Boston-based designer Aisha Densmore-Bey is a multi-faceted creative who works in mediums from architecture and interiors to film and painting. Aisha recently wrote, produced, and directed an architectural short titled The Built Perception: Boston which explores our relationship with the built environment. In her installation "FOLD!" at Boston's center for Architecture and Design, BSA Space, she investigated the interaction of creases, pleats, curves, and computational patterns within all aspects of design. One might wonder what such an eclectic artist would listen to while contemplating the design of the physical world. Let's find out in this week's Playlist.
What do you listen to while you work? Depends on the task and the time of day. If I must really concentrate, or even study, then I need classical or jazz music, like Coltrane, Monk, or Miles. If it's my regular day-to-day work routine, then anything goes. I will dance in my seat to Parliament Funkadelic, Queen, The Stuyvesant's, and Bob Marley. If it's been a really pleasant day and I've received good news, or if a client gives me high praise, then I get up and take five-minute dance breaks.
How do you listen? If I'm in the kitchen, I usually hook my computer up to my stereo and listen through the house speakers; but, if it's just regular work, I usually listen through the speakers on my computer. Sometimes I want to feel the music and hear every nuance, and that's when I use my ear buds. I am dying to get the Beats by Dre or Bose headphones, but I fear I will never be able to go back to anything else after using them.
Do you have any favorite music websites/providers? I have 23 stations on Pandora. I used to really love Live365.com, but I haven't been on in a while. I've got to check out Spotify and see what all the fuss is about.
Does music influence your work? Music is one of the best modes of creativity, and it always informs my work. I need music just to get work done. If I sit in silence and try to work, my mind will wander. With some songs, especially if I hear it for the first time, I can almost visualize them with colors, textures, and scenes. I create a lot by feeling and emotion. Music is a big part of that equation. I would love to design a hotel room based on Tom Brock's "I Love You More and More" or a restaurant inspired by Shona Mbira Music.
Where do you find music recommendations? Who influences your musical taste? Everywhere and everyone! I hardly listen to the radio anymore so I depend on my best friends, NPR, people I know on Facebook, movie and television scores, Pandora suggestions, and Apple genius results to keep me in the loop. The Shazam app is one of the best creations on the planet, just grab and go. I also pay attention to my favorite music artists and find out what they listen to. I once heard Maxwell (whom I adore) talk about Radiohead's "In Rainbows." I play "Jigsaw Falling Into Place" every day now. Fantastic.
Densmore-Bey's "FOLD!" at Boston's center for Architecture and Design.
What song or artist best represents the work you create? I can only hope to one day be like Sade. Her work is just as ethereal as it was almost 30 years ago. Somehow she knows how to be timeless and fiercely contemporary. I saw her in concert last year. Man -- I would love to do set design like that. I believe she works with Sophie Muller, whom I believe is a genius. The best artists create work that endures, and that is a principle I am willing to devote my energy to.
Ideal place to sit and listen to your playlist: The Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman with the Black Leather and Santos Palisander Veneer, while someone else is sitting next to them on the Ottoman. The craftsmanship of the lounge chair is amazing with materials that are great to the touch. I would hope my playlist is good enough to go from the office on Friday afternoon, to being played at a hot house party toward the end of the night.
Exactly Like You, Nina Simone
Jigsaw Falling Into Place, Radiohead
Flying Overseas, Theophilus London
Never Stop, The Brand New Heavies
Time's a Wastin’, Erykah Badu
Limit to Your Love, James Blake
Come Undone, Duran Duran
Space Rider, Shaun Escoffery
Phoenix Rise, Maxwell
Didjital Vibrations, Jamiroquai
You Will Rise, Sweetback
Aisha, John Coltrane
(Images: Aisha Densmore-Bey/Ben Gebo Photography)
Republished in partnership with Lifework
By Amy Feezor