With an impressive forte of marrying design and parametrics, Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) is known for its fully digitised, 3-dimensional design process. Enabled by the studio’s competent digital production, the Zaha Hadid Virtual Reality Group (ZHVR Group) has been collaborating with various developers - for hardware and software - to merge virtual reality (VR) technology with design and architecture, since 2014. This specialist research unit (ZHVR Group) within Zaha Hadid Architects is devoted to exploring and practising the potential of virtual reality technology, in both architecture and VR specific designs.
One such design is the result of a partnership between ZHVR Group and L-Acoustics. A global leader in premium audio, L-Acoustics Creations (within L-Acoustics) has crafted unrivalled sound technologies, for residential, cultural and experiential areas. Of their creations, ‘the Island’ was configured as a personal auditorium with a multichannel platform. Presented as the Island’s signature edition, the LOOP is an immersive sound lounge, developed as ZHVR Group’s pilot project, and marks their first collaboration with L-Acoustics Creations.
LOOP is essentially a design child of the two, incorporating the highest resolution audio of L-Acoustics’ Immersive Sound Art (L-ISA) with ZHA’s eponymous design language, and the studio’s continuing development of innovative new concepts. This is a sound lounge with an undulating, ‘looped’ body and exceptional acoustic performance, supported by virtual reality technology.
Design of the LOOP Sound Lounge
Inspired by natural forms, contemporary engineering, and its characteristic geometry of curves, the LOOP’s visual immediately draws attention to the intrinsic Zaha Hadid design vocabulary and unites L-Acoustics’ sound technology effortlessly. The sound lounge seems to float above the ground, due to its accentuated lighting, which can also be controlled according to one’s use.
The LOOP conceals within its fluid form, a range of the latest advanced hardware and software, enhancing user experience. The faultless audio offers dynamic clarity and realism through 24 independent channels within the sound lounge. The incorporated L-ISA bubbles technology revisits the basics of music production, guaranteeing full playback restoration of layered, multidimensional embodiment of contemporary professional recording. Encoded in the proprietary Blu 23.1 format, BluBubbles delivers a powerful concert-level experience within a personal environment. The circular recliner allows users to experience sound from the artist’s perspective or become deeply immersed in the realistic audio while watching a film.
The LOOP’s design process involved virtual reality workflow developed by ZHVR Group – from initial conceptual sketches, immersive modelling software, to mixed reality simulations. This allowed a comprehensive evaluation of the design’s materiality and ergonomics. At any point within its development process, all iterations, including the technological collaborator’s input, could be presented to the client as immersive, high-definition virtual reality demonstrations.
LOOP is designed to deliver the finest acoustic performance to users, with its exceptional detailing and material selection. It is available in a variety of finishes, ranging from hand-crafted wood to carbon fibre.