News & Views
5 Jul 2021

Reinventing Texture: KP Acoustics collaborate in immersive art installation

Leading noise, vibration, and acoustic consultancy, KP Acoustics, has collaborated with creative designers, curators and design institutes for the London Design Biennale exhibition at Somerset House, London. KP Acoustics has designed the interactive and sound displays featured in the immersive Reinventing Texture installation. The global gathering of design kickstarted on 1 June 2021 and will continue throughout the month until 27 June 2021.


Inspired by the Biennale theme of resonance, Toshiki Hirano’s Japan pavilion, Reinventing Texture, curated by Clare Farrow Studio, is an immersive design and sound installation that addresses the present and future of the urban environment through traditional and modern textures, objects and sounds, collected in the cities of Tokyo and London.


It is a pavilion of friendship between Japan and the UK, at a time of barriers and disconnection, and celebrates the importance of sharing research experiments and digital innovations on an international scale, while at the same time reflecting local traditions and materials.


The work has been made in collaboration with students from the MA Interior Design at the Royal College of Art in London. Working remotely through Hirano’s virtual photogrammetry workshops, the students collected urban textures and made field recordings for the immersive and interactive sound collage that has been created by MSCTY Studio in Tokyo and designed by KP Acoustics. The sound responds to visitor interaction, modulating as one moves around the installation.


The resulting non-hierarchical juxtaposition of traditional, kitsch, abstract and contemporary elements explores our response to colours, textures, scale and associations, using advanced digital technologies to communicate the complexities of the city, but combining these with slow, patient, meticulous hand-craft and sustainable, natural materials. The results are unexpected and haunting. The resonances are powerful.


Hirano transforms traditional Japanese Washi paper, an ancient and environmentally sustainable material grown from natural plant fibres, rather than wood pulp and the traditional Japanese papier-mâché technique, into a material for the modern day. Speculating on the experiential future of the city in the post-pandemic world, it presents a myriad of textures without the danger of touch.


Using 3D scanning and digital fabrication, Hirano transforms the flexible, light, thin but durable, organic and biodegradable Washi paper into innovative and imaginative structures, with surprising strength, suggesting future possibilities.


“Washi paper is made of longer fibres than Western paper and this makes Washi paper sturdier,” explains Hirano. “In the technique of Papier-mâché, patches of paper are layered randomly and this will add more structural strength to the surface made. What I found interesting in this project is that the structural properties of surfaces that have highly complex forms made of digitally scanned models are more rigid and stronger compared to a smooth and flat surface.


“I think the direct impact of Covid-19 on the built environment that we are witnessing, such as face masks, clear partition walls, and others should fade away rather quickly. However, I think there are significant indirect and latent impacts to our sensitivities that could last much longer and affect our cultures and eventually how the city is. I don’t think these impacts can be verbally described, and that’s why I think the artistic approach in this project is effective in addressing the issues,” concluded Hirano.


We’re always looking to push barriers, whether that’s in the art world or the built environment. Want to know more about our innovation and knowledge exchange in acoustics, audio and noise control? Check out KP Acoustics Research Labs.

I am interested in

    Contact Us