Sound, culture and the city


London is famous for its concert halls but how does the capital compete with music venues around the world in terms of drawing audiences?

Defining what makes for high quality environments for the performing arts, is something that former conductor Tateo Nakajima, Principal, Arts, Culture and Entertainment at the consulting firm Arup, is an expert in and he will be speaking at our cultural regeneration forum in the City of London on 8th April.

Tateo is an acoustics/theatre designer and arts planner for venues and districts from initial visioning/conceptualisation and planning through execution and operations. Before joining Arup, Tateo was a Partner at Artec Consultants Inc, leading the design and planning of high quality perfoming arts facilities worldwide, as well as pre-design planning of cultural clusters. His education took place at the Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto and Tateo speaks five languages, English, French, German, Japanese and Romanian.

For the last 18 months, Tateo has worked as part of the planning team for the West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong. It is a project of strategic importance supporting Hong Kong's development as a creative economy and global metropolis. It seeks to foster organic growth of local cultural and creative industries, attract and nurture talents, promote international exchange and co-operation, enhance the quality of living and make Hong Kong the cultural gateway to the Pearl River Delta. The district will include 17 new visual culture and performing arts facilities, open spaces, education, commercial and retail facilities. There will also be retail, dining and entertainments facilities along with residential, hotel and office developments.

He has also worked on projects for the New Lucerne Theatre/Salle Modulable, Lucerne, Switzerland and the Maison Symphonique de Montreal.

Tateo also has views on how to maintain high levels of cultural experience with the increasing interest of watching opera or concerts through cinema rather than being present in the hall. However in a physical audience experience he talks of using 'acoustics in tandem with the spatial geometries, textures, light and colours to create spaces that elicit an emotional or even physical response'.

In conclusion, Tateo believes we should all be asking for a world where our sound environments - and particularly in public realm and culture spaces - are creating positive experience, ie it is not just about putting up with noise!

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