Levi-Strauss is one of the forward-looking corporations that Paul Hawken commends in his book "The Ecology of Commerce." One of the many "quality of life" features that LS&Co. provides all of their employees is a week long inquiry into ethics and cultural diversity in the workplace. The program tours around their U.S. workplaces annually, covering all of their domestic employees. This program had developed over the years to become a hodgepodge collection of video kiosks, posterboards and other exhibit tools. We were asked to come in and create continuity for their presentation.
Our strategy was to design a "ceremonial setting" wherein the visitors could experience the program themes of Business Ethics, Culture, Prejudice and Racism, and Intolerance. We created a sound piece for each theme to be presented from four free standing kiosks. The pieces for Ethics, Culture and Prejudice were produced from interviews with people of many cultures, creeds, and persuasions from the wealthy to the homeless. We also had the honor of speaking with Elder Environmentalist David Brower, Birkenstock CEO Margot Fraser, Working Assets CEO Laura Sher and other business leaders who are changing the face and heart of corporate America. Our production on intolerance was a series of scripted vignettes examining current world hot-beds of intolerance read over a montage of music from the subject cultures.
Our strategy of using sound to convey messages in a method akin to radio drama allowed us to evoke the emotional participation of the visitors. The tears of sorrow, the joy and the laughter that the pieces induced were clear testimonials to the power that sound has on our psyche and emotions. Sound happens to be significantly less costly to produce than video, but I don't believe we could have received such strong reactions with video pieces at any cost.
Our kiosk design was structured around an existing movable partition product. We designed the sound presentation faces to focus sound into a "listening envelope". We displayed thematic photographs, writing and artwork on the additional faces of the kiosks.