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Chromasonic Reimagines Synesthesia with Light and Sound for Google’s MDW Installation

FDT Bureau

Google has made a return to Milan Design Week with an expansive installation by research studio Chromasonic, aiming to recreate the sensation of synesthesia. Covering 600sqm within a renovated industrial building near Porta Venezia, the exhibit titled Making Sense of Color guides visitors through a sensorial journey using a labyrinth of semi-transparent screens. Know more about it on FURNITURE DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY (FDT).

Google’s collaboration with Chromasonic culminates in a series of rooms exploring how colour influences user perception and experience, curated by Google’s vice president of hardware design Ivy Ross. These screens project shifting patterns of coloured light, accompanied by sound waves corresponding to the wavelengths of each hue. For instance, longer wavelengths of red light produce lower-pitched sounds, while shorter wavelengths of yellow, green and blue elicit higher pitches. This innovative setup enables visitors to perceive colours through both sight and sound simultaneously, mimicking an artificial form of synesthesia.According to the studio, this amalgamation of senses fosters a deeper connection to one’s surroundings, akin to the mindfulness achieved through meditation. The Making Sense of Color installation comprises 21 volumes created from 3m high fabric screens, each illuminated by a single LED square and equipped with a matrix of 24 speakers for localized sound. Through algorithmic synchronization, light and sound are harmonized to create a unified sensory experience as visitors traverse the space. Chromasonic’s proprietary refrequencing software reportedly facilitates this integration, translating waveforms between different mediums. Reports suggest, this technology, also featured in Chromasonic’s permanent installation in Venice, California, is under study with researchers from the University of Southern California to analyze its effects on participants.

Making Sense of Color is open for visitors at Garage 21 as part of Milan Design Week 2024.

Image credit: Chromasonic




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