Milan 2018 – As a design and architecture material, glass is often used for its transparence. But while there has been a lot of experimentation on its visual properties, very little has been done to develop its acoustic performances. AGC – Asahi Glass Company presents a sound-generating glass which can transform our mirrors, windows and furniture into speakers but also create immersive soundscapes. In Milan, up-and-coming architect Motosuke Mandai created a poetic installation suggesting future acoustic applications.
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Under the rough vaults of Ventura Centrale tunnels time froze. Suspended glass panels float gracefully like if “a large pane of glass fragmented and dispersed in the air.” Explains Motosuke Mandai “(The installation) is permeated by a sense of transient beauty experienced as, in one short moment, the glass is tensed and ultimately liberated from its structural equilibrium.”
As guests walk through, relaxing natural sounds like flowing water and chipping birds emerge from the suspended glass panels. “Only the sounds persist, moving softly as time remains stopped—the sounds of these numerous glass fragments as they recompose themselves into three-dimensional auditory sensations to create a new soundscape”.
This soundscape concept was possible thanks to AGC’s under-development technology that allows the material to produce superior quality sound. “We are using a novel form of laminated glass with a specialized interlayer flanked by two sheets of glass that allows for superior sound quality.” Explain at Asahi Glass Company.
The result is a material able to generate a wide range of sounds spanning from the higher to lower frequencies, in a manner that is stable and clear. “Due to this specialized construction we were also able to achieve suppression of resonance phenomena that is characteristic of glass materials.”
In addition to windows, glass is used in as construction materials, lighting and furniture but also interior design and art. The concept behind the installation is to this material that is so pervasively used in various spaces and to take advantage of its unique qualities in creating a Soundscape.”
Asahi Glass Company has exhibited at Milan Design Week since 2015, with past showings including installations stimulating human senses such as sight and touch.
RELATED STORIES: Read more about Asahi Glass Company on Archipanic.
All images by Akihide Mishima – Courtesy of Asahi Glass Company.