Stephanie Forsythe and Todd MacAllen, co-founders of the Canadian multidisciplinary design studio molo have announced that, along with American sound artist Ethan Rose, they have created experimental prototypes that turn molo’s award winning softwall room dividers into speakers. The sound system does not use traditional speakers but instead seamlessly integrates transducers which sonically activate the paper-like layers that make up the structure of the expandable and flexible partition wall.
Although the system is purely experimental at this point, molo plans to eventually make its unique sound system commercially available.
“With this design our modular and flexible walls can produce very clear high and upper mid-range sound. softwalls can be shaped to the room they occupy. They can also make more intimate space within a room – a place of unique layered sound” said MacAllen, describing the application.
molo will demonstrate the system during Design Week in Milan, Italy from April 17th to 22nd, 2012. Ethan Rose has created a sixteen channel composition that draws from a range of musical and “paper sounds”. Rose’s composition will resonate its music and sound within a passageway of yellow molo softwalls.
“Visitors will experience a very physical sensation of sound with different sounds emerging from different locations along the wall. Touching the paper walls you will feel the vibrations of the music.” said Forsythe, describing the installation.
molo’s installation will be part of MOST, a new centre for design, food and cultural innovation, instigated by British designer Tom Dixon. MOST will take place at Milan’s Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia during Design Week.
As part of molo’s continuing exploration of flexible walls and temporal space making, this installation marks the introduction of a new vibrant yellow colour for molo’s textile softwall + softblock modular sytem. The colour allows the material to retain its translucency while enhancing the quality of light transmitting from behind or within the softwall. Variation of luminance results from the shape and nature of the wall. The colour is printed directly on the textile as acrylic ink, with a transparency that draws attention to the delicate pattern of the material’s fibres. molo now has the ability to offer textile softwall in any Pantone colour using the same printing method.
Previously, molo collaborated with Ethan Rose on the 2009 project northern sky circle. Forsythe and MacAllen designed and built an ephemeral outdoor room using only snow. Rose composed a sound piece, based on recordings sounds made with snow and ice, that was played inside.
Softwall, part of molo’s softwall + softblock modular system, is a flexible freestanding partition system that can expand and contract to freely shape more intimate spaces within larger open areas. Recognized for its elegant innovation, softwall + softblock is a part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York.
molo’s softwall + softblock modular room divider has been recognized through several international awards including Denmark’s 100,000 Euro Index Award and Dwell magazine’s Modern World Award.
A similar past design variation of the softwall + softblock modular system has seen the flexible room divider emit glowing light using seamlessly integrated light emitting diodes (LEDs). This product is now produced and available through molo.