Design I 22.10.15 I by

Inside the Institute of Spatial Sound in Budapest

4DSOUND is transforming the listening experience. Created by composer Paul Oomen, the spatial sound system allows you to experience sound from all directions, using architecture as a new kind of ‘instrument’.

‘I have always been interested in the energy released through sounds,’ says Oomen, who studied the work of scientist Nikola Tesla. ‘I began to formulate ideas about the musical dimension of movement in space, applying them to my compositions for operas and theatres. Then I realised I needed a technological system which would allow me to use the spatial element in my music.’

After 8 years of honing the 4DSOUND system and exploring its applications, he has opened The Institute of Spatial Sound. Taking over three floors of Art Quarter Budapest, a 19th-century warehouse building on the waterfront, the Institute is a new centre for research and development in the field of spatial sound and immersive sonic environments.

Floorceiling-Institute-of-Spatial-sounds
Photography: Georg Schroll

Artists, musicians and designers will be invited to perform in its cavernous spaces, which will also host 20 residencies over the coming months.

Renovation works to the buildings have been designed to enhance the sonic experience. The industrial space has been stripped back to its shell, with the structural beams doubling as a grid for 4DSOUND system’s 45 omni-directional speakers and 8 subs. Meanwhile, a heavy-duty polymer floor has been fitted to enable soundwaves to travel through the volume of the building uninhibited.

‘We’ve painted the walls ‘eigengrau’ – a very specific blue-ish black shade, based on what you see with your eyes closed before you fall asleep,’ says creative director John Connell. ‘It adds a dimension to the space that you don’t get with jet black. It lends itself to crafting a psychological space, something heightened by the diffuse field of light created by the use of blue neon.’

Nikki Hock created the lighting design for the space. Connell adds, ‘Using non-directional light in this way helps to draw attention to the sound.’

The Institute opened its doors on 17 October with hypnotic live performances by Gábor Lázár, Marcel Wiercxk, Frank Bretschneider, John Connell and Florence To’s Noqturnl.

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