Light-filled summer days and starry nights bring outdoor music events to parks and playgrounds, where tuneful performances float over audiences lazing on blankets and lawn chairs. One drawback to these idyllic outdoor concerts is sound quality, which is often unpredictable, diffuse and out-of-sync when channeled through multipurpose open stages. During the London 2012 Olympic Games, two U.K. firms developed a solution—Soundforms, inflatable mobile acoustic performance shells that bring concert-hall sound into the great outdoors. Sound Forms PLC, London, is now the main contractor, designer and sales source for Soundforms.
Architen Landrell Associates Ltd., Chepstow, England, created the external skin for the eight inflatable, waterproof, white PVC-coated polyester cushions that form one structural Soundform unit. The sections, connected and sealed with the same air-tight zippers used in National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) space suits, inflate to hold a curved clam shape. The underside is blackout PVC-coated polyester that prevents light from showing through the inflatable exterior and facilitates interior lighting. White Joelastic® poly stretch fabric from J & C Joel, Halifax, England, forms the inside surface, providing elegant looks and acoustic benefits. A quiet, compact air-handling unit runs constantly, keeping the skin taut in wind, rain or snow. This new portable open-air concert option brings heavenly harmony to a popular fair-weather pastime.