BE OPEN Sound Portal by Arup

Landmark Project

14 — 23 Sept 2012

Industrial & Product Design, Urban Design

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square



The BE OPEN Sound Portal was designed by ARUP, world leaders in the area of acoustic engineering, with content commissioned by contemporary music organisation Sound and Music.

Situated within one of London’s most iconic public spaces of Trafalgar Square, the BE OPEN Sound Portal was an entirely new kind of installation that focused on the design that you can’t see – that of acoustics and sound – rather than visual spectacle. One of the challenges that the Portal set itself was how to change visitors experience of urban space. An alien black, rubberised structure was home to finely-tuned audio technologies aimed at delivering pure acoustic experiences to visitors in the middle of the Square - one of the busiest and aurally chaotic environments in London. Every day, the BE OPEN Sound Portal hosted one of five leading musicians and sound artists, each of whom was specially commissioned to create a unique soundscape. Visitors experienced a range of vibrant sonic and musical responses, from the sounds of glaciers breaking up to electronically composed music. Sound and Music commissioned award winning Norwegian artist Jana Winderen, radical music pioneer Tom Jenkinson (Squarepusher) and a Russian artist sourced in collaboration with BE OPEN, Ivan Pavlov. Supported by BE OPEN and Arup.