Angelenos might soon see a “silvery orb” roving around their neighborhood. Don’t worry, it’s not an alien visitation, it is radio station KCRW’s newest portable sound booth for Sonic Trace, a new media and radio series project that charts the Mexican and Central American immigrant experience in Los Angeles. After a few weeks of deliberation, KCRW chose California-based Mat-ter Design+ Build Studio’s La Burbuja as the winning entry. Translated as “the bubble,” the design is a highly reflective orb that encloses its subjects in “a non-space that is elegant but not intrusive,” said Hugo Martinez, who co-founded the studio with Christin To.
While calling attention to itself through its reflectivity, La Burbuja also effectively counters any immediate environmental bias, said Martinez. “We wanted to create an environment where a person can just be on their own,” he said. The studio is now choosing between sheet metal or fiberglass covered with a reflective chrome paint to skin the orb. La Burbuja is designed to be made out of six “slices,” each made out of low-density foam (LDF) on which seating will be carved out. Using foam helps keep the sound booth light and mobile.
The combination of highly-reflective surfaces and foam interiors also keeps the sound booth cool during long interviews. The studio is still comfortably within the $5,000 budget allocated for the project and Mat-ter Design + Build is on schedule to deliver the sound booth within a month.