7th March 2012

The world’s first ever mobile acoustic performance shell was unveiled last night. Soundforms was tested on Tuesday 6th March in London Docklands by a stellar cast of musicians.

The BFLS and Arup Acoustics designed structure was tested by top musicians, who delivered stunning performances. These revolutionary shells bring indoor quality and acoustics to the outdoor stage so that top performers can play in a sound enclosure worthy of their talent.

Sound Forms Plc is the new British company behind the consortium that has designed and built these extraordinary mobile shells which are set to revolutionise open-air concerts. The prototype shell was unveiled and tested at the private concert last night, at ES Global, opposite the O2 arena.

Conductor and producer Mark Stephenson conceived the idea and in 2009 formed the company in conjunction with Jason Flanagan and Paul Bavister of BFLS, Ian Knowles of Arup Acoustic and Olly Watts of ES Global. 

Virtuoso violinist, Charlie Siem, said of his experience “I didn’t know what to expect, it looks amazing but whether you can actually create a convincing concert hall sound on the stage for a musician, I wasn’t sure, but it really did! I could hear every nuance of the playing and it had a very flattering sound which felt like it was projecting. It was a revelation.”

At the launch event, young virtuoso violinists Charlie Siem and Nicola Benedetti, accompanied by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, demonstrated the shell’s exceptional natural on-stage acoustics and sound projection, together with short performances by ECM artist and BBC jazz “legend” saxophonist Iain Bellamy; and classical pianist phenomenon Grace Francis; segued with sonic intermissions and bridges by DJ’s Gabriel Prokofiev and Jem Panufnik.

The design team’s challenge was to design and build an outdoor portable sound stage for the global market that would create a visual spectacle, vastly improve broadcast quality and provide an acoustic environment that would enable performers to hear their own music properly.

The world-class consortium includes Total Solutions Group that has built George Michael’s staging, leading engineers Arup Acoustics and Fineline, and Architen Landrell/Tensys who have worked on the NASA space programme. ES Global who builds touring stages for The Rolling Stones and Elton John, is the assembly and delivery partner. 



BFLS designed the recently opened Performing Arts Centre at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

ES Global built the Chanel & Luis Vuitton Pavilions and touring stages for The Rolling Stones & Elton John and is the Soundforms assembly and delivery partner.


Jason Flanagan
Paul Bavister
Armando Elias
Matt Donkersley
Andrea Vannini


Arup Acoustics the world-renowned concert hall acousticians

IMGA the leading international artist agency in the music industry


Total Solutions Group (Birmingham) built George Michael’s stage for his “Symphonica” Tour and for the recent Take That Tour and building the structure.

Architen Landrell (Chepstow) & Tensys worked on “The Quiet Theatre” for Garsington Opera and with the NASA space programme respectively. And have designed and engineered the inflatable skin.

Fineline (Bristol) specializes, amongst other things, in the design and cutting of high quality acoustic panels.

Sound Forms PLC Board of Directors:

Mark Stephenson – CEO (founder)

Jason Flanagan – Director (co-founder)

Paul Bavister – Director

Robin Rowland Hill – Director

Oliver Watts – Director

Registered Company No: 06904328

Company Secretary:

Graham Urquhart, Woodside Company Secretaries (London)

Patent Attorneys:

Beresford & Co (London)

Key facts:


  • is set to revolutionise open-air concerts
  • brings indoor quality acoustics to the outdoor stage
  • allows for a far greater dynamic range, as well as better musical definition and detail
  • will deliver the on-stage acoustics of a world-class concert hall, in a different league from what is usually possible on an average open-air concert stage, offering significant improvements for live broadcast relay and recorded performances
  • is portable, versatile and affordable. It will be produced in three sizes with plenty of scope for customization and individual branding
  • will project out to audiences of up to 40,000 at outdoor festivals when using the large structure
  • will project exceptional acoustic sound quality to audiences in more intimate arenas of up 500-750 when using the small structure
  • has a uniquely designed timber acoustic panelled interior (by leading engineers Arup Acoustics and Fineline)
  • has an aluminium structure that incorporates a striking acoustic peak to improve sound projection, beyond the conductor, reflecting as much sound as possible towards the audience
  • has an inflatable weather proof outer skin that was designed and manufactured by Architen Landrell/Tensys who have worked on the NASA space programme
  • has optimised acoustic reflectors installed onto the fixed overhead and vertical side stage wing trusses that create an inner surface delivering a dynamic on-stage acoustic, enhancing the degree of ensemble between different sections of a band or orchestra, allowing the performers to hear one another and providing clearer broadcast sound quality from overhead mounted microphones
  • features an optional integrated lighting system
  • has been tested by young virtuoso violinists Charlie Siem and Nicola Benedetti, accompanied by the London Philarmonic Orchestra; ECM artist and BBC jazz “legend” saxophonist Iain Bellamy; and classical pianist phenomenon Grace Francis


For further information please contact:

Katy Garland

Alice Fawke

Tel: (00 44) (0)20 7287 8456 (landline)

Sound Forms Plc is the new London-based company behind the world-class consortium that has designed and built the finest mobile acoustic shell in the world Mark Stephenson and Jason Flanagan of BFLS devised the original concept of a contemporary acoustic shell comprising an elegant aluminium structure wrapped with an inflatable skin BFLS, Arup Acoustics and TSG designed the structure The assembly and delivery partner is ES Global who builds touring stages for The Rolling Stones and Elton John  £500,000 of EIS (Enterprise Investment Scheme) funding was raised for an 18-month design-build programme