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Observations: Outdoor performers to use their own shell-likes


Jason Flanagan, one-time employee of Norman Foster, and who is now a director of BFLS Architects, has just rolled out the prototype of Soundforms, a sophisticated, shell-like, soundstage, whose components can be set up in a few hours.

Flanagan has set up a stand-alone company to manufacture and market Soundforms with the rather hip conductor Mark Stephenson (the Oscar-winning animation of Peter and the Wolf by Hugh Welchman and Suzie Templeton was his idea).

The svelte shells can be used by ensembles ranging from rock bands to chamber orchestras and choirs.

Flanagan says there have already been enquiries from music and touring-band promoters. This is not surprising, given that the Soundform was designed by BFLS with considerable input from ESG, the company responsible for mobile stages for The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and Madonna.

The Soundforms, recently tested publicly in Greenwich, deliver resonant sound – Flanagan claims "unparalleled acoustic projection".

It's all about reflection: though the shells are sleek, their inner surfaces carry movable lines of sound reflectors whose positions can be tuned to deal with various kinds of music. The other key feature is the way the overhang of the Soundform is peaked.