Sounds for a new L&L – Luce&Light stand

This is a test for a [lights + words + sound] exhibition stand by L&L Luce&Light srl, which was meant to be presented at Light+Building 2020 in Frankfurt (postponed because of C19). Architecture and light design by traverso-vighy architetti; narration concept and texts by Carlo Presotto; sounds by me; technique by Giochi di luce.


Five Ringtones


Five ringtones for peaceful people.
Low intrusiveness, low urgency, low annoyance.

Watch here a smartphone playing a few excerpts :

For many of us, today’s common ringtones are acoustically intrusive, create a feeling of unnecessary hurry and become annoying in the long term : just look at a person desperately scrambling to answer a loud phone in a quiet train, while other passengers look and frown.
The ringtones of this collection explore the opposite direction.
They are discreet (low intrusiveness), occupy as little acoustical space as possible, and because of their precision can be diffused at low volume.
They suggest a calm action (low urgency) – they don’t push the user to answer immediately, thanks to their slow temporality.
They are sustainable in the long term (low annoyance), because they limit as much as possible elements (like melodies or grooves) that provoke unnecessary cognitive load.

From psychoacoustics to soundscape studies, intrusiveness, urgency and annoyance are well studied features of audio signals. Today we are aware of their negative effects on mental states and mood. We also know which dimensions of sound can cause these negative effects.
It is impossible to completely remove intrusiveness, urgency and annoyance : part of these effects depends on variables (background noise, cognitive elements, personality types…) which cannot be controlled. But it is possible to minimize the negative impact of sounds signals around us. Sounds like these ringtones are a first step towards a less nervous life.

Use these ringtones when you are planning to stay in quiet soundscapes (ex. in a bookstore, inside your house, at the beach…). Associate these sounds to the contacts for which you don’t need (or don’t want) to rush to the telephone.
Play them at low volume.

Renault Symbioz Sound Design – Better Sound 2018 Audio Branding Academy

The sound design project for Renault Symbioz (in collaboration with IRCAM and Renault Innovation Lab) has received a nomination from the Audio Branding Academy, an international group of professionals, for “Better Sound 2018” – International Sound Awards.

A new electric autonomous demo car, the Renault Symbioz represents Renault’s vision of the automobile for 2030. The car was unveiled at the Frankfort Motor Show in 2017 and journalists had the chance to test it. To curate the sonic aspects of this project, in 2016 an industrial collaboration was initiated between Renault’s Design/Innovation Lab departments, and IRCAM’s Sound Perception and Design Team, represented by engineer-researcher Nicolas Misdariis, and sound designer Andrea Cera. The Renault Symbioz sound design project offered two challenges: the design of an external sound to warn pedestrians of the vehicle’s presence, and the design of a collection of sounds for the car’s interior.


Audio Branding Academy page on Renault Symbioz :

Interview with Andrea Cera and Nicolas Misdariis (IRCAM) :

Low-intrusiveness sound design for L&L

This is the stand designed by Traverso-Vighy architects for L&L (Italian brand of lighting systems), in occasion of the Light + Building 2018 trade fair.

For this project I created a low-intrusiveness soundscape, experimenting on convergences with the features of the lights design. Our goal was to create a peaceful space, an oasis of tranquillity in the usually chaotic ambience of trade fairs : the semi-closed design of the space gives a feeling of privacy, while the semi-transparent nature of some of its elements prevents a sense of claustrophobic separation. We wanted to avoid the use of background music, which adds up to the general sonic confusion of a trade fair soundscape and, in the long run, fatigues the attention processes of the people working in the stand. We decided to use only concrete sounds (field recordings + procedural audio made with MaxMSP) and to articulate them following a structure of breathing cycles.

(photos by Giovanni Traverso)

There are two cycles. The fast one repeats at 8,5 seconds intervals, the slow one at 1 minute intervals. The faster cycle functions almost like a LFO modulation of the overall amplitude. The slower cycle controls the long cross-fading between audio materials. The lights works in the same way for each RGB channel : the fast cycle controls the relative fades, whose actual boundaries are set by the slow circle. A MaxMSP patch sends a sync signal to the lights controllers, every 3 minutes. The loudspeakers are hidden in the architecture, and it is almost impossible to locate them acoustically; the sounds are diffused at very low amplitudes, which makes the installation very fragile acoustically (a change in number of visitors can make the sounds almost disappear).

Renault Trezor

In 2016 I collaborated with IRCAM and Renault on the signature of the Renault Trezor engine sound. You can listen to the engine sound it in this teaser (mixed with music) :

Or, with more details, in the following video, where I used in-car-camera footage to have a visual ground to help me develop the race-car components of the sound :

The sound of the Trezor is based on the Zoé sound signature, which we created in 2010/2011, but features a different personality, somewhat unpredictable and dangerous, with traces of combustion race engines, meant to evoke the voice of the great sport cars of the 60s and 70s.

The Trezor, a beautiful electric concept car, won the “2016 Concept Car Design of the Year” prize.

Other moments of my collaboration designing sounds with Renault can be found here :

Sound for Renault INITIALE

Sound for Renault FRENDZY

Interview Le Monde

Papers about Renault ZOE

Click to access eVADER_WS1_21_11_2013_7_Misdariis.pdf

Collaboration with Antonio Camurri’s team in Genova, 2016/2017.

In 2016 and 2017  I collaborated with Antonio Camurri’s team (University of Genova / Dipartimento di Informatica, Bioingegneria, Robotica e Ingegneria dei Sistemi), imagining strategies for the sonification of expressive qualities of dance.

This is an example of the sonification system we designed (EyesWeb and MaxMSP) at work in “Esodi”, a choreography by Virgilio Sieni (Genova, Palazzo Reale, 27.03.2017). “Esodi” is a performance for a large number of non-professional dancers (citizens of Genova). We used the sonifications to create a form of cohesion among performers located in different rooms of the Palazzo.

The sonification system is based on these features : EyesWeb part 1 : analysis of Fluidity, Lightness, Fragility, and other features. MaxMSP : sonification of each quality (2 granular engines, 2 microloops engines, 1 [agents + emerging behavior] engine). EyesWeb part 2 : mixing of the sonification channels, based on Salience.


This is another example of the full sonification process. The dancer is Virgilio Sieni.


Another example : in this case, we were working on the analysis and sonification of fragility.