Outside Studio Sounds: Where Music + Creativity Combine

This fall we hosted the second Outside Studio Sounds, our annual effort to explore and inspire new forms of music + creativity.  Joined by friends, we convened for a night of music, art, and refreshments. Our goal was to see what connections could be made through a joyful and unique sonic evening. Not your typical rock-n-roll show and certainly not a typical office event, Outside Studio Sounds is about creating an experience we can use music as inspiration in our work and life. 

Our efforts were to squeeze as much fun as we could from our friends and ourselves, inviting one and all to contribute their creative efforts to the greater good. From stage lighting to experimental projections, and from exquisite tacos to a carnival popcorn machine, there was something for everyone. We expanded from our entry courtyard last year, to reimagine a parking garage and featured three sets of local music from: K+O Experiment, Marcus Striplin (singing the songs of Margaret Chavez and Pleasant Grove), and Mind Spiders. The setting and the musicians pushed us to expand our thoughts on creativity and how what we do as landscape architects can be influenced by other fields. We believe that we must all work to make the connections between daily routine and memorable experiences, trying to instill a sense of wonder into our work.

As we reflect on Outside Studio Sounds, we are excited to start planning for next year. How can we continue to grow the event? How do we measure the impact the event has on the studio and those who participated? Who else is doing events like this and how does OSS fit into a broader conversation about music + creativity and the blending of different fields in Dallas?

Video of Outside Studio Sounds 2017 by Kamel Hilmi

As we explore this, we have found a couple of different examples of practices that blend together different forms of creativity. One firm that has done something particularly noteworthy within this realm is Olson Kundig, who’s storefront creates a place for experimentation and exhibition. In their own words, “An experimental work place for Olson Kundig’s community collaborations, pro-bono design work, philanthropic and volunteer work, and for design research and the development of design ideas.” This has taken shape as a “record store” and listening hall, a classroom for adult education classes, and as a “hardware store” that exhibited the tools and materials of architecture to the public, just to name a few.

Another exciting model was presented at a recent conference here is Dallas by the director of MASS MOCA a contemporary art museum in North Adams, Massachusetts. He shared his excitement of witnessing the results of theater lighting designers working with traditional museum lighting designers to create unique visual experiences. He also discussed how homemade musical instruments and installations can become a catalyst for drawing families into an art museum and unexpected collaborations.

Both examples break the mold of traditional architectural practice or museum programming and create new experiences for professionals and the public. We hope that OSS is achieving this and that we can continue to evolve and grow the program into something memorable, that inspires action after the event is over.

What are your thoughts on how music, creativity, and inspiration can be infused in our professional and personal work?

Special thanks to all of the musicians for their creativity, The Gibson Company, HKS Architects, Pavestone, Aquatic Design & Engineering, Rick Fontenot, Outside the Lines, Brightview, ALA Lighting, Scott Oldner Lighting Design, Hunter Industries, Las Almas Rotas, and the entire Studio Outside team. Thank you all for making this happen!