For the final instalment in our Coastlines Inspirations series, we head to Denge in Kent to learn more about Acoustic Mirrors – concrete structures that both concentrate and reflect soundwaves. These passive devices, with their bold forms and commanding, geometric profiles, helped to inspire our latest Coastlines collections with their rawness and innovative use of material properties.
Before radar, Acoustic Mirrors were used around the coastlines of Britain to detect enemy aircrafts by reflecting the sounds of their engines and act as warning signals. Denge is home to the most famous of these structures, dating back to before WWII.
Known as ‘the listening ears’, the spherical Acoustic Mirrors are made up of three large concrete forms. Built in the 20s and 30s, these reflectors highlight the experimental nature of the structures. One is a long curved wall, while the other two are dish-shaped, and microphones placed at the focus point can enable listeners to detect aircrafts over the Channel.
Although the Acoustic Mirrors had limited effectiveness and were impacted by the increasing speeds of aircrafts, the experiments were given to the pioneering radar teams and examples are still used in science museums today to demonstrate the focusing of sound.
During the design process for our Coastlines collections, the team at Alice Made This spent time studying the materials and forms that make up Britain’s coast. We have been inspired by the textures, geometry and processes that impact our coastlines, combining both its man-made and natural elements to offer you precise, refined collections with a raw yet refined aesthetic.