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Designing the unnoticeable

The Sound and Music Computing group at KTH kindly welcomes you
all to the sixth Sound and Music Interactions seminar.

Time: Tue 2021-01-26 15.00

Location: Online via Zoom

Participating: Martin Ljungdahl Eriksson

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Title: Designing the unnoticeable

A growing number of organizations are moving from traditional fixed open-plan offices towards more open and collaborative workplaces, so called flex or activity-based offices. The basic idea behind flex-offices and activity-based offices is that there is not one fixed workplace for each individual as in traditional offices such as individual offices and open plan offices. Rather there are common workplaces accustomed to different purposes available to all employees to choose from based on current activity. 

Open plan offices in general are ranked lowest regarding health and productivity when comparing different office types and it is primarily our ability to stay focused due to noise distractions that is affected, not our health in a short-term perspective. The main source of noise interference in office environments is overhearing co-workers talk. However, talk is not just a problem in open landscapes; it also constitutes the ground for knowledge sharing and ease of direct communication between employees. This poses a challenge when designing and planning the acoustic environments as contrasting needs must be met.

To address this challenge, I introduce in my PhD-thesis the concept of My Sound Space. A micro-space in which the user is embedded by a semi-transparent sound environment. This is achieved through design of a personalized sound system which alters the sound environment based on 1) the users biometrical values gained from wearables and 2) based on the surrounding sound environment. The user also has the possibility to control the sound environment through a mobile application. 

In my research I explore how to design the unnoticeable, I.e., background sounds fulfilling the purpose of not being actively listened to. Furthermore, how an active acoustic design approach influences the users work situation. It includes the user’s ability to focus in an individually designed sound environment and whether the users consider individual control of the sound environment in the workplace being preferable. 

Short biography

Martin Ljungdahl Eriksson is a third part PhD candidate at University West and Edsbyn Senab in informatics with specialization in work integrated learning. He focuses his research on how to use sound as personalized design elements to influence experiences and behaviors. He is also consulting for Kantar Sifo as a sonic strategist developing guidelines and insights for brands and organizations in acoustic design, sonic branding and voice and music supervision.


The seminar will be given online via Zoom. Contact the organizer  to ask for the link.