Designing to Embody Experience01 March 2021
It’s not exactly going out on a limb to declare that humans have bodies. But have you noticed how lately, in our Zoom exhausted states, just how much technology has disconnected us from them?
While there’s certainly a time and place for on-screen connection, particularly amidst a global pandemic, as humans we naturally connect best with each other through shared physical experiences. Touches. Sounds. Tastes. Smells.
As designers, it’s our responsibility to create spaces that draw on all the senses and allow people to feel a certain experience. Something you had to be there to define. Feeling these experiences is the difference between being in the moment and looking back at the pictures.
Modern life sees us spend 90% of our lives indoors. What impact are those interiors having on our health? Are these experiences leaving people better, or worse off?
Whether we are creating a home, hotel room, or restaurant, we as designers must consider this impact and acknowledge our jobs go way beyond curating an aesthetic. We’re creating an experience that impacts people’s lives and wellbeing. We’re leaving a lasting impression, that should take the end-user on a multi-sensory journey.
At Mitchell & Eades, our founding principle is that luxury is something that cannot always be seen. It’s a sensory experience that’s felt, heard, touched, smelt and remembered. It shouldn’t be immediately obvious or easy to describe. It is a feeling… a moment in time where you feel transported; a mysterious and alluring sensation that encompasses your entire body.
One of M&E’s latest designs, Hinchcliff House in Sydney, exudes luxury across its four split-level tenancies. An in-house bakery and pasta kitchen occupy the base floor, with real transparency between the staff and customers to provide an authentic grounding experience. Upstairs, level one has the sexiest bar in town – ‘Lana’.
Lana is geared for connection. On arrival there’s a large communal table that the maître d also resides at, to show no hierarchy lives here between the staff and guests.
Across the globe, The Park in Dubai is another venue strongly focusing on connecting its community. The venue feels very inclusive from the moment you arrive, with a plethora of interactive offerings on the ground floor. There’s a herb farm for kids in their playground of rolling grass and tunnels, a picnic area for families, and a providore store to encourage lingering before a visit to the coffee bar and outdoor lounge area. It’s approachable, yet luxurious at the same time.
True luxury is a complex integration of sensation and emotion. It takes time to unpack, sparking curiosity and leaving a lasting impression.