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Art installation recreates how our environment might sound to people with Alzheimer’s Disease

Therese Raft Therese Raft Australasia Press Office,content
22 October 2017

Arup and BLOXAS Architects collaborated on a soundscape installation to demonstrate what our everyday environment might sound like to a dementia sufferer.

Showcased at Alzheimer’s Australia Sound Field in Melbourne from 18 – 20 October, the installation aims to start conversations about designing spaces that are more friendly to dementia sufferers.


We wanted to make an interactive installation that would create a semi-recognisable but confusing and disorientating soundscape. From discussions with people at the conference who have dementia it seems that we have succeeded in this aim. ”

Nick Boulter Nick Boulter Associate Principal at Arup (Acoustics Group)
We interview the acousticians and architects behind the art installation.
People walking through acoustic panels People walking through acoustic panels

We created this sound field using transducers that turn ordinary steel and timber panels into loudspeakers. This is teamed with some state-of-the-art highly directional loudspeakers that are hidden within panels and these create a very thin beam of sound which can be ‘bounced’ around between the panels like balls on a pool table.

As the panels are moveable, this allows the visitors to create new soundfields by directing sounds in different ways, making the sounds appear to come from different locations.  This all adds to the level of confusion and disorientation.

Watch the 'making of' the sound installation.