We’ve seen (and heard) some pretty cool musical playgrounds over the years–but the Ringing Singing Tree in the North West of England puts our local parks to shame. This elegant structure was designed by architects Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu, who together make up the firm of Tonkin Liu. The sculpture–which comes close to ten feet tall–is set at the foot of the Pennine mountain range. Those overlook the town of Burnley in Lancashire. The Ringing Singing Tree is part of a series of projects constructed to be part of a revival of the Lancashire area, and the Tonkin Liu structure has brought in plenty of tourists.  [photos via Mid Pennine Arts]

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The location’s previous structure was an old transmission station beneath old telegraph lines. It’d be kind of nice to see pictures of that. We still don’t feel too bad that the building and the lines were taken down for this galvanized steel with an impressive range of octaves. The Ringing Singing Tree comes with an impressive view, too. You can even check out a panoramic look at the countryside here. It’ll give you an idea of how there’s always a breeze to keep the tree ringing and singing–and moving to emulate a real tree being blown in the wind.

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The Ringing Singing Tree really inspires the imagination. In fact, that was part of its job. There was even a competition for people to create stories about the tree. You can find some examples from adults here and from the local youth here.  Frankly, all the stories seem to come from a pretty morbid bunch. They’re twisted, but not as elegantly twisted as the Tree itself. And certainly not as strangely lyrical and yet discordant.

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We recommend listening to the tree while idly taking that panoramic tour of the land (and sky) surrounding the sculpture. You might even find yourself feeling the wind–and very tempted to get out to Burnley to see how the Ringing Singing Tree plays at night. We’re certainly considering the trip…

singing ringing tree | tonkin liu from tonkin liu on Vimeo



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