The Siobhan Davies Studio
Created in 2006 by British architect Sarah Wigglesworth, Siobhan Davies Studios houses an artist-led organisation that exists to advance the art forms of dance and choreography. The studios are housed in a formerly derelict three-story building dating from 1898 and in the adjacent playground of the Charlotte Sharman Foundation Primary School. The original structure was enhanced with contemporary elements such as a two-storey atrium and a undulating roof above the main performance space. The design was the result of the architect spending considerable time with the dancers, to watch how they worked and learn what they needed. The main studio was placed on the roof so that dancers would be performing high above the city and with natural daylight. The unique design of the building was awarded a prestigious RIBA Award in 2006, and described in The Architects’ Journal as ‘straightforward, robust, and unsentimental’.
Sooski is a music producer and an interior architect based in London. After studying architecture, she undertook a Master’s degree in interior architecture, where she developed an appreciation for the connection between sound, space and motion. Believing that architecture and music are highly synergistic, Sooski pursues both professions in parallel and with equal passion. She uses this enthusiasm in the studio, to experiment and create with new sounds while refining her artistry. Sooski’s music cannot be boxed into a particular genre, her compositions representing an accumulation of industrial sounds of the cities where she has lived, accompanied by sweetly mystical Persian melodies.
I chose Siobhan Davies Dance Studios because of its beauty in design, its core concept and relationship with the human body, textures, lighting and most importantly my own personal emotional attachment to it.
This building is an outstanding outcome of a major refurbishment and extension of a redundant three-story building. Therobustness of the old structure embraces the new juxtaposed elements in an impeccable manner.
A few years ago, I studied the compatibility of architecture and dance using this body-inspired building. I explored the multi layers within the main studio by dance itself over a series of experiments, in order to understand the spatial limitations and its representation of architectural experiences.
On this occasion, the focus is on the acoustics of the building in its most unavoidable area which is of course the public foyer, a three-floor atrium against a large wall of shiny white glazed tiles with yellow old London brick and plaster. It welcomes vast amounts of natural lighting, it feels calm and lively, also a little hairy. The architect Sara Wigglesworth mixed goat hair in with the plaster imitating the way Victorian London builders worked.
The acoustics were recorded with the help of Architect Paul Bavister, in three different locations in the stairway – ground floor, first floor and second floor, just outside the main studio. I’ve used these results to provide special reverbs on my soundtrack “Void” to make it sound like how it would if I was to perform live in this very space.
I wanted to mirror the core concept of the building, mixing the old and the new whilst keeping it raw and “bodily”. So, I decided not to focus on any specific structure or arrangement, but instead took myself on a journey of sounds.
All percussions were created by different parts of my body and then further manipulated. I wanted the driving force of the track to remain “bodily”. The foundation of the old building is emphasised through the heavy bass and the deeper frequencies. The sudden surprises in the track resemble the echoes of the past that appear throughout Siobhan Davies Studios.
“Void” is an accumulation of feelings and textures presented as a dancing soundscape. I crafted the overall feel of the production to be quite sparse so that you could really feel like you’re within the foyer when listening to the track.