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Play:1 in a theater setup.

Dwell Editor Erika Heet hosted an intimate discussion and audience Q&A at the Sonos Studio with Tad Toulis, VP of Design at Sonos, and Sonos Studio lead architect Rania Alomar from RA-DA Architects. Together the three discussed the changing challenges of designing spaces for sound and how everyone from space designers, to architects to everyday music enthusiasts can help shape the sound in their home.

Alomar began by describing her approach to every project, “avoid construction and improvise with the space.” Toulis extrapolated on how the importance of flexibility and improvisation in sound design has shaped the team’s vision behind the design of every product. “The Sonos founders and I share this fundamental belief, which is, the more music is in your life, the better your life is.”

The audience asked questions around how to make to get the best sound out of every room, as each space has its own unique sound design. And while Alomar firmly believes in improvisation, she follows a few fundamental points.

  1. Don’t bury speakers in cubbyholes, instead leave them with space to project and fill the room.
  2. Try shifting furniture and experimenting with different pieces in a room; each piece impacts how a room sounds.
  3. In addition to furniture, people themselves change the way a room sounds. Be cognizant of whether the room receives a lot of traffic – or instead if it’s a sitting area – and whether sound will be a focal point, or in the background.

The panel concluded with what was perhaps the thesis of the evening, “Has sound design grown in importance over the years?” Alomar answered, saying “Absolutely; it’s one of your senses. What do you see? What do you hear? As an architect you’re crafting not just a visual but an entire experience.”

Be sure to keep an eye out in next month’s issue of Dwell, where there will be photos and further coverage of the night’s discussion in the Dwell Scenes section.