July 15, 2024

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Multi-sensory design: Tips on utilising textures, scents, lighting and sound

4 min read

In the ever-evolving world of interior design, a powerful and captivating approach has emerged, one that extends beyond the visual realm to engage all our senses – multi-sensory design – a concept that transcends the boundaries of traditional aesthetics and is redefining the way we experience and interact with interior spaces. It is a symphony of textures, scents, lighting and sound, meticulously orchestrated to evoke emotions, stimulate memories and create lasting impressions on those who step into these carefully crafted environments.

Multi-sensory design trend: Tips on utilising textures, scents, lighting and sound in interiors (Photo by Spacejoy on Unsplash)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Kunal Sharma, Founder and CEO at Flipspaces, highlighted this fascinating world of design and suggested some tips to utilise textures, scents, lighting and sound to craft immersive and unforgettable experiences for the visitors –

  • Taste and Scents: Although taste and scents are often associated with the culinary world, they can also be incorporated into design to create immersive experiences. The aroma of a particular scent can transport us to a specific time or place, evoking memories and emotions. Similarly, incorporating taste elements into a space, such as offering samples of food or drinks, can engage customers on a deeper level and create a more memorable experience.
  • Lighting: Natural lighting has a profound impact on our well-being and perception of spaces. The soft, warm light of the morning sun can create a sense of calm and tranquility, while the vibrant glow of a sunset can evoke a feeling of warmth and comfort. Incorporating natural light into design can create a connection with the outdoors and enhance the overall experience. The colour temperature of lighting can also greatly impact the mood and perception of a space. Warm, yellow-toned lighting can create a cozy and intimate atmosphere, while cool, blue-toned lighting can convey a sense of freshness and modernity.
  • Textures: Textures have the power to add depth, visual interest, and tactile sensations to a space. By incorporating a variety of textures, such as Visual or Tactile textures, designers can create a multi-dimensional environment that engages multiple senses. Textures can also be used to reinforce a brand’s identity and create a cohesive experience. For example, a luxury brand may utilize smooth, glossy textures to convey a sense of elegance and sophistication, while a more playful brand may incorporate fun and textured elements. By aligning textures with a brand’s values and personality, designers can create a space that not only engages the senses but also reinforces the brand’s identity. Incorporating textures into design adds another layer of engagement and sensory stimulation. By carefully selecting and combining visual and tactile textures, designers can create spaces that captivate visitors and leave a lasting impression.

Bringing her expertise to the same, Ankita Sharma, Founder and CEO at Design Alma, shared, “In a world where we’re constantly bombarded with information and distractions, the importance of multi-sensory design in creating immersive and memorable experiences cannot be overstated. Sensory design takes into consideration all five senses—sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste – to trigger specific emotions and make a lasting impact on customers and visitors.”

She suggested, “Imagine walking into a well-designed restaurant: you’re not just greeted by the visuals but you also inhale the delectable scents wafting from the kitchen, hear the soothing background music, feel the comfort of your seat, and savor the taste of the food. It’s a harmonious blend of sensory elements that leaves a lasting impression. Multi-sensory designers, also known as sensory designers, specialise in infusing products and experiences with stimuli that engage the senses in meaningful ways. Their goal is to activate multiple senses all at once or over successive touchpoints. The result? Unforgettable, immersive experiences that trigger memories, induce comfort, and elevate moods.”

According to her, one essential aspect of multi-sensory design is the incorporation of textures and tactile elements. Ankita Sharma said, “The texture of materials, like wood and warm colors, can create a sense of comfort and coziness. Even materials that might typically be perceived as cold, like concrete, can be made inviting through the addition of plants, contrasting colors, and other elements that engage the sense of touch. Lighting is another integral element. It’s not just about brightening a space; it’s about influencing mood and energy levels. Natural light, which follows our circadian rhythm, can provide a natural mood boost. Additionally, artificial lighting choices play a significant role. Harsh fluorescent lighting can be replaced with softer options like LED or color-filtered lights to create a more pleasant atmosphere.”

She asserted, “Sound, often an overlooked aspect of design, has the power to influence focus, stress levels, and even heart rate. The right sounds can uplift or ground, contributing to the overall ambiance of a space. Scent, a powerful sensory element, can evoke emotions, trigger memories, and influence behavior. Specific scents have been proven to increase alertness, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve productivity. Utilizing scent strategically in design can create a strong emotional connection with a space or product.”

However, multi-sensory design isn’t limited to commercial spaces; it’s equally relevant in our homes. Ankita Sharma concluded, “After all, who wouldn’t want their living environment to be a source of comfort, relaxation, and inspiration? To sum it up, multi-sensory design is all about engaging all the senses to create immersive and unforgettable experiences. It involves careful consideration of temperature, lighting, color, texture, sound, scent, and even taste. By doing so, designers can craft spaces and products that leave a lasting imprint on our memories and emotions, making our lives more enjoyable and meaningful. So the next time you step into a well-designed space, remember to savor the experience with all your senses, and appreciate the art of multi-sensory design.”

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