The sound experience has always been an important component to landscape architecture. The rhythmic gushing of fountains or of the trickles of artificial water, the singing of caged or free birds, the rustling of particular leaves and the creaking of gravel or cobblestones, has, historically been an integral part of the multi-sensorial experience that garden design is able to offer, with a charm and emotional ability of rare “integration” of aesthetic expression, symbolic articulation and nature.
Environmental public spaces and landscape designs developed according to a multi-sensorial approach allows for unexpected and extraordinary results, as in the case of the Sonic Garden at Villa Borbone in Viareggio. The historical park behind the Villa is set up with a real great naturalness as a theatrical space. Its geometries, the wide riggings, the glimpses and the visuals on the architecture and landscape, make of it an open theatre, an ephemeral architecture that takes shape from the relations and interactions system that the movement of the garden manages to activate.
The “garden” architecture, with its own spatiality and materiality, made by voids and fulls, becomes an acoustic and sound space, characterized by its own resonance, spontaneity, distance, in brief, a varied memory of sound events. Adding the dimension of musical diffusion has immediately begun to mean amplifying all the spatial and relational qualities, made by reconquered present (the Villa restored and opened to the public) and the continually rediscovered history (intact historic expressivity of the Villa Borbone context).
A knowledgeable design, rendered possible by the research and experimentation brought on by Architettura Sonora, has given to Villa Borbone’s garden a spatial identity which is dynamic and changeable, where the space models and is modeled by the sounds, allowing the visitors to interact with the many levels of environmental landscape of the Villa.
A system of omnidirectional sound modules (that is the closest technological to the natural spring) – 14 spheres in Impruneta terracotta – are distributed on the ogival perimeter of the central section of the garden, configuring an uniform sound amphitheater, which cannot be immediately spotted, positioned on the ground but with an unimaginable vertical sound breath. In addition, the air modules of Architettura Sonora, hanging from the Park’s high riggings, add an important ultra-vertical component to the sound spatiality: an acoustic surprise of “distinct height” and the ability to redirect the diffusion downwards, as it is inside a gothic cathedral, aligning the acoustic-spatial perception of the environment along the imposing banches of the centuries-old trees.
The sophisticated multichannel system allows every sound module to be musically independent, as if it is an instrument of an orchestra that plays and replays the garden of Villa Borbone with its own music, always new, fully integrated and perceived as natural, thanks to materiality of the sound modules, the Tuscan terracotta, that make them integral parts, actually structural, of the garden system.
Villa Borbone’s Sonic Garden is set up as a real musical instrument, able to play even for live concerts, performances and dj-sets.