Presentation of te Chavasse Award to Patrick Susini

Publish date
April 17, 2018

April 23, during the forthcoming 14th edition of the Congrès Français d’Acoustique, the Société Française d’Acoustique  awarder Patrick Susini with the 2016 Chavasse award. Patrick is the head of the Sound Perception and Design team at IRCAM (STMS – Ircam/CNRS/Sorbonne Université/Ministère de la Culture).

This award is given to a renowned scientist and/or head of a research group who has worked for a long time on the development of acoustics. Patrick Susini will receive this distinction for his work on sound design and, more particularly, on the articulation between function and beauty in the practice of sound design, a theme he will address during a presentation on the same day.

Could a functional sound be beautiful?

Considering design and ecological perspectives, a general definition of sound design was proposed: a sound design approach is implemented to create new sounds in order to make intentions audible in a given context of use (Susini et al., 2014). Intentions are of different types: the first intention is to reach efficiently a goal thanks to the sound (functionality), the second one is to produce an harmonious reaction in the environment combining satisfaction of the user (pleasantness), coherence with the product (identity), and, as far as possible, embellishment of the environment (ecology). Successful sound design should be the articulation of the different intentions in order to produce new interactions through sound.

However, behind the formal aspects of a sound, there is always intention associated to its function. For example, an alarm sound has a strong spectro-temporal mark corresponding to its warning function that tend to limit the possibility to shape the sound in coherence with the environment. This is the tricky part of the process taken in charge by the sound designer; to be able to combine functional constraints concurrent to aesthetic aspects. The presentation will discuss this articulation between usability and beauty in the sound design practice.

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Patrick Susini

Patrick Susini is director of research at IRCAM and head of the Sound Perception and Design research team.