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Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

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Sounds and Sweet Airs

Sounds and Sweet Airs

This project is an immersive synthetic sound ecology that features several mechanical ‘species’ of creatures that each generate sounds from everyday recycled materials. These creatures have different characteristics and are sensitive to different elements of the physical environment including temperature, humidity, light, sound and human movement. When distributed in a built environment, these creatures create an evolving soundscape that reflects the state of the space, forming a nature-like sound atmosphere that is gradually disappearing in our ever urbanised environments.



The work rethinks our sonic relationship to the built environment by tapping in to memories of our historically natural habitat and aims to evoke a more intimate sensory connection to the spaces around us with the subtle auditory cues generated in this spatial sound field. The modular and reconfigurable nature of the sound creatures not only allows them to adapt to different spaces and environmental characteristics but also to the different occupants. The design of the creatures affords the opportunity for occupants to customise and take part in the evolution of these sounds and to heighten awareness of the sonic potential of the discarded materials around us.



Project Development

01  “I miss the Bangkok rain…”

Recalling how we are emotionally moved by our environment, the instrument ‘Translator’ is designed using found materials to translate the sound of the rain from Bangkok to London. Instead of reproducing the rain sound, this prototype focuses on representing an author’s sound perception of the rain in her homeland.

02  “After rain, I remember, they started singing…”

Moving to address our impact to the environment, interactive sound creatures are created inspired by natural soundscape. These creatures are designed to be sensitive to their surroundings, forming a synthetic soundscape that is very much affected by the environment’s physical states as well as human presence.


03  Prototypes in Public

The sound ecology is being installed at various places with different context, providing diverse experiences as the result of our unique ways of perceiving and interacting with the environment. This synthetic ecology further evolves in the workshop at Tate Britain, where people are invited to build their own creatures, reconnecting themselves with their sound memories.

Prototype sites: Fold Night Club, London | Ars Electronica, Linz | Tate Britain, London


04  Site Specific Installation at Second Home, London

Considering our relationship with the built environment that we are currently living in, this sensory project is installed at a co-working space. On-site materials are used as sound elements to let the audiences relate themselves to the project in interpreting human-environment relationship.


Research Thesis

More information about ‘Sounds, and Sweet Airs’ project can be found below:

An Exploration of Sensory Design: How Sensory Interaction Affects Perceptual Experience in an Immersive Artwork

An exploration of priming effect to improve audience / user experience in narrative environment



Bulley, J. (2019) Living Symphonies. Available at:

Gibson, J.J. (2014) The ecological approach to visual perception: classic edition. Psychology Press.

Krause, B. (2012) The great animal orchestra: finding the origins of music in the world’s wild places. Little, Brown.