the listening project

  • role:
    production/ lighting designer
  • client:
    bbc radio 4 british library
  • location:
    brighton
  • url:

Working as freelance designer with Jason Bruges Studio, Seán designed and built lit sculptures for video commercials of BBC Radio 4 series, ‘The Listening Project’. Working together with advertising agency Karmarama and production company Red Bee Media, we produced sculpted names that react to the radio broadcast audio with concealed internal lighting.

watch video: tv advert 1 “beryl & graham“, tv advert 2 “paddy & sasha” or behind-the-scenes short

Working with two specially edited conversations from The Listening Project audio programme, Seán collaborated with director Giles Revell to design a sensitive manifestation of the already charming conversations of Beryl & Graham, and Sasha & Paddy. The bespoke “name objects” emanate light from within, in character with the voices. Unspoken and spoken moments between the characters were considered closely, with colour and form of the lights in-flux with the emotional atmosphere of the conversation.

Local metalsmith, Joe Waller, was involved early in the project, making the most of his knowledge and skill in manipulating metal for the set design. With his expertise we were able to make a light-weight metal frame design that would minimise overshadowing from the camera’s point of view.

This project asked that Seán reacted to design challenges from an unfamiliar industry, the film industry. Effectively pulling together a team of metal designers and electrical and lighting designers, Seán helped produce a successful TV commercial set design, under incredible expectations from BBC clients, within minimal budget.

Shot on two locations in the south of England, pebbly Brighton beach and the fairytale Firle, the two trailers create a visual experience that enhances the stories without taking away from the power of their spoken words.

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