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Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

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Hubbub – Work In Progress

Hubbub – Work In Progress

When we are in a space with slight sound waves in it, can we feel those subtle waves all the time? Would our feelings and behaviors change based on these sound waves? We want to explore the impact of different sound waves in a specific soundscape on people’s perception.

We chose the restaurant as our research context. Interviews and inductive research were conducted on the dining experience of the public. Meanwhile, we made sound analysis and translation, and made a variety of demo prototypes and investigations about the sound of different types and layers in the restaurant. Finally we decided to take the sound of glasses which is quite common in the dining context as our design object.

The most interesting thing about hubbub is that it is a ubiquitous sound in the restaurant, but one that is easily ignored. And people sometimes unconsciously change their own voice and behavior to adapt to the different soundscape.

We are creating a performance about the hubbub created by the sound of glasses, in which, the hubbub is sometimes loud or quiet, or slow, or fast, or suddenly arisen, or abruptly disappeared. This performance is conducted by 25 sound devices that we made by using Arduino to control gears to rotate at different speeds, which can produce the sound of collision of glasses at different frequencies. Hubbub can even produce quite unnatural and extreme sound performance, and we are very excited to explored people’s reactions towards that.

We place Hubbub in a normal market. In today’s quarantine, Hubbub could remind people of the social scene. Using auditory and virtual ways to trigger the association of memory is also what we want to explore and express in the translation of people’s multi-sensory system. Over the next few months, we will try to set up a virtual website where people can immerse themselves in this soundscape and interact with it.


  1. Jessica In

    The work is nicely represented and the design of the individual elements feels like they could be elegant. “Auditory and virtual ways to trigger memory” – the intentions behind the installation are quite abstract however. What will you use to drive the sounds of the glasses? What causes them to suddenly rise up/go/slow/frequency shift – are they responding to each other or to the listener? or both?

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