Immersive Installations at Changi Airport Bring Wonders of Nature to Life With Audio From K-array

k array changi airport

Consistently voted one of the world’s best airports by Skytrax, Changi Airport in Singapore recently unveiled its latest attraction: Terminal 2 which now boasts an immersive experience across two installations aimed at recreating the wonders of Singapore’s natural environment. The two multimedia installations, named Digital Sky and Wonderfall were created by multimedia studio Moment Factory, in close collaboration with the design studio BOIFFILS Architectures, and implemented by systems integrators Electronics & Engineering (Wonderfall) and Electro-Acoustics Systems (Digital Sky). Moment Factory also designed the soundscape of both installations and a K-array system was chosen to provide sound reinforcement for this ambitious installation.

“For our third collaboration with Changi Airport Group, the trust already established with the client allowed us to push the envelope, both creatively and technically,” explains Fady Atallah, Creative Director at Moment Factory. “With these installations, travellers can immerse themselves in Singapore’s nature with two unique experiences on their journey: an awe-inspiring moment at the Wonderfall and a surprising pause under the digital sky in the Dreamscape.”

The Digital Sky, an overhead LED installation above the airport’s airside Dreamscape Garden, required an audio system to create a natural soundscape as visitors move through the space. The soundscape is procedurally generative, meaning that instead of arranging the soundscape on a timeline, it is generated in Audiokinetic Wwise software using a weighted random algorithm. The sound can be modified by changing certain parameters and values in real-time to trigger changes in the density and mix of all its layers. These parameters can also be controlled via an Unreal Engine capsule to respond to changes in the time of day and local weather conditions, creating a unique experience that blends reality with imagination for passengers awaiting their departing flight.

On the other hand, the Wonderfall is a landmark feature of the Terminal 2 Departure Hall. Here, a four-story digital waterfall, measuring 18 metres wide and 14 metres high, displays an array of creative waterfall imagery on a 34.4-megapixel LED wall, interspersed with animations and recreations of roaring ocean waves which never fail to stop busy travellers in their tracks.

Both installations, whilst clearly of a visual focus, required sound systems that would blend into the space whilst providing high-quality, lifelike soundscapes. A K-array solution was elected due to the performance, reliability and compact design of the brand’s loudspeakers, allowing the integrators to carefully install the products with minimal disruption to the installation design. Furthermore, both the Wonderfall and Digital Sky are set amongst real-world vegetation, so K-array’s IP64-certified loudspeakers make them an ideal choice in the presence of water and humidity.

The Wonderfall required considerable audio reinforcement as between ambient interludes, the LED screen displays a 3-and-a-half-minute show consisting of an immersive waterfall animation set to a bespoke piano composition by composer Jean-Michel Blais. Here, the systems integrators opted for a system based around K-array’s Vyper series loudspeakers. These ultra-flat line arrays create minimal visual impact due to their sleek design.

19 Vyper units are supported by two equally slimline Kobra line array elements and four mid-size Domino units. The addition of four, metre-long Python loudspeakers, each with twelve closely spaced 3.15” neodymium magnet woofers, ensures maximum throw and reproduction of the entire vocal range. These loudspeakers are mounted on the surrounding living wall of foliage to ensure minimal visual distraction. Four Rumble subwoofers take care of the low-end frequencies, integrated below the wall, whilst a total of 16 metres of Anakonda ultra-flexible loudspeaker units provide a seamless wall of audio around the bottom of the LED wall. The system is driven by five of K-array’s own Kommander KA84 amplifiers, providing powerful DSP and integration with the QSC control system.

Airside, the Digital Sky at Changi Airport’s Dreamscape enjoys audio through K-array’s Vyper, Kobra and Domino loudspeakers. 19 Vyper units ensure consistent audio coverage, reinforced by six Kobra and eight Domino loudspeakers. Audio playback across the Dreamscape and the Wonderfall is handled via Delta Media Server Infinity by 7th Sense.

“By installing the loudspeakers on the ceiling, balcony and hidden in the vertical garden structures, we could localise the sound of individual birds and wildlife in space,” explains Joseph Browne, Interactive Sound Designer at Moment Factory. “This effect was achieved by using the spatial audio tools in Wwise, as well as driven by the location of actors in Unreal Engine. For example, if an eagle flies overhead on the Digital Sky, this triggers a corresponding sound effect in the correct location in the garden sound system.”

Recordings of almost 100 local wildlife sounds create an unforgettable immersive nature experience.

The placement of the K-array loudspeakers to create an immersive experience in the Dreamscape Garden is demonstrated every 30 minutes in a show that brings the space to life through a three-dimensional orchestral soundscape utilising all 33 loudspeakers. The sound system allows for the individual instruments to be mixed to different locations in the room, resulting in an enveloping musical experience. Whilst the cellos and strings are played from the ceiling, the piano melody comes from the balconies, whilst the mandolin emanates from the garden loudspeakers, literally surrounding passengers with music.

From the hypnotising waves of Wonderfall to the tropical haven of the Dreamscape Garden, Moment Factory has utilised the latest innovations in AV technology to reconnect travellers with the natural world. “By blending a dynamic soundscape with visual content, we’ve created a harmonious environment that immerses guests in the Garden City’s natural beauty, concludes Atallah. “At Changi Airport, travellers can enjoy moments of true tranquillity and wonder in the midst of one of the world’s busiest transportation hubs.”