Sure, you can flip on Spotify anytime and hear what your friends are listening to. But what about seeing the music they're streaming? A new building for a Chinese music corporation in downtown Shenzhen has a reactive LED façade that "plays" the music its users are downloading in real time.
Designed by Shenzhen-based UNIT Studio, the headquarters are for A8 Music, a new Chinese music download company. The exterior of the building is shaped like sound waves, with rippling glass reflecting the sky and surrounding buildings during the day. At night, the building lights up like a giant equaliser according to data culled from the music that's downloaded on A8's website.
"The approach for this project was to create a tower who embodies its function, thereby promoting the dynamism of music as well as the hosted user," according to UNIT Studio's founder Moyang Yang.
The LEDs are arranged according to a system called the Scriabin keyboard, where music tones are associated to a colour. It was developed in the early 1900s by the synaesthetic Russian composer Alexander Scriabian. Here you can see the musical notes that he associated to each colour tone:
The building becomes a kind of live data visualisation, showing what its customers — and in a larger way, the surrounding city — is listening to. And by attaching colour to downloaded musical tones, it also manages to bring to life two sets of information that are, for the most part, invisible: sound waves and internet files. The result is a silent, web-powered, synaesthetic symphony. [UNIT via design boom]