With sophisticated online network and media technology, anyone can now make and play music anywhere — but in the United Kingdom, Flanagan Lawrence has built the Acoustic Shells to bring back traditional bandstands, celebrating sound and the people that make it
On a sunken garden beside the beach in West Sussex's Littlehampton, England, the Acoustic Shells sleekly emerge from the ground, doubling as a stage and shelter for the local community. The shells, designed by London based practice Flanagan Lawrence, were derived from the notion of traditional bandstands, which were once hugely popular yet lost their appeal in recent decades.
On their heyday, bandstands were conceived as a solution to the increasing need for green open spaces where the general public could reside and relax. Following the first bandstand in Britain in the Royal Horticultural Society Gardens in South Kensington in 1861, they became overwhelmingly successful in the early 20th century, and were subsequently installed in parks across the country.
These were the times cherished and remembered by the Littlehampton Town Council when they held a competition in 2012 to seek for an innovative creation that can reinvigorate the promenade, as well as to raise the town's reputation. "Our judging panel agreed that the design for the acoustic shells, submitted by Flanagan Lawrence, fitted beautifully with the surrounding seascape and the iconic architecture along our seafront," says Joyce Bowyer, then mayor of Littlehampton.This is a preview of the "Where music should be played” article from the December 2014 issue of Perspective magazine.