"It was nice to hear the sounds of east
London on Tokyo radio" - Dominic Wilcox

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In the latest movie from our Designed in Hackney Day, designer Dominic Wilcox speaks about Sounds of Making in East London, a vinyl recording of atmospheric urban noises.

"It was nice to hear the sounds of east London played on Tokyo radio" - Dominic Wilcox

Above: vinyl cutting machine that engraves music onto discs

Dominic Wilcox recorded the sounds of 21 craft and manufacturing processes in east London onto a 10-inch vinyl record to be sold as an alternative Olympic souvenir. The designer spoke about the project at the Pecha Kucha event at our Designed in Hackney Day on 1 August, explaining his surprise at hearing excerpts of his project on a Japanese radio station.

"It was nice to hear the sounds of east London played on Tokyo radio" - Dominic Wilcox

Above: tuning a bell at Whitechapel Bell Foundry

"I thought about what's unique about east London: so we don't have the big buildings like the west do but we have lots of makers," said Wilcox.

"It was nice to hear the sounds of east London played on Tokyo radio" - Dominic Wilcox

Above: illustrations by Clare Mallison

The sounds he recorded include the tuning of a bell at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, the oldest manufacturer in Britain and makers of the bells at St. Mary-le-Bow church and Big Ben.

"It was nice to hear the sounds of east London played on Tokyo radio" - Dominic Wilcox

Above: cooking at a Vietnamese restaurant on Kingsland Road, Dalston

Audio clips of illustrator Clare Mallison drawing "rosemary and chicken with sweet potato" and the cooking and eating of Vietnamese food at a restaurant on Kingsland Road in Dalston also feature on the vinyl.

"It was nice to hear the sounds of east London played on Tokyo radio" - Dominic Wilcox

Above: London's only maker of press knives for cutting leather

Wilcox struggled to his explain his intentions at the restaurant, and says that "after much confusion and me not leaving the restaurant, they let me in and I had fried frogs legs and fried goat".

"It was nice to hear the sounds of east London played on Tokyo radio" - Dominic Wilcox

Above: a factory that makes bespoke spectacles

Wilcox illustrated the front of the sleeve with pictures of the items he recorded and hand wrote descriptions about them on the back, which he explained "took nearly as long as the whole project" to scribe without mistakes.

"It was nice to hear the sounds of east London played on Tokyo radio" - Dominic Wilcox

Above: pie-making on Broadway Market

The record was one of five souvenirs for the London 2012 Olympics by east London designers, commissioned by arts organisation Create and curated and produced by Thorsten van Elten.

"It was nice to hear the sounds of east London played on Tokyo radio" - Dominic Wilcox

Above: packaging of air-curing rubber Sugru

Designed in Hackney is a Dezeen initiative to showcase world-class architecture and design created in the borough, which was one of the five host boroughs for the London 2012 Olympic Games as well as being home to Dezeen’s offices.

“It was nice to hear the sounds of east London played on Tokyo radio” – Dominic Wilcox

To find out more about the other discussions from Designed in Hackney Day, see our highlights reported here. See more stories about design and architecture from Hackney here.