Ten decades of music history around Carnaby Street


Digital Placemaking

Arts & Culture

The App

A commission by artist Lucy Harrison that reveals the hidden stories behind ten decades of music history of the Carnaby area.

As you walk through the streets of Carnaby Village, London, this app provides a unique experience by automatically playing music that originated in the buildings you pass, and gives you access to insider stories which are indicated by plaques along the way.

The app was part of a major public art project by artist Lucy Harrison, commissioned by Shaftesbury PLC and curated by Futurecity.


The sound-walk designer was simple to use and made a lot of the technology seem accessible, allowing me to concentrate on developing the audio content. This was obviously due to being a tried and tested formula for producing walking apps and made good use of Calvium's long experience in the field.

Lucy Harrison, Artist

AppTrails Designer

Production of the app has been powered by Calvium’s appTrails platform. Part of the platform is the sound-walk designer which has allowed artist Lucy Harrison to map out a musical location aware soundscapes around Carnaby Village and to co-create the app with Calvium.

Lucy was able to use sound-walk designer to draw regions on a map of the streets and attach songs to them made by artists who composed, recorded or were inspired by the area.  These sonic spots are then automatically integrated within a base soundwalk app, downloadable to iOS and Android phones, so that  Lucy was able to start testing on location immediately. This early testing is vital for any location aware project as the environment can have such a profound effect on the accuracy of GPS location reporting. The narrow streets and covered court-yards of Carnaby village being an unusually tough environment for getting accurate readings. By working alongside Calvium, Lucy was able to identify issues early on so that we could tailor the app design to suit the environment.

In this case numbered plaques marking the historical locations are attached to the facades of the relevant buildings. We kept the interaction model simple by adding numbered plaques to the map  interface so that when you see one you can tap the corresponding marker to hear the story. The resulting onsite experience is thus a blend of automatic triggering of background music and precise user control for listening to a story in exactly the right place.

If you’d like to hear more about the way Calvium AppTrails could engage your audience, contact jo@calvium.com

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