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Manufacturing a HUGE sound space

Cameron Balloons produced an amazing sound space for Amie Slavin, Sound Artist.

by Hannah Cameron

Manufacturing a HUGE sound space

Amie Slavin, Artist, design idea was a cold-air inflated arch with in-built speakers, to artistically evoke thought, using 48 speakers in special ‘pods’ inside the structure.

As visitors wander through, they feel truly immersed in sound. This transportable and quick to inflate structure built by Cameron Balloons in Bristol has been named 'The Sound Spiral' by Amie Slavin.

Amie, developed the concept and stated, ‘by providing both venue and playback hardware in one manageable, flexible rig it can be taken to events and new audiences reducing the cost of this innovative large format sound system.’

Amie’s first piece of harmonised sound will be called "Babel Spring" and will see the inflated atrium space filled with the languages of the world united through prose which, aims to celebrate and create a new piece of music, blending voices into harmony.

Sound spiral was manufactured by Cameron Balloons in Bristol in the Cameron Fabric Structures Department.

David Boxall (Cameron Design Engineer) led and project managed the design along with Adrian Keeley, Eileen Davies and Elizabeth Davies who together have over 85 years of manufacturing experience between them. They crafted the heavy-duty PVC type fabric into the sleek dome shape using sewing and heat-sealing skills.

During production, as this amazing product is so big it was actually easier to move the machinists and their machines around rather than try to move the 609metres of fabric!

‘Sound Spiral is a pop-up sound art venue, consisting of a 12m-long inflatable hoop structure and embedded 48-channel net-connected sound system pulling-in, crowd-sourced audio from around the world. Even a fast-moving visitor, intent on ignoring the creative work within, will take several seconds to move through the space and passing through it will be an arresting experience!’ States Amie.

Amie Slavin describes the Sound Spiral in action, ‘The spiralling structure will hold, tucked securely into specially designed niches and held firmly in place, 48 speakers. These speakers will follow the shape of the spiral so that, when sounding, the entire spiral will come to life with spiralling sound, enlivening the giant motif with a dynamically vivid representation of the spiralling of creation, from DNA to galaxy formations. At each ‘doorway’ of the space will be abutted by a large doormat, serving the double purpose of reducing ‘slapback’ echoes within the space and protecting the centre of the spiral/tunnel from muddy feet.