup Acoustics
Producer/Director: Egor Piskov
Client: Mark Stephenson
Architect: Jason Flanagan