Sensory Design

During our lecture on sensory design, a lot of attention was paid to how elitist architects incorporate sensuous phenomena, this got me thinking about the spaces we are constantly interacting with, the branded spaces amongst the city and how they incorporate Pallasmaas (2012) ideas of sensory design. Retail Branded spaces through means of spatial configuration, sensuous stimulators and branding identity influence the way people respond to the brand and the process of which you move through the space. Unconsciously we are all encompassed with various methods of sensory design, whether they control the way we consume the products or the way we indulge in their specificity.

“Architecture reflects, materialises and eternalises ideas and images of ideal life” Pallasmaa (2012, p. 76). Borges (2013) book on branded spaces explains how consumers become enticed through advanced expectations of brand associations. Elite brands create a realm that becomes irresistible to consumers. Apple stores, pay careful attention to their branding elements to ensure a coherent feel amongst the store and upon the products. Through strategically composing unique experiences for their customers’ apple keep its retail process in alliance with its marketing intentions. Apples branded strategy focuses on the creation of systematic emotions, these selected branded emotions are lifestyle, imagination and aspirations. All of these link with the factors of brand identification, how we as consumers idealise the brand amongst ourselves and within our lives. The idea of simplicity amongst all products, and branded environments refers to the removal of complexity from consumers’; ‘The annotation that using an apple product will create an easier life for the consumer’.

Apple stores have a design pattern that occurs throughout the stores. The element of organisation is strong throughout. There is a clear open plan layout situated within the store, creating open visibility and clear accessibility. An emphasis is created among apple products through a minimalistic approach. Consumers are inspired to interact with all elements of the products, tables are featured at a suitable height to ensure pro-active interaction and reveal the full beauty. The idea of an in-store relationship creates the aspiration to become amongst the brand identity. From metal to wood and glass they use the materials in a sophisticated manner, materials appeal to the visual and touch sensory stimuli, Apple create obligations to to feel the the finish amongst the tables or the great satisfaction that is gathered when looking at the complete beauty of aesthetic finish, ‘The idealised apple finish’. Similar to Peter Zumthor they acknowledge the importance of an aesthetic finish and material influence “Atmosphere is an aesthetic category” Zumthor (2006 p. 7) Each individual store is contained amongst its own architectural perfection. A personal favourite of mine is The Covent Garden apple store which is among a grade 2 listed building, the revealed raw brickwork among structural arches inspires touch through the contrast against the rest of the store, the English oak tables and the 2 storey glass spiralled staircase. The clean minimal interior creates an imagination amongst the consumer of an ideal work space. A heightened experience is created through exaggerated ceilings of which create a bodily identification that wishes for exploration. The desiring products around are made to create an imaginative experience that can adapt the consumers’ identification with themselves and lifestyle. It is questionable whether the subconscious sensory experience that we are exhibited too within the store is a good implication or a manipulative one? By creating this phenomenon throughout we are being manipulated to represent ourselves with the brand. (reference) consumerism, we no longer by stuff for the need we consume for the want and association with said brand. Although I think sensory design application is great for creating an incorporative experience it will remain in question whether this should be applied to our own retail branded spaces where consumption can greater or if it is better among those schools and hospitals to provide better learning and healing environments.


Borges, S. (2013) Branded Spaces, Branded Architecture and the Furture of Retail Design. Berlin: Gestalten

Pallasmaa, J. (2009) The thinking hand: Existential and embodied wisdom in architecture. United Kingdom: Wiley, John & Sons.

Pallasmaa, J. (2012) The Eyes Of The Skin, Architecture and the senses. United Kingdom: Wiley, John & Sons.

Zumthor, P. (2006) Peter Zumthor Atmospheres. Switzerland: Birkhauser

Zumthor, P. (2006) Peter Zumthor Thinking Architecture. expanded edition. Switzerland: Birkhauser


Biophilic Design

Sustainability- the endurance of systems and processes. Sustainable design is an important factor among architectural design, high attention and consideration should be paid to the design element to create effective design implications which in the long run will improve the environment. Biophilic design, is a design method that is influenced by natural forms and materials. This design method introduces the natural world surrounding us into areas of design, this can be through the introduction of plant materials, through associative shapes or increased access to natural light. Oliver Heath is an expert among the field of sustainable architectural and interior design. He highlights the importance of health and well being and how positive adjustments can be implemented among the built environment. Heath (no-date) During a presentation at the surface design show, Oliver discussed the relevance of creating a healthier space to live and work in. He discusses how a ‘human centred’ approach increases 90% of the typical operating costs throughout a company. By creating significant changes amongst the working environment there is a noticeable adjustment in productivity and creativity. Sustainable design is an important factor among society nowadays. I believe that in order to replicate the idea of good design, there should be attention given to the sustainable functioning of the environments. Biophilc design is a simple effective way of improving health and well being and creating a better functioning environment.

This also got me thinking about other design methods that resolve environmental issues. I had read an article a few weeks ago, that discusses a very interesting idea. The “First amphibious house, can float on floodwater like a boat on a dock” Winston (2014) This ambitious house has been designed to rise with the water and to adjust to flood levels on the Thames, the architects were chosen due to the extensive knowledge they already had within the area. They had been working on projects involving Long-term initiatives for flood-risk environments. Richard Coutts Baca co-founder explains that “During the flood event the whole house will raise gently like a boat and will keep all of the habitable spaces safe above the flood level,” Winston (2014) this clever sustainable solution responded too issues of overcrowding and provides a solution for those who are unfortunate to be designated in a high-flood risk area. I very much recommend reading this article as it highlights how the construction of the house implements the changes in response to adjustments in water levels and expresses some interesting points among architectural design.


Oliver Heath Design. (no date) Available at: (Accessed: 16 March 2016)

Surface Design Show. (2014) Available at: (Accessed: 16 March 2016)

Winston, A. (2014) Deezen, Uk’s “first amphibious house” can float on flood water like a boat in a dock. Available at: (Accessed: 16 March 2016)

‘Creation from Catastrophe’ – Exhibition Review

Disasters can allow for opportunities, opportunities for cities to respond to natural threats or to simply re-erect the city they once knew. The ‘Creation from Catastrophe’ exhibition takes you on a story from the devastating great fire of London in 1666 to the the 18th Century, 19th Century ending in the present with the natural disasters occurring over Japan, Pakistan and Nepal.

Visitors enter the exhibition into a plain white façade of which visualises the catastrophic evidence from the great fire of London. Images and descriptions show the craze to re-build a new formation, by means of floor plans and architectural sketches. The exhibition takes you back to the reformation of London and the manic rush to make a decision on how the future entails the city. An inclined textural cork passage way leads you to the second room which shows how London strived for influence from other cities, like the first high rise school in Chicago after their great fire or the earthquake resolution in Lisbon in 1750. Some felt that plans had been discussed previously and were already being erected when the flames were still burning. London grasped hold of the idea to widen the streets however, plans became hard to fully control as people were taking it upon themselves to re-build on their previous land.

Still among the atmospheric cork passage you end in a room that over looks the past you have just been immersed in and allows for greater understanding of the natural disasters that can occur with no warning that happen regularly in many countries. Whether the disaster is from a natural cause or man-made, it still devastates the city. This last room shows you how communities and architects have to deal with countless destruction. This last room really caught my attention showing how architects and the community compliments each other to re-structure the city to minimise the excessiveness of the destruction. Through images, models and video footage the exhibition takes you through a timeline of events from the devastation to the reformation.

In order to minimise the chances of further problems the architect responds to Japan’s Tsunami threats with an urban solution. A solution that places the city further back with a forest causing a partition between the water and the city, if future tsunami’s hit the main volume and hit of water will be absorbed throughout the forest. Urban architecture is an up and coming design idea. With weather being more and more unpredictable and flooding becoming more evolving over the country. Precautions need to be made to ensure that buildings can become sustainable through out these changes. London is increasingly running out of housing space. There are many large at flood risk areas of which London is looking to scope towards, with clever architectural plans and design manipulation they plan to adapt and modify a home to adjust the average floor level with the rise in water.

Artichoke’s take on Participatory Design


Large amounts of designer’s forget or rather disagree with the reasoning’s behind participatory design. A large amount of focus is on achieving the clients goal, of which may not involve the community. Participatory design is a method used to work with the community in order to teach or deliver something back to them. Often these projects are non-profitable but achieve much more than any emotion or effect money can bring. Artichoke is a self funded company founded by Helen Marriage and Nicky Webb, they curate ideas and approach specific designers to develop their proposed vision. Artichoke flee to the streets to enthusiastically grab the attention of the general public, appeal to those that believe they have no interest in art. Art is commonly thought to only be perceived within the 4 walls of a museum, most feel if they don’t understand the art and the basis of the design, that they just don’t get it. Realistically not everyone does, even those art enthusiasts sometimes won’t understand or visualise what the artist is trying to imply, and truthfully this doesn’t matter, it’s about your own interpretation. Artichoke have visited many cities, ranging from; Northern Island, Durham to London the city we are all most familiar with. Each show is individual to itself and is always influenced from the history and political background of the city and the surrounding environment. They extend to the architecture as their performance stage, reflecting artists work onto the elegant objects of the City. The show fully encapsulates the community within the city, they are designed to change the memories and experience of familiar spaces to allow excitement and joy. The projects also reach out to involve the general public within the art itself. In Northern Island they worked with primary schools to develop pieces of art work and attempt to minimise the segregation between the schools. During the burning of the bonfire the community were encouraged to bring items or memories that they wished to burn within the spectacular wooden cathedral. The Lumiere 2009 that took place in Durham Is an amazing show that encapsulates the mystical beauty of the city. The light show varied in style artwork from magnificent fire displays to projections of Images of the Lindisfarne Gospels artwork among the architectural face of the cathedral.  Each show expresses different styles and emotions, artwork varies across the city. Artichoke partner with other artists and form many collaborations within the company. This allows them to Implement all their initial thoughts into successful design ideas. The idea of community design projects creates a great aspect of the design world, they are self funded projects that create activities and creative ideas among mostly unused spaces. Participatory design gives opportunities to many and become a great aspect of the community. Artichoke (2016)


Artichoke. (2016) Available at: (Accessed: 10 February 2016)


Sustainable Design

Ergonomically designed products can be of somewhat challenging to achieve, the simplistic approach to succeed what you want from that product can be very successful.In the 1970’s Dietar Rams a well associated designer set out to outline the principles of design in order to supply a set of guidelines of which will allow the designs to be measured in a finite way.

He states that good design is;

Innovative– Technological development is always offering new opportunities for innovative design. Innovative technology and innovative design work in tandem together and will never be paired by itself.

Makes a product useful– A product needs to satisfy certain criteria, not only functional, but also psychological and aesthetic. Good design emphasises the usefulness of a product.

Aesthetically pleasing– The aesthetic quality of a product Is integral to it’s usefulness. “But only well-executed objects can be beautiful.

Makes a product understandable– When a product is self-explanatory it clarifies the product’s structure.

Unobtrusive– Designs should be neutral and restrained, to leave room for the user’s self-expression. Products fulfilling a purpose are like tools.

Honest– The product fulfils it’s purpose, It does not manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept.

Long-lasting– It avoids being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated.

Thorough down to the last details– Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance, Accuracy during the design process shows respect towards the user.

Environmentally friendly– Design makes an important contribution to the preservation of the environment, It conserves resources and minimises physical and visual pollution.

As little design as possible– Refers to the theory of “Less is more” (Bauhaus) Designs concentrate on the essential aspects and are not burdened with non-essentials.

Dietar Rams designs were highly ergonomically pleasing, He focused on the ease and sufficiency of his designs that appealed to the common user. A common theme of his designs were for functionality and simplicity. His products consisted of the highest ergonomic value, referring to how function elaborates over form.

The basic shape and stylistic approach can be thought as replicated into apple’s designs. Take the basic Ipod and compare it to the Dietar Rams pocket radio for Braun. The Similarities are un-canny. But when you think about the principles of the design, the positioning of the dial, you realise how much they make sense. The mechanisms and layouts offer the consumer easy accessibility. Apple take the theory of function over form and add aesthetic details to allow for the needs of society today. They have created a brand of simplicity and elegance from the initial influence of Dietar.


Prem Sahib – Side on Exhibition Review


The meaning behind Prem Sahib’s structural compositions

This exhibition explores subtle ideas of the blurred boundaries between public and private spaces. Prem Sahib an English Artist currently working in London has a unique skill with visualisations. He expresses meaning and belief through the use of sculpture and manipulation of material.

As you stroll through the Prem Sahib’s Minimalistic exhibition, you explore through his personal ideas of intimacy. The exhibition remains very minimal throughout with subtle colours and simple structures. Some may see this as being very bland but it is a classic portrayal of his opinions. The gallery is made up of large tiled sculptures, condensed puffer jackets, Neons and black aluminium slates.

The initial aspect that you are approached with is the puffer jackets and hoodies that are condensed between panes of glass. I feel this is a representation of people being compressed and restricting their true individuality.  The stacked glass structures allow you to visualise the surrounding gallery on glance. Beside are two pale pink tiled structures of which are seen to intwine to replicate the legs of two people. Playing on the idea of intimacy. Behind is an oversized white-tiled couch, among it a steel mirrored laptop lookalike, with scattered ceramic popcorn which has also been thrown amongst it, creating the idea of comfort and over looking, playing on the concept of a spectator.

Prem Sahib shows an interest about the complications and underlying historical rules among the gay community. In the 20th Century, the gay community was frowned upon, there was no support or allowance to be open about their sexuality. They were condemned to keeping their personal sexuality a secret, having to pass over feelings. If they were to meet with people they ensured their signs were subtle letting each other know the attraction. The only way they could live their life, was through subtle techniques. Such are explained in the book Queer London by Matt Houlbrook.

He has designed two tiled doorways of which reference lavatory cubicles commonly found in the men’s toilet. The design shows a stern black tiled doorway opening with an interior gloss coating which gives a self reflection. The self reflection allows for many concept ideas, the idea of seeing your reflection and the person you really are and then the idea of reflecting yourself into the exterior space around the doors. Showing a clever and effective message of how you are between spaces. It also is used to portray a private intimate act within a much known public space. However this was classed as a hidden area from the public spaces occupied daily. In the first floor gallery there was a small window positioned at height on the wall similar to that would be found within the commonly hidden space, conveying the ideas through the full exhibition. The whole atmosphere of the exhibition feels very enclosed.

As you walk through the doorways into the rest of the surrounding space, you are left with a minimalistic room of which has a mat of large tiles among the floor. Underneath you see footprints impressed using talcum powder. This is represents the dirt underneath your fingernails, the secret that they lived, potentially taking over the exterior view of the object. The exterior dirt, contained within the interior of the tiles.