Instead of trying to dampen noise in interior spaces, some designers are actually adding sound to our lives. Scientific studies have shown that classical music and jazz stimulate plant growth and, in the workplace, improve staff productivity. Human brain activity appears to be negatively affected by the sound of voices and other ambient distractions, but not by music. Conclusion? The pros of listening to music outweigh the cons. So what have we discovered about the ways in which designers are channelling the power of tunes?

Claire Barrera’s Sound Totem unifies sight, touch and hearing. It comprises a wooden base and various cups, bowls and plates in different colours and sizes. Stacking them in diverse configurations produces what the designer calls ‘audio compositions’.

Photo Claire Barrera

Jeongwon Ji’s
affinity for materials is obvious in Tactile Sound, a cylindrical speaker with a circular aluminium top featuring 14 sectors with different finishes, from ultra-matte to high polish. Tilting the speaker on its base adjusts the volume without digital means.

Photo Gianni Diliberto

Jan Ankiersztajn’s Soundscape identifies interior sounds and muffles or amplifies them with programmed music that targets certain objects. Rearranging the objects in a room lets you ‘orchestrate the audio of the entire space’.

Photo Rafal Kolasińki

Vochlea, a hand-held device by RCA graduate George Philip Wright, profiles and converts vocal sounds into an instrumental complement – in real time – for harmonious musical expression on the fly.

Photo Andrew Slack