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Why does sound and music matter in property?

Why does sound and music matter in property?

“Do you like good music, yeah yeah…” – and a stylish setting, interesting content, lively debate and a tasty breakfast? Then chances are you will have enjoyed our sound and music event, in collaboration with Fora, held at their fantastic pro-working space in Borough. Despite the unseasonal grey May morning, an inquisitive bunch braved the rain to attend the latest Experience Makers event ‘Why sound and music matter in property’. Guests working in a broad range of industries, including property, co-working, architecture, advertising, events and sound production, gathered to listen, discuss and ask questions with our pioneering speakers.Dan Moscrop CEO of architectural branding agency, Them, kicked off the discussion. He described the significance of sound and music in our daily lives but noted that this aspect of design and management often goes overlooked in property. He then introduced our three contributors, ready to challenge this notion and move sound and music up the scale.

 

Danny Kier from Sound Diplomacy gave a compelling presentation about the need for spaces that can support the evolution of musicians. In turn, a vibrant and healthy music scene can provide a thriving environment that attracts other types of industries. He cites Austin, Texas, as a good example, now a hot bed for tech start-ups, attracted by a world class music scene that defines the city. Danny describes the work Sound Diplomacy do as creating a ‘space incubator’ for communities around music to flourish. This raises questions for property owners or managers under increasing pressure to quickly activate spaces. The panel acknowledged the problem of retrofitting spaces for unintended purposes, with sound being particularly difficult to accommodate. Danny’s talk made it clear however, that there are many ways to tap into the music infrastructure of a city. When done right, access to music can have a range of benefits to our cognitive capability and wellbeing.

 

This topic was picked up in further detail by our second speaker, composer and sound producer Jamie Perera from The Sound Agency. Through interactive sound bites and case studies, Jamie provided revelatory information about how we are affected physiologically, psychologically, cognitively and behaviourally by the sounds we hear. The Sound Agency develop soundscapes for a variety of settings which can affect human behaviour. For example, work they completed for Glasgow airport enhanced feelings of calm, which led travellers to feel they had more time, increasing retail sales by 15%. A revamp with the addition of birdsong to the toilet facilities at BP service stations, increased customer satisfaction by a whopping 50%. As part of a holistic strategy to reduce anti-social behaviour, Sound Agency has also provided soundscapes for public realms, reported to reduce crime levels.

 

Jamie’s presentation showed us how fundamental sound is to how we feel in our environments and the power that it can yield. The conversation, steered by response from the audience, went on to consider the effect of over-curating and the need to balance how sound is used.

 

This was the perfect opportunity for our third invited panellist, Katrina Larkin to share her insight. Co-founder of Fora and a pioneer in the festival world, Katrina also co-founded The Big Chill Festival, bars and record label. This spawned an industry of similar events, bars, food markets and boutique festivals in the UK and in 2013 Katrina began working with Brockton Capital Fund on the curation, brand re-positioning and development of Camden Lock Market. She described the careful way in which sound and music is curated in different areas of the pro-working space. Her motto is that music should be played ‘for’ and not ‘at’ people. Katrina advocates providing variety and most importantly, choice. A practical example of this is the music activation in the lobby, quiet spaces for thinking and even a vinyl collection at Fora Borough, where guests can select and play records themselves.

 

The panel presentations set the tone for open discussion and debate. This was supported by the light-filled and beautifully designed room at Fora, where guests sat around tables with a cup of tea or coffee, and a pastry or fruit kebab. The arrangement differed to a normal auditorium set up, to give an inviting and intimate feel where questions developed into conversations –

 

‘Are there funding opportunities under heritage for music initiatives?…

 

Why is it that despite the huge effect of sound, it is overlooked and so difficult to get right – especially for people with hearing impairments?…

 

Are there examples of sound strategies being employed in the build to rent sector? …

 

How do you measure the data to support sound strategies?…

 

Given the importance of space for providing the infrastructure for musicians to develop, do you see a future when property companies may be paid royalties!?…

 

The range of questions demonstrated a keen interest from the audience and goes to show the relevance of this topic to the property industry. Final comment went to Katrina, who says music is her super power, and in harmony with Experience Makers, spoke of music’s ability to bring people together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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