HSBC has launched an interactive audio installation in London's Gatwick airport that aims to recreate the sounds of the Yangtze River for travelers as they walk through the terminal.
The installation, described as "the world's longest and most advanced soundscape in an airport," features authentic sounds recorded on the river and celebrates the work of HSBC's Water Programme, a partnership with WWF helping to safeguard freshwater resources across Asia, Africa and Latin America.
The sounds are transmitted by 160 speakers to immerse travellers in 3D sound as they take a travelator across the airport's "Skybridge," which passes over an airport taxiway. More than 100 hours of sound were recorded so that passengers have a different experience every time they cross the bridge, changing due to time of day, the weather on the Yangtze and even the movements of the travelers. The installation uses 60,000 meters of speaker cable -- the length of 584 football pitches.
The idea for the installation and eventual sound experience were both created by J. Walter Thompson London and its in-house event and experiential team, JWT Live. (See behind-the-scenes images here.) BAFTA-winning sound designer Nick Ryan, who worked on the soundscape with the agency, said in a statement: "I believe that sound, and the act of listening, can entirely transform our sense of place and thus, ourselves. I wanted to design a highly immersive audio installation that could 'relocate' listeners, for an instant, to the banks of the Yangtze River, with a tangible, 'first person' sensory experience of its pace, beauty and diversity."