The world’s first ever mobile acoustic performance shell called Soundforms was unveiled on 6 March in London Docklands.
The BFLS and Arup Acoustics designed structure was conceived by conductor and producer Mark Stephenson to bring indoor-quality acoustics to the outdoor stage. In 2009 Stephenson founded a company, Sound Forms Plc, in conjunction with Jason Flanagan and Paul Bavister of BFLS, Ian Knowles of Arup Acoustic and Olly Watts of ES Global to formulate his idea. The design team’s challenge was to design and build an outdoor portable sound stage for the global market that would create a visual spectacle, vastly improve broadcast quality and provide an acoustic environment that would enable performers to hear their own music properly. The design is portable, versatile and affordable. It will be produced in three sizes with plenty of scope for customization and individual branding and is designed to project out to audiences of up to 40,000 people at outdoor festivals when using the large structure. Using these mobile shells, Sound Forms Plc hopes to revolutionise open-air concerts.
One of the performers on the launch night included violinist Charlie Siem who said of his experience “I didn’t know what to expect, it looks amazing but whether you can actually create a convincing concert hall sound on the stage for a musician, I wasn’t sure, but it really did! I could hear every nuance of the playing and it had a very flattering sound which felt like it was projecting. It was a revelation.”
BFLS also designed the recently opened Performing Arts Centre at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama which is a building review in March 2012′s edition of Architecture Today viewable at: Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama