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CoreNet Global soundscaping Q&A

Evan Benway on-stage at CoreNet Global talking about "responsive soundscapes"

Thanks to CoreNet Global's audience for being so engaged at Evan's soundscaping presentation in Dubai! There were so many interesting questions. Here are just a few that we wanted to highlight.

❓ What lessons have you learned along the way?

"One of the most important innovations for us has been generative, responsive soundscaping. We discovered  early on that it’s not feasible to deliver soundscapes in offices as loops. Humans are really good at recognizing patterns. Even when we tested loops that were a week long people still picked up on it – particularly the more sensitive people. They’d say, “It’s Thursday, it’s 9am and I’m about to hear that bird again!” We had to create something more intelligent and dynamic.

"Moodsonic’s soundscaping uses generative algorithms. So, when you’re listening to a particular soundscape, it’ll follow a similar path each day but the experience will be unique. It won’t repeat."

❓ Does nature-based soundscaping ever seem out of place in an office?

"Biophilic soundscaping can still help a building, even when there aren't views of nature or other elements of biophilic design. It’ll normally take people a few weeks to habituate to sound. Then, it sits in the background of people’s consciousness – supporting them but not calling for attention.

"The gold standard, though, is a building that brings in biophilia for all the senses. We worked on an amazing project in Japan that had views of Tokyo’s Imperial Palace gardens, a subtle scent of Japanese forests and soundscaping inspired by local nature and culture."

❓ How might you soundscape an office that’s used by people from many different cultures?

"One thing to think about is that soundscaping can connect you to your local surroundings or it can take you somewhere else entirely. We have clients who live in rainy locations who enjoy hearing sunnier beach soundscapes. Both approaches can be useful in different ways.  

"We had a project that was a hub for international employees to meet. They had areas dedicated to different parts of the world and so, even though this office was in Europe, it incorporated soundscaping from all over the world."

❓ How do you measure the improvements in creativity from soundscaping?

"One method we used with Kinda Studios and Goldsmiths, University of London was the alternate uses test, which asks people to think of as many uses as possible for a simple object, like a paperclip. Our clients and researchers have measured it in different ways, though, including self-report measures and lateral thinking puzzles."

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