News and Events

Sound Portal arrives in London’s Trafalgar Square

Charlotte S Charlotte Fernández UKIMEA Press Office,Leeds
19 September 2012

Today sees the arrival of the BE OPEN Sound Portal in Trafalgar Square as part of the tenth anniversary of the London Design Festival 2012.

Situated within one of London’s most iconic public spaces, the BE OPEN Sound Portal is an entirely new kind of installation that focuses on design that you can’t see – that of acoustics and sound – rather than visual spectacle.

A black, rubberised structure, designed by Arup, will be home to finely-tuned ambisonic audio technologies aimed at delivering pure acoustic experiences to visitors in the middle of Trafalgar Square.

Our intention with Sound Portal was to provide a design that is all about sound and how spatial sound stimulates the imagination. The Sound Portal project has given us a fantastic opportunity to harness a captive audience in an iconic location. The environment is one of the busiest and most aurally chaotic environments around, so it should be an unusual experience.

+ Stephen Philips, Senior designer behind the Sound Portal

The BE OPEN sound portal is an extraordinary piece of design and creativity from Arup. Visiting the portal is a fantastic experience and I would implore anyone in London in the next few days to take the opportunity to see it – it is not to be missed!

+ Sir John Sorrell, Chair and Founder of London Design Festival

One of the challenges that the Portal has set itself is how to change our experience of urban space. Arup’s acoustic technicians, engineers and designers have long been pioneers in this field, using sound design to change how we experience airports, stadiums, auditoriums, even roads. The BE OPEN Sound Portal gives them a real life experimental space to develop this work and actively demonstrate design’s transformational capabilities.

Each day, the BE OPEN Sound Portal will host one of five leading musicians and sound artists, each of whom has created a unique soundscape. Expect a range of vibrant sonic and musical responses, from the dramatic sounds of the natural world, such as glaciers breaking up, to exquisitely detailed electronic music. Cocooned from the external noise and bustle of the city, the BE OPEN Sound Portal allows visitors to experience a very different environment, one created by sound alone.