Conception - Facteur d’instrument

Société d’ingénierie dans divers domaines.

Travail avec Björk

Arup a permis la création de la chambre d’écho acoustique utilisée sur scène pour les concerts Cornucopia. Pour sa conception et sa réalisation, Björk et son équipe ont fait appel à Shane Myrbeck, Wendy Lee et Raj Patel, en utilisant le SoundLab d’Arup.

Björk au sujet d’Arup

i would like to thank arup for a divine collaboration, their acousticians helping me design my own private reverb chamber i can travel with. it has been a pleasure ! warmth, björk.

Shane Myrbeck à propos de leur collaboration

“Björk is an inspiring collaborator — deeply creative and dedicated to exploring the outer limits of her work both musically and technically. She challenges her creative teams to work in the realm of the unknown and unprecedented, while balancing her whimsy with a remarkable depth of technical knowledge of even the most arcane aspects of her craft.”

“It was a lot of the language she was using. She was using words like ‘sanctuary’ and ‘private contemplative moment,’” Myrbeck recounts. “As you’re in the throes of design, you end up with a project vocabulary for things. This became the ‘chamber’ or ‘chapel’ pretty quickly based upon those conversations.”


“[Björk] often described two different voices that she uses for singing, ...
One is the one she uses on stage, that’s through the microphone, through the PA, and that’s a specific emotion for her. And then there’s the other voice that she uses when she’s singing by herself or in a nice acoustic room.”
“She was very focused on it sounding right first, ... We often work with architects, so there’s a form to study or a palette of forms to study. In this case, our initial question, was ‘Okay, what do you want it to look like ?’ And she was like, ‘Don’t think of it that way. It needs to sound good first.’”
“She wanted it to be as reverberant as possible…We kept using words like chapel or alluding to the cathedral-type sound...
there are some precedents out there in the world. Before they had digital reverbs, they would literally just have these concrete rooms in the basement and put a loudspeaker down there and just send the sound down to these chambers and record that. That was the old reverb effect. And those are pretty small rooms.”

How did Björk approach you for Cornucopia ?
“It started with a funny email from Derek, her manager. He said she wanted an acoustic room to sing in without traditional stage applications. He described it as a reworked acoustic chamber. And from the moment I got that email I thought, ‘This is amazing’, because it’s pretty far-out. The whole idea of touring with another room as a set piece is unprecedented.”
How did she describe the reverb chamber ?
“In the old recording studios, before they had any digital effects processing or anything, a lot of these old recording studios world actually have these chambers in the basements. There would just be these stone rooms in the basements. It’s actually the most analog and acoustic form of reverb.
That was kind of our precedent and I just thought that the idea of taking that to the stage was really lovely. Imagine getting an email like that, of course you’re immediately like, ‘yes, of course it’s possible’.”
Did anything go wrong ?
“I remember at the opening night, her performance was so elaborate. It was almost a dress rehearsal. But when she walked up the stairs to the stage you could see that she paused for a bit. And afterwards, at the after party we were talking to her and she said : ‘I got on stage and I realised I couldn’t walk up the stairs.’ The dress was so contraining. I thought of everything ! I calibrated all of the projection mapping, I had these crazy 30-foot electronic base cannons, the water procussion, the reverb chamber – and I never thought to try on the dress. I figured that of all the things that would go wrong, it wouldn’t be the dress.”
Can you describe your experience on Cornucopia ?
“She does have her hands in everything. The fear would be that person would be very controlling, but she was just amazingly collaborative ! It was just such a joy to discover. She was very willing to hear ideas and to be swayed when you can make a good case.”

Dazed - Novembre 2019