The Mesmerizing Beauty of Anechoic Chambers

June 12, 2013 | Andy Cush

Anechoic chambers–sealed-off rooms designed to prevent the intrusion or reflection of sound or radio waves–can be astoundingly beautiful places, it turns out. Though some chambers are filled with gray, institutional acoustic foam, others use otherworldly blue spikes like the ones above, which are designed to absorb and deaden any sound or electromagnetic waves that may arise inside the room. The blue, however, is purely aesthetic–one longtime professor who’s spent years working in chambers like these says the spikes were originally black, but eventually changed so as not to be so depressing.

Inside the chambers, researchers can test the effectiveness of an antenna, speaker, or microphone without any outside intrusion. It’s not exactly the most artistically inspiring work, but photographer Alastair Philip Wiper, who has built a career photographing the settings of science and industry, captures the surreality of the environments wonderfully. Spikes protrude from all surfaces like alien stalagmites and stalactites or giant colored pencils. It’s oddly satisfying to know that some venues for science actually look as weird and futuristic as you’d hope they would.

Wiper’s anechoic chamber photos are currently on display as a part of SOLAR/ANECHOIC, a solo showing of sciencey photos, at Copenhagen’s Etage Gallery.

SOLAR/ANECHOIC, June 6 – June 16, Etage Gallery

(Photos: designboom)