One of the best kept secrets at the Battery Wharf Residences and Fairmont Hotel is the wind chimes inside the site directories. Arrowstreet was hired to provide a comprehensive wayfinding / signage program for the complex and these directories were always intended to play an important role. The idea for wind chimes came to us as we rushed to meet a client deadline for another City of Boston review presentation. We designed the directories with a nautical feel to complement the great design of the landscape environment provided by Halvorson Design Partnership of Boston.
At the very early stages of the project a sculpture was proposed for the main vehicular entry to the site. This piece of art was to consist of metal tubes splaying off in all directions and moving in the wind. The sculpture was never realized but the idea of metal tubes and the wind on the waterfront lead to the wind chime concept. We designed the directories to house six metal tubes suspended on cable and kept in relative place with a metal plate having oversized circular cutouts. The tubes would sway with the wind and ‘clang’ as they hit within the metal openings. This all seemed like a nice idea and it was readily approved by our client and the City. The fabrication contract was then awarded to Design Communications, LTD. of Boston.
The folks at DCL took a liking to the chime idea and decided to take it one step further. They decided to ‘tune’ the metal tubes to enhance the sound. The craftsmen researched the potential and built a special fixture to support the piece as they lovingly adjusted the length of each tube, the exact location of the interior supporting bars and the size and shape of each opening in the plate. The result is a very beautiful soft chime, tuned to specific notes, as the wind blows through the site along the water’s edge. The sound mimics the sound of sailboats docked along the wharf and adds to the magic of the old Boston waterfront. If you get a chance, walk by and listen sometime.