In 2015, we joined forces with Architecture 00. Together, we enjoy collaborating in a shared environment where strategic, urban and social designers, architects, programmers and economists practice design beyond its traditional borders. 00 work with individuals, governments, corporations and communities to solve problems and anticipate change, and to design successful platforms and places. As a studio it aims to reach beyond the design of objects themselves to the social, economic and environmental systems behind them.

Sound Matters

Polyphony was one of seven pieces commissioned for ‘Sound Matters’, an exhibition produced by the Crafts Council with Professor David Toop. The exhibition considered the connections between craft practice and sound art, and invited works that illustrate the ways in which these two distinct practices could collide.

Our design is made from repeated elements of equal size. Each ‘auricle’ is a unit custom-made from spun metal by fabricator AB3 Workshops, with whom we’ve enjoyed a long working relationship collaborating on and delivering projects in the past. 

The final instrument has a spun metal finish, and the aesthetic of a beautifully crafted musical instrument crossed with a mysterious contraption.

Numerous listening horns, or auricles, are arranged across the large surface area of a sphere, and together capture sounds from different directions. 

This work assumes that the critical organ required to experience this exhibition is the ear, rather than the eye. 

By offering an acoustically buffered environment, the sounds of the surrounding exhibition and gallery are captured and amplified; the harvested sounds conjuring up a new soundscape. 

Virginia Woolf once jested that the avid gallery goers who devour art like bees to flowers, should really develop into a kind of species whose essential organ consists only of the eye, or a thousand eyes to serve the purpose to best effects.

Following that train of thought, when invited to take part in an exhibition related to sounds and listening, where the essential organ of the exhibition visitor would be the ear, we decided to design a large compound ear that separates, abstracts and re-organises the myriad sounds of our environment, which often end up in a mixed broth.