Week 7: Sound and spaces

Sketches from last week’s presentation.

Moving forward, we decided that we will drop the water feature as it wouldn’t be something feasible in terms of maintainence.

This week we focused on:

  1. Looking for suitable materials that can absorb sound to some degree and would create the feeling of meditative silence we hope to achieve.
  2. Exploring a different method of recreating the shadows produced by sunlight reflected on water.
  3. Creating new forms that creates an abode/alcove/nook

Material exploration

  1. Bamboo rattan
    Good sound absorption qualities
    (Adjusting the thickness and density of the weave we can control the sound that gets through)
    Cooling properties
    ‘Zen’ feel
    Allows light and air through
    Sustainable building material
  2. Coconut husks
    Thermal insulation properties
    Sustainable material
    Natural fibers have been considered valid raw materials for producing sound absorbing panels at a reduced cost
  3. Wool

  4. Sound absorption foam
  5. Kavrat soft cells
    Sound absorbing textile
    Special technology used to strengthen and increase longevity

Shadow experiments

1. First we tried video projections of water into the space

2. Trying various moving translucent objects

This was done to see how light would be reflected and how the shadows would be cast in space.


Form Explorations

 softness of cotton with rattan

Currently we are exploring three options to replace the water feature
-To build it around an existing  water body
-To use projections
-To use shadows from the exterior facade

Q: How to make it look unobtrusive in the environment
^ our current consideration for form and material selection

Wk 6: Sound & Spaces

From last week
What is it?
It is a space for quite respite. The form is a cave-like structure with a water feature ceiling allowing dappled shadows to dance within the interior surface.


a. Opposite School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences

b. Yunnan Garden

Can you include nature in it?
Yes! With the use of the water feature it would bring about the sense of serenity that comes from a gentle breeze

-Research on materials that reduces noise
-Forms that encourage resting positions
-How can we maintain the water feature?
-How do we create a meditative pathway
-Solidify form

Concept: The internal noise we hear in our heads are relentless, especially in a buzzing environment such as NTU. We wanted to create a place of quiet reflection that can be a place to withdraw to for a moment of silence.

Elements to build the environment

Water-shadow feature

  1. Mood/color
    3 moods revolving around the water/shadow featurea. Whimsical oceanscape Material consideration:
    -Foamb. Japanese zen

    -Rattan, linen, concrete, light wood (Pine?)
  2. Surfaces/furniture that encourages rest/meditation
    Nua Stools by Ng Siang Joo

    Nest by Keith Soh
    eg: furnitures that incite certain posturesSketches & mockups

Mockup (I) 
Thinking with our hands
Exploring spaces, forms and textures from our first moodboard (A)


Reflection: After looking at our first mock-up, we made a few observations. Mainly the elements were too disparate and were not in harmony with one another, we then decided to move forward by grouping them in different areas to create areas of attractions.

Mockup (II)

We wanted to group the different elements into specific focus groups and then to see how did it actually make us feel.

1.Translucent linen cloths with decorations hung around it.

We tested different shades of blues and different colors to see which is the most inviting and what seemed jarring.

The dark deep shade of navy blue felt too overwhelming as

The presence of light blues also should not be the main focus, but only as a secondary element to the main white colour.

2. Plastic plates to represent a tactile surface that mimics corals, 

The tactile surfaces seemed interesting as well as the transparent quality of the surfaces. Light as well as touch would be and interesting blend to the form, combining both mood lighting as well as a soft tactile array of such forms.


3. Using the draping of the mesh fabric, we tried to recreate a dappling light adding softness to the space, this is combined with plastics sheets to see if the effect it might bring.

4.  Plastic mesh and paper strips to create interactive flowing surfaces and object. This felt more like an anchor to the space as it stood out more as compared to the rest of the zones.

More “main attraction” like as compared to the other features.


6. Egg cartons to represent sound foam boards that can be arranged to form the inner cladding on the walls. Playing with the gradation of the color that was used also to provide a certain amount of visual effect.


7. Protruding surfaces  and uneven surfaces on the sides of the wall and ground for interaction, at different heights to sit as well.


8. Different tactile surfaces as you enter the tunnel area

Assignment 2: Ideas+moodboards

Ideal user persona for this project

Concept 1: Fickle obsessions


The undergirding factor that pushes manufacturers to create products with planned obsolescence and encourages irresponsible consumerism.

To use the magpie as a symbol as they are attracted to shiny things but very quickly grow bored and look for something new, building up a collection of glittery valuables but never satisfied, much like most consumers nowadays.

Keywords: Glitter, reflective, jewel tones, diamonds, opulent, detailed, ornate, magpie

Concept 2: Obsession to pursue aesthetics

The idea of how popular culture shapes what is seen as the optimal aesthetic, which in turn influences consumer purchasing patterns.

Style inspiration

Putri Febriana 

Thinking of using a production line as a metaphor, having workers painting arbitrary objects to keep it in trend


just playing with proportions, having the workers being really tiny and the objects being really large to emphasize how it overpowers everything.


a carnival like procession of objects that will come in trend having the audience clamouring for them.

The main idea being ordinary objects being elevated due to popular culture.

Keywords: Millennial, influencers, social media, trends, style

Concept 3: Positive obsessions

I came across this article while researching on positive obsessions and was quite moved by the new perspective provided by the author who pointed out that the behaviours that are absolutely vital for self-actualization is not very different than those of an unhealthy obsession. The main difference is the motivator of both, we are either propelled forward by what we love or what we fear. Healthy obsessions produces a joyful pursuit and unhealthy obsessions produces joyless striving.

I felt that many designers, artists and craftsmen can identify with this as we are our biggest critics. But how can we balance our critical eye whilst maintaining a healthy self esteem. How much till we’re pushed over to an unhealthy obsession with perfectionism?

For the illustration i was thinking of keeping the colors to a minimal, depicting the journey of two craftsmen, or even like two different cities?


Taking off from the idea of a joyful pursuit vs fruitless striving was to draw the analogy of two farmers. The healthy obsession being a farmer which tills the ground and the other farmer which digs a pit for himself

A speedboat race being propelled by joy or fear? So the boat which is propelled by fear has trouble starting the motor while the other boat speeds ahead.

After consulting with Lisa, we decided to expand on the second.

Positive Side Of Obsession


Editorial illustration research

Varoom Magazine

Varoom – the illustration report, is a unique large format publication commenting and discussing the contemporary illustrated image in depth. It publishes interviews with illustrators, the ongoing issues, sparks critical conversations within the illustrators/artists/designers. It features the most impressive works biannually pushing forth great illustrators into the limelight.

I believe this magazine is suitable for illustrators, designers or just people who are interested in design/illustration. The articles cover quite a wide range of topics and issues and are personal and interesting.

Mitch Blunt
This digital illustration was done for an article on corruption in the church for Spectator Life. I found the illustrator’s use of symbols and semiotics very effective in expressing the message, as well as the use of simple geometric shapes and even outlines. It lends a certain seriousness and austerity to the image. The colors also helped to provide a stark contrast on what is going on inside the church.

The puppetry strings implies a certain manipulation of the cross which is often used to represent Christ. The stained glass background also sets the location where the situation unfolds. I found it a good method to frame the message as well.

Tommy Parker


This set of digital illustrations were done for an article on how to switch off on a vacation for Mr Porter. I really like the limited color scheme that ties the series of images together very nicely. I also liked the use of shadows to add depth, dimension and light into the images. However this were done for a digital article rather than for print. I’ll be interesting to see how these images would be used in a printed magazine.

Geraldine Sy


These two illustrations were done for very separate articles on love and solo travelling respectively. I liked how the illustrations spilled over across the spread, connecting the text.  I also appreciate the simple geometric shapes that creates the landscape and characters for the storytelling to take place. The textured finish also gives its a nice rustic charm.


wk5: Sound & spaces

Gleanings from previous critique session


Questions to ask:

    1. Who is the actor?
      tired people of NTU that needs to getaway, take a break
    2. What is the experience?
      -Place of rest and getaway
      -A place to linger
      -A place where you can close your eyes to experience or to stare into blank space
      -Cool and comforting
    3. How does the context and contents influence the behaviours?
      >Soft (Like foam or cloth)
      -Material used
      -Color choices
      -Lighting perception- white light
    4. How would the public ( first Impressions) view it?
      -Want to walk in and experience it firsthand
      -Mindful of the experience and the members that are already inside
      -Interesting concept and space that could be unique
    5. How would people perceive it?
      -Individual sanctuary
    6. Do we force people to pass through? VS drawing people in (this!!)



Things to consider:

  1. The physical is primary, the mental influence is secondary (our hope is that whatever the physical installation is, it would spark the mental influence that we hope for)
  2. Be practical!!
  3. Almost religious /personal experience?
  4. Simple- like a sponge scape?
  5. Mindful/ sitting area?
  6. An alternative silent room/conducive environment for a silent zone
  7. Context specific + DOABLE
  8. Creative way to induce the feeling

Things to do:

  1. Streamline to one idea (What kind of silence do we want to achieve?)
  2. Shortlist environments
  3. Curation of materials to create forms
  4. Material specifications (sound barriers??)
  5. Proof of concept (do up a prototype)

maybe its abt doing a

WHO: tired people of NTU that needs to getaway, take a break

WHAT: Permanent experiential installation located at an arm’s length from ntu’s busiest areas , such as north and south spine.

WHERE: ntu’s busiest areas , such as north and south spine.

WHEN: During the active hours of the day

WHY: NTU is a bustling education hub, full of learners, thinkers, dreamers and makers. We would like to create something to provide respite, a moment to experience silence.

Sensory overload- regulatory patch, to create a space, environment and shell that is yours.




The sound-reactive illumination takes the spectator through the emotional and physical journey of the performer at the center. The sequenced installation builds the setting, following the motion of the story while providing a consistent spatial response for the viewer.
Sound sensitive installations

Woods from Nocte on Vimeo.


audience as the performer?

2. Sound sensitive light installation flickers according to voice

BruumRuum! from artec3 Studio on Vimeo.

3. Akousmaflore

Living musical plants
Vvvv cool!!

Quite tactile though

  1. More tactile installations

-using the medium to connect the participants



Using a fabric/water

5. Using breaths to transform the environment

Exploring the principle of breathing allows us to evoke the territory which constitutes the atmosphere.

We share this territory but we modify it with our various activities. There is an interrelationship between the fact of breathing, of have an action on the environment and to breath this feedback.

Also, take time to breathe is a symbolic way for taking again conscience of the natural rhythms, (biological and seasons for example) opposite to the productivity. It’s also an invitation to the concentration, the meditation.

Interesting idea haha but i think the application doesn’t really work


5. At rest

Clasped together in this way, they are ambiguously evocative of praying hands, or hands offering something, or even hands severed from the human body altogether, like a momento mori symbol. They have a human-like quality and the sensation of touch is palpable, but their pale white colour suggests the contrasting state of death.




7.Composition #11, Brandal


Our moodboard

Wk4: Sounds and spaces


Can maybe start off with what we would like them to feel and experience, then can work outwards from there.

I was thinking the influence mental silence

Discursive-> what is the question we want viewers to ask? Is the piece directing them to question something (then what could be our method of questioning) or is it emotions we want them to feel or is it both or does one come after another?


Sound of silence (from our second concept)
-> spaces that emit silence could be:
Physical -> (I think those silent rooms could be a little scary and disconcerting  was chatting w Chengyue she said that it feels like it could be a place to provide challenge to the public like who can stay inside the longest rather than a space of respite hahaha interesting observation.)

Emotional/mental -? Like a place to break/pause/stop & listen

-> could it be abt creating a stillness/a silent presence?

  • Like in an installation but is it a created atmosphere or like creating something to enhance a certain location’s atmosphere

-> what elements create stillness (is it subjective or objective ?)

For me its like the inflating and deflating balloon, it feels like a heart pacer or an unconscious breathing exercise, v calming to watch hahaha

Or even things that are symmetrical, horizontal lines, idk fresh air hahahah like the smell of grass

In terms of sounds (idk if too literal/obvious but just putting it out)
Flowing river, the sound of a gentle breeze (interesting cos u can’t really hear that in and of itself but its kinda reflected in the surroundings like mm rustling leaves, fluttering gauzy fabric, floating fog), wind chimes/bells? Like a temple?, rippling water

What is the atmosphere we want to create and how do we prompt an emotional response?

What contributes to creating an atmosphere? (from the reading) -> dependent on people’s emotional sensibility (at the end of the day we cannot move everyone just hopefully most people)

People, air, noise, color, materials present, textures, forms
I guess space too like the distance at which you can enjoy the atmosphere? If its something grounded, or suspended, or balancing precariously or firmly rooted


Sounds of a space (this is like our first concept)

Not only physical sound but sounds we attribute/remember based on the memories attached or emotional significance

<Like if we remove all the sounds from NTU what would we hear? Hahhahaha is this  too out there/unhelpful qn??? Idk i think it would make a majestic sound like a wise old whale hahahahahhahaa u know that echolocation woooooooOOOOOOooooooooOOOO sound >


<Ok this is the mess I’ve got so far will dig for some examples now I hope….this is useful LOL >

Megan Geckler
Creating lines to enhance depth and height; makes you feel smaller; contemplative mood/ transforming spaces

Sounds of spaces

Interesting forms actually it reminds me of those tube things at children’s playgrounds where u can speak and listen to ur friends like a v primitive telephone

Sculpting the wind, kinetic sculptures v pretty! Also his artist statement q congruent w some of our key words

Sound sculpture-i know we’re trying to move away from this but its cool but yknow everything is cool to me lol


“conceiving of sounds as constructive material, as architectural elements that allow a space to emerge. “ https://www.archdaily.com/168979/bernhard-leitner-sound-spaces

sounds like sand/beads falling through tubes so nice haha therapeutic

<aha so funny>

<Omg i thought about something simlar to the archi one with the 360 speakers, dammm>

<Haha can see how we can expand on that >

So gentle and serene

“A round surface of water in the glass with a floating magnetized needle, reminds me somewhat of a tiny earth with geomagnetism. The smaller the sounds of the glasses will be, the more keenly viewers’ sensibility will be sharpened. In the meantime, they realize that the sounds don’t come from outside of their bodies, but already exist inside of their mind.” – Nelo Akamatsu

I love the minimalist approach of only using a few elements and letting the complexity emerge from having multiple instances. Also, where most sound art is often very “visual” in simply showing the elements that the installation experience exists of (the speakers, the wire, the sensors), this work does not show the regular elements but maybe an even more stripped version of it. A speaker is also a coil being pushed and pulled, it also works with electromagnetism. In that sense, Akamatsu’s work is a very, very rudimentary work of sound art.


Only lets 5 people in at a time , sculptural and experiential room

Commentary on the sound of NTU vs a response to the noise in NTU


1st approach: On creating physical silence in NTU

Goals: To create an environment that is mindful of our surroundings, reminding us of the value of silence in an environment that is totally saturated with sounds.

To question the necessity of so much sound.

To create moments of stillness, although not a comforting sort of silence rather a very careful, tip-toe-y kind of silence



  1. Sleeping lions(hungry Lions) /  Sleeping babies ( Crying babies) / ERP gantry that is activated by sound, deduces money/ something else from you as a penalty if you activate it  

-Participatory installation

– induced silence from two main channels with is either fear or the act of being considerate.

– what would truely induce silence, would it be the fear of losing your life for out of concern for others.

2nd approach: On creating a mental silence (serenity)

Goals: To create a space in time to pause and listen
In response to a sound saturated environment
How we see silence
An experience that is visceral rather than intellectual

1. An abstract sculpture/installation composed of different materials that evoke calmness, stillness and silence , or extreme interest that causes people to pause and notice

-Maybe something suspended that will guide the eyes upwards to take a break from what they’re doing and breathe.
Possible locations: Library

3rd approach:  Sounds a space produces
Goals: Not in a literal representation but of the emotional/spiritual (cant think of a better word) sounds of a space
Abstracting the essence of NTU and attributing it to a sound
Eg: the bustle of students coming and going, their joys and their struggles, all these sounds define ntu however when we remove the sounds that occur within the school, what sound would this building facade make?

Output: 1. A physical representative of the abstract? Or more we could do a representative of data collected ( cos i think this would be quite subjective, would it be better to do a survey?)


-To be continued-

Exploration on Time through Sound

We started by listing out some of our main focuses for this project.

Themes & thoughts: Time through sounds.
“An invitation to PAUSE, view, be with, and to explore.”
“To bring attention to sounds that have been ignored to forefront”
“Expressions of each other, is time or sound the key focus?”
To look at how discursive design can help bring our messages across.

Next we set the definition and parameters of Time and Sounds for this project.


  • Time is relative for everyone in NTU.
  • The university as an institutional body hold different meanings for different members of this body at different stages .
  • Although the main consumers of the institution are the students, who are undergoing their final stages in their educational life, we must also consider other members.
  • Time mainly has two main playing factors , stage in life, period of stay, the permanence of their period in this body
  • Educators, members of faculty
  • Family of educators that live in this “ village”
  • Members of staff, administration, research, service , cleaners.
    These are the key background players of the university , and their period or term here actually the longest as compared the to the students themselves (as students only stay at for approximately 4 years during their period of study) 
  • Students at different levels
  • Visitors
    Perhaps the most important members in the institution, they are the driving force of the university, it embodies what the institution operates for.


  • Sounds never occur in isolation.
  • We are constantly being bombarded with a wide range of sounds. A key component in understanding our acoustic environment is through our brains being able to mediate the perception of the sounds around us though attention. This problem is known as the cocktail party syndrome
  • By focusing both sensory and cognitive resources on key information from our environment, we then naturally classify sounds based on their importance.
  • Naturally important sounds usually transmit information to us
    Voices , Music,
  • Background sounds usually carry information, but however not important to us at the point of time.
    Machine sounds, Wind, Rustling.
  • However these the importance of these sounds are interchangeable as they still carry information to us, and may actually alert us to certain dangers.

We listened to an audio podcast reading on-Place. Time. Sounds

Take away points

  • The role of silence in music
  • Place, time and sounds
  • The absence of produced sounds
  • Listening as a performative act
  • To become a listener
  • Sound as multiplicity
  • “I hear sound and lose it”
  • Sound is a cultural artefact
  • Urging people to listen to the sound of the world
  • Let sounds to be themselves
  • Listening in the world rather than to it
  • Making listeners performers, and performers into listeners

Sketches & ideation 

Exploration 1/ Of sounds that we may have taken for granted 
For instance the sound of human voices when hearing automated messages

Method: Provide visual or sensory prompts for people to be more aware of sounds

  • showcase sounds in the different form
  • prompts the user to subconsciously match the existing sounds to those in their memory bank
  • To target the secondary sounds of a physical or mental environment and not the most distinct, loudest or obvious ones.It’s a collective diary of the micro daily 
    Different outlets/forms that produce one time sounds that can be uploaded. Not only sounds but compliments, insults, worries, ideas, thoughts, questions and gleanings  contributed by the people of NTU.OR

    An archival of memories of/from people who pass through NTU; commemoration of arrivals and departures. Be it students, staff, families or tourists. 

    Translating audio/verbal anecdotes into moving images/compositions or text

Forms: 2d Kinetic Artwork
-Sound landscape produced by Mercedes-Benz engine Andreas Nicolas Fischer
-Generative art (created by an autonomous systems)


-Split flap display

Examples:  MONUMENT TO CHANGE AS IT CHANGES   2011-Peter Wegner

-Visual database in real time

It (data/narratives) could be represented literally or abstracted 


Forms: 3D static space, installations or sculptures

-2016, The Oculus at The World Trade Center, NYC
Courtesy of Sennheiser and SET Creative

-Soundscape by Edmond Wong
Visualization of the chinese national anthem

Exploration 2// Sound of Silence

To appreciate either silence or noise

-Meditative or disorientating experience


To block out noise to provide silence in a busy environment either physically or through creating dead zones with technology, speakers.

Noise cancelling panels that revolve and create momentary periods of noise reduction.

To be done in a different experiential way as compared to what was offered already. Instead of just sitting in a room as part of mediative environment, we want to bring it forward to passageways in the school.

Create divisions to public spaces during events through paneling, noise cancelling can be directional.

FORMS:  Physical representatives

-Anechoic Chambers


An interpretation of the infra-ordinary.

 (I) Anchored

(ii) Afloat

Inspired by Georges Perec  article on the infra-ordinary, we tried to seek out the banal and the forgotten on campus. Both Darren and I were inspired by the abundant flora and fauna on campus which surprising become most noticeable at dawn and dusk.

Hearing the bird chirping in the morning made us think about what other sounds get shuffled to the back of our consciousness throughout the day. We also questioned if sounds were produced and heard at specific timings in the day and if so, wouldn’t that make it a highly suitable method of determining the time of the day. Therefore we started on our journey creating an acoustic clock which could be unique to the sounds of NTU.

In our sound piece wanted to explore the sounds that beyond our awareness, for example the air condition ventilation units that hum the moment the school starts working till they stop for the day. In some sense, it is an indicator of something we feel and not hear.

That was the basis of our piece. After collecting and arranging our sound piece, we created the accompanying sculpture using the form of a sound wave. The peak of the wave represents the time where background noise is most jarring and chaotic.

Assignment 1: Self portrait

First in class assignment- drawing portraits

Research & ideation for assignment 1/

Left: @brookesmartillustration
I love the minimal use of outlines as well as the watercolor texture and the use of negative spaces.

Right: Mónica Andino

Color blocking, minimal use of outline/ outlines used to suggest depth.

Left: Julia Sarda for The Liszt

Right: Griz & Norm, Frida Khalo

Left: Kimberlie Wong
Right: Maria-Ines Gul 

Left: Karol Banach

Right: Matt Chase


For my compositions I wanted to showcase the juxtaposition between by two very different aesthetic styles- #SlowLiving vs. #MakeLifeaPARTY. I find myself drawn to minimalistic, clean lines and geometric shapes, but I too love loud patterns, crazy textures and of course iridescent glitter. I also wanted to feature my love for plants as well as my pet goldfishes.

 For the first composition the image is set in my mythical room, in an almost symmetrical manner. On the left is how I would image my own room when I am in a calm state, embracing a zen and minimal life. On the right is how my room would be without any restraint, a party hat for good measure.

I also wanted to try the application of textures in this composition. 

This composition is inspired by one of my favourite childhood nursery rhymes:
“If all the raindrops
were lemon drops and gum drops
Oh what a day that’ll be!”

It just brings that childlike wonder and imagination that I’d like to keep as part of my personality even as I grow up, seeking out everyday magic. That and my love of rainy weather. Bright sunny yellow and thunderstorm grey are my favourite colors.

In this diagonal composition I’ve kept the top part a little more realistic with plants and raindrops/gumdrops, and as it transitions down the backdrop looks almost like a wallpaper with raining cakes, sprinkles and biscuits (I love baking!)

After consultation with Lisa we decided to go with this composition, perhaps pushing the outfit to become really crazy at the bottom.

This composition is inspired by a playing card, depicting 2 scenes- land and underwater. I wanted to try something like a stamp overlay with this composition creating layers for the environment.