Giant timber megaphones amplify sounds of Estonian forest

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Giant timber megaphones designed by students to amplify sounds of an Estonian forest

This trio of mammoth timber funnels is designed to magnify the natural sounds of a forest in southern Estonia, and to double up as a space for ramblers to contemplate and rest.

Unplugged Kingsize Megaphones by Estonian Academy of Arts interior architecture students

Created by a group of interior architecture students from the Estonian Academy of Arts, Unplugged Kingsize Megaphones is installed in a densely forested site in the Pähni Nature Centre, near the Latvian border.

Over 50 per cent of the country is covered by forest – previous woodland projects there include a winding elevated pathway by Tetsuo Kondo Architects and a faceted woodland cabin by Jaanus Orgusaar.

Unplugged Kingsize Megaphones by Estonian Academy of Arts interior architecture students

The structures were built off-site by the students in Estonia's Medieval capital Tallinn, before being transported to the site.

Unplugged Kingsize Megaphones by Estonian Academy of Arts interior architecture students

The megaphones were then positioned around a small clearing, creating a "bandstand" for the sounds produced within the forest.

Unplugged Kingsize Megaphones by Estonian Academy of Arts interior architecture students

Measuring three metres in diameter at their widest point, each structure is large enough to create a lounging spot for several people.

Unplugged Kingsize Megaphones by Estonian Academy of Arts interior architecture students

"At the centre of the installation, sound feeds from all three directions should create a unique merged surround sound effect," said department leader Hannes Praks.

"The megaphone installation provides an excellent opportunity to experience the meeting of contemporary architectural space and wild nature, and it is freely accessible for foreigners as well as local travellers."

Unplugged Kingsize Megaphones by Estonian Academy of Arts interior architecture students

The project has its origins in a workshop carried out in the woods by Derelict Furniture designers Tõnis Kalve and Ahti Grünberg and Aet Ader, Karin Tõugu, Kadri Klementi and Mari Hunt from architecture studio B210.

Unplugged Kingsize Megaphones by Estonian Academy of Arts interior architecture students

The workshop leaders asked the interior architecture students to come up with concepts of a forest library with Valdur Mikita, an Estonian author who writes about the importance of forests to Estonian culture.

Birgit Õigus designed the winning proposal, which was then constructed with the help of fellow students and installed on the site in September 2015.

Unplugged Kingsize Megaphones by Estonian Academy of Arts interior architecture students

"It's a place to listen, to browse the audible book of nature – there hasn't really been a place like that in Estonia before," said Mikita.

Photography is by Tõnu Tunnel.


Project credits:

Designer: Birgit Õigus
Construction: Mariann Drell, Ardo Hiiuväin, Lennart Lind, Henri Kaarel Luht, Mariette Nõmm, Johanna Sepp, Kertti Soots, Sabine Suuster