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São Paulo- CISARTE

sound mitigation

20  /   04   /   2018

Group Members
  • Tiffany Lau
  • Zelia Liu
  • Naur Arao Filho
  • Natália Pereira


In development, we focused on using soft maps to create different simple shapes by using the mechanism it originally has or using the flexibility that the maps can be bended in whatever way we want.  But also ensure that the shapes can track the sound as much as possible that were able to form various shapes. Considering the limited time we had and the material and tools we had access to when we were going to be in CISARTE we agreed on further developing the idea of the trapezoid stool which has multiple formations and is easy to make with wood strips. We used several wood strips to make the top of the stool, we used one strip for each leg, and we used other strips to connect the legs. After refining the design, we built a prototype to test its stability and made further refinements. Since we didn’t have enough strips available during our studio time, we removed every other strip on the top of the stool when we built the prototype in order to test the overall stability while keeping within the material limitations. The prototype was a little wobbly but was stable enough for people to sit on. We made new sketches and decided to angle the legs so that they would go along the edges which will allow people to sit on the edge without the stool tipping and we decided to change the orientation of the beams in order to create more stability.



Research Methods

Our first step in the design process was to research the market for popular products as well as analyze the effectiveness of each design. Pinterest was our go to website. There is a large range of products and designs. We searched for a large variety of materials including cardboard, felt, brick, wood, and different plastics. However, working with our Mackenzie counterparts, Naur and Natalia, we would check the availability and affordability of these materials in Sao Paulo. There was a possibility of recycling common trash materials such as plastic bags and bottles so that the people at CISARTE could continue making once we left.


After some time, we landed on the EVA mats. They came in a multitude of colors, are inexpensive, and a perfect soft material for sound absorption. We prototyped, sent pictures, and using the same principles within their designs, Natalia and Naur presented some of the prototypes to the people at CISARTE to insure that our designs would be wanted and well received in their space. The designs that the Mackenzie students presented as well as the ones that we developed changed once we all met in person. Irenue, a street population individual, worked closely with our team and helped us develop, refine, and build our designs.


There were many changes to our design before we even arrived in Sao Paulo. Since we didn’t really know what materials were available to us, we made a lot of different designs. We focused on simple designs that we didn’t need any power tools. Since the space and equipment at Villa Itororo would be mostly used by the partition and stools steam, we had to ensure that our designs could be quickly and successfully made by other means. Using paper mock ups, we tested different modular structures. Our largest obstacle was deciding how much of the light we wanted to allow through. Since most soundproofing methods are solid and opaque, these methods would block the only natural light source in the dark room.


Once we received the EVA, we did smaller scale mock ups since the dimensions and properties of the materials were slightly different than the material we were building with in Columbus. We adapted to using rope to create the forms from the EVA mat, and a pen case as a hole punch. These were decisions we made in the moment as a team with the options we were given. We used metal grommets to reinforce the holes in the EVA so the tension of hanging these large structures (~1.5’x7.5’) would not rip through the EVA material itself. We also used zipties to connect 5 structures together to create a small curtain or section. We hung 4 of these  sections on 2 different tensioned wire lines so that they could be moved in different configurations as the people at CISARTE wanted.

Team reflections

One of our greatest insecurities going into this project was definitely diving into the unknown. Since we started the project sooner than the Mackenzie students, we had no idea their passions, abilities, or any other qualities about them. The same can be said about us for them. Along with the fact of working with strangers, the language barrier fear left a lot of us apprehensive or unsure of how the interactions would play out.


Our team was very good about responding to us through messaging apps. I know that other groups had difficulties communicating with their groups because the Mackenzie students were embarrassed about speaking in their non native tongue. However, once we were able to meet face to face, it was clear that neither party had anything to be nervous about. Being about to interact with them face to face really humanized everyone. Sao Paulo has a lot of potential with such a rich culture, but their political situation seems to be a constant obstacle to overcome.


Overall, our sound mitigation team had an incredibly successful week at CISARTE. Our project was well received by the street population, and even though we don’t have the hard numbers to back it up, we do believe that it made a difference in dampening the sound in the room.  We know that this is just the first step - there is still a lot of work that needs to be done but we are happy that we could help to get the momentum started.

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