Great things to do with shipping containers #2
Andy Dixon - September 2011
BDP’s Manchester studio partnered with the Manchester International Festival (MIF) to design Music Boxes – a musical playground designed for children aged 6 months to 7 years.
BDP’s Manchester Chairman Gavin Elliott and Design Associate Jasper Sanders designed a mini city of shipping containers which were constructed at MediaCityUK in Salford Quays, the new home of Children’s BBC in the UK.
The 78 steel units were stacked up to three high in an irregular pattern, eschewing the traditional logic of containers in linear rows to create an elliptical, enveloping shape.
This layout was developed deliberately by BDP to evoke the natural geometry and symmetry of sound, the serrated planes of spaces that receive and reflect sound, and the sculptural form making of minimalist artists such as Donald Judd and Richard Serra.
Other features evocative of shipping incorporated into BDP’s design concept include a sail-like canopy, formed from wire rigging and truck tarpaulins, suspended over the central area, in addition to giant, stencilled, super-graphic signage panels affixed to the ends of the containers.
Gavin Elliot said of the project: “We’re delighted to have worked with MIF on such a playful and creative project which will resonate both literally and figuratively within its surroundings.
“We’ve sought to ensure that the design captures the spirit of the shipping container as the ubiquitous tool of world trade and a true 20th Century icon.
“We also wanted to reflect both the industrial heritage of Salford Quays and the next chapter of its regeneration, which will see working docks return to the area some thirty years after the last ones closed.”
Festival Director Alex Poots said of Music Boxes: ““We’re committed to making high quality work for children, an area which can often be undervalued. We’re pleased to be collaborating with these fantastic artists, the BBC, Salford City Council and BDP on such an exciting, ambitious project.”
Once installed some containers became miniature performance spaces, some were specially customised recording and animation studios, while others were kitted out as interactive installations allowing the very young to explore a fantastical world of sound and music.
To create the Music Box installation, BDP worked closely with curator Rachel Clare of Crying Out Loud and George Woolley of Universal Containers. Music Boxes workshops and sessions for children ran throughout the 2011 Manchester International Festival (30 June to 17 July.)
Installation concept and design by BDP.
Music Boxes is commissioned by MIF Creative, BBC, Salford City Council and Abu Dhabi Festival, produced by Manchester International Festival and CBeebies, and supported by the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA).
Extracted from www.architizer.com