Stora Torget, Uppsala

Stora Torget, Uppsala

Sound design throughout the year – right in the heart of Uppsala's city square 'Stora Torget'

Project details

Uppsala Kommun


Just like in other cities, the sound environment in Uppsala is dominated by motor traffic, as it has been for close to a century. But noise doesn’t have to be the city soundscape!

In connection with a comprehensive renovation of the city square (Stora Torget), the sound environment was one of the focal points. The square has undergone various changes over the years and played different roles in the city’s life. The goal of the renovation was to transform the square from a gray and dull bus terminal into a vibrant and bustling meeting place. Several measures were taken to achieve this, and the sound environment was a central part of the planning.

By reducing noise levels and creating space for other sounds to come through, the overall sound environment of the square could be improved. This also sparked the idea of adding positive sound experiences to the location.


Efterklang was commissioned to design intriguing sounds at Stora Torget that would contribute to the square’s long-term identity. The aim was to incorporate soothing or mood-enhancing sounds, sometimes with humorous or cultural connections to Uppsala’s history. These sounds were intended to be sporadic and temporary, spread out over the week and year to enrich the visitors’ experiences at the location.


We developed various sound experiences distributed through loudspeakers integrated into the square’s surrounding lighting system. The sounds are programmed to occur at various times throughout the week and year. Here are some examples:

Uppsala Wakes Up – A cheerful and atmospheric awakening of Uppsala through a specially composed piece of music, that plays every morning at 7:00 AM.

Uppsala Good Night – On Friday and Saturday nights between 1:00 AM and 1:30 AM, selected nocturnes by Chopin are played. This is to slow down the pace of the place during a time of day when it can sometimes be quite chaotic on the square.

The changing of seasons are highlighted at summer and winter solstice, and spring and autumn equinox. On these days, Vivaldi’s corresponding Seasons is played at regular intervals.

Walpurgis Night– A classic Uppsala celebration and a strong identity for the city and all its visitors on this day. Many pass through Stora Torget on their way to the nearby Fyrisån in the morning for the annual rafting race. For a few hours this morning, Händel’s Water Music is played over the square. Händel wrote Water Music in 1717 at the request of King George I of Britain, to be performed on barges on the River Thames. Could there be a better piece to accompany the rafts racing in Fyrisån?


Contact person
Meet Alexander Kassberg
Alexander Kassberg