A groundbreaking interactive audio installation – nearly 200m long – is bringing China’s 6,300km Yangtze river to London Gatwick Airport, using actual sounds recorded on the river.
Delta Sound has installed Bose FreeSpace DS100SE speakers along the length of the 194m Gatwick Skybridge – which links Pier 6 to Gatwick’s North Terminal – to give passengers a real taste of the sounds of the river, all the way from source to mouth.
The company installed over 60,000m of speaker cable – the length of 584 football pitches – during the month-long build up period, working overnight whilst the Skybridge was devoid of passengers. The FreeSpace DS100SE speakers were selected by technical sound designer Davey Williamson of Delta Sound, following months of research, testing and client presentations; they were chosen for their clarity, depth of sound and overall performance on the Skybridge, as well as bringing a well-respected audio brand to the project.
The installation features over 100 hours of authentic sounds taken directly from 35 locations on the Yangtze, and complemented by a wall of colourful imagery showcasing the wildlife, nature and people who call the river home. Called ‘A Living River’, the installation celebrates the work of HSBC’s Water Programme and 15-year partnership with WWF, and was created by J Walter Thompson London, working with creative sound designer Nick Ryan and Delta Sound's Williamson.
Watch 'A Living River' at Gatwick Skybridge here:
The sounds ebb and flow across the Skybridge, transmitted by 160 speakers through 80 channels of audio programmed by Williamson with Merging Technologies’ Ovation Audio Server and Sequencer, to immerse travellers in 3D sound during the journey to and from their planes. Just like along the river, the sounds react to the time of day, the weather on the Yangtze and even the movements of the travellers, using motion sensors. It is designed to give a unique journey, no matter how many times people travel along the Skybridge.
According to Williamson, “Audio was always the essential element in this installation, and it was crucial that we made an impact and delivered sounds that were as close to reality as possible. I worked closely with Nick Ryan, the creative sound designer involved in this unique installation, and made him aware of the speakers that I felt were the right ones for the job. The Bose DS100s stood out, as you can pick up every nuance of sound, whether it be a raindrop landing on a tin roof, or the whoosh of a bird’s wings as it takes flight. The speakers also look exceptional in white, ranged at 3m intervals along the length of the bridge, and drawing attention to the audio without detracting from the experience.”