Interactive sound installation exhibited at 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT, 2007

Inside the 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT building in Roppongi, Tokyo, there is a serene corridor that curves in an elegant zigzag. What kind of sounds would we hear, if there is rain falling inside this narrow, dimly-lit space? In this project, Takram created an entrancing virtual space with an acoustic backdrop of rain falling onto a concrete surface, where sounds of tapping water reverberate according to each step of people passing through the corridor. “shiguré” is an interactive sound installation piece that was presented at the “Water” exhibition held at the 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT in 2007 to 2008.

APPROACH: Reproducing synesthesia

Human beings rely on the five senses to become aware of their environment. There is no mistake that our five senses are also involved in how we identify and remember rain. In our understanding and memory of rain, Takram imagined that, among the five senses, we rely heavily on our hearing. Perhaps sound can be used to awaken personal images of rain stored deep within our memories. Takram worked on the design and planning of this project with a goal to induce such sensory experience.

Synesthesia, as defined in neurology, is a special perceptual phenomenon in which stimulation causes sensations that are different from the ordinary response. This project is designed to awaken memories of rain inside the mind of the visitors by matching the physical sensation of their feet touching the floor to the acoustic input of the falling raindrops. On a technical note, Takram developed a highly sensitive sensing system using concrete microphones to align the sound of falling raindrops to the moment when the visitor’s feet land on the floor surface.

Photograh: Takashi Mochizuki

MESSAGE: Reminiscence of rain

The memory and image of rain are unique to each visitor. Takram hopes that this project will help visitors rekindle their long-forgotten memories of rain. The term “shiguré” is a Japanese expression for a shower in late fall or early winter.


Art Direction & Design Engineering: Takram
Photograph: Takashi Mochizuki
Exhibition: “water” exhibition 2007-2008 at 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT, Tokyo

© 2007 Takram design engineering


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