Our research focused into theories of sound perception and experimental music as manifested by the Italian Futurists like Luigi Russolo and his Art of Noise Menifesto, whose philosophies embraced the sounds of everyday activity as the relevant form of music for a modern society.

Our research into the relationship between sound, space and environment is exemplified at The Philips Pavilion in Brussels, designed by Le Corbusier and Iannis Xenakis being one of the first buildings designed around audio and multimedia experience. The Pavilion hosted a performance by avant-garde composer Edgard Varese and was influential in our understanding of that relationship.

Luigi Rusolo and his Intonarumoris.

 

Eventually, the work of sound artists like Kaffee Matthews and Crisitna Kubisch inspired us to understand ambient noise as being both a form of information, appreciation and musical composition. We were also inspired by their low-tech approach and tools for capturing those hidden noises.

Recording water flowing in the radiator.

We followed similar low-tech approaches for recording sounds during OTTO's development, by assembling combinations of contact microphones and preamps to evaluate the components' sensitivity, frequency response and immunity to external noises.

 

Similarly, several audio filtering methods were evaluated, from the classic 10-band equalizer to more sophisticated custom made systems. We found inspiration in the aesthetics and function of audio equipment and the simple and honest approach of designers like Dieter Rams and Marco Zanuso. We focused on the concept of input and output, using characteristics of audio devices such as microphones and headphones to communicate the principle of OTTO through its design.

OTTO‘s parts rapid prototyped (SLA).