When I think about an experience, it’s always a mix of complex impressions. I absorb.
I like to sit and watch — people, interacting with place and content. Sameness is less memorable. In the quest to create perfected brand conditioning, sometimes that disciplined spirit lends itself to ease of recognizability — but homogeneity can be boring.
What about the mix of the synesthete? What if, in perhaps each person’s experience of the world, there are involuntary interpretations, crossovers from one sensate condition to another?
Wiki: Synesthesia (also spelled synæsthesia or synaesthesia, plural synesthesiae or synaesthesiae), from the ancient Greek σύν (syn), “together,” and αἴσθησις (aisthēsis), “sensation,” is a neurologically-based condition in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. People who report such experiences are known as synesthetes.
But the point to experience might be the mix of impressions that stride beyond the conventional alignments. Experience is enriched in variation.
In retail, the more compelling arrangements, the more striking the compositing, create the more entrancing character in space. Color in sight, sound and interpretation, scent in olfactive reflection, touching materiality, taste equations, balance in space, intuition in memory and gathering.
Studying design and experience, sometimes the character of place-making tends to be too same-old.
Instead, it might be more to the allocation of an adventuresome mixture, that builds an amalgam of touches and sensations that can do more to synaesthetic combinations — in our free-wheeling interpretation. Crossing intermixing of experiences and sensations.
I’m using the synthesis of aesthetic content in a manner that’s entirely out of the true context — it’s reflecting combinations of attitude, and attributes, that tell a story in an unconventional way.
Contemplating that strategy, to advantage, I might offer these sensations — to think different. About brand, place, context and abandonment of transitioning idea and experience design.
Seasonal patterning of coloration in experience
Dramatic transitioning in experience living
“Tham & Videgård Arkitekter are a design practice in Sweden who have great vision and the ability to completly transform the idea of what a building can be. The Humlegården Apartment overlooks a park, so the designers decided that the changing colour of the foilage would be the inspiration for this space. The parquet flooring graduates in colour thoughout, from winter grey and black, to bright and deep green in summer, to orange, red and yellow during autumn. The T&V team are highly regarded in the architectural world, snagging covers of industry magazines, winning awards, running exhibits and lectures.”
Northern Sweden Tree Hotel, Harads, Sweden
Combining the aesthetic of outdoor experience with the most technical materials and applications
Architecture (and notations) Client: Brittas Pensionat
Intermixture of sense design:
“A shelter up in the trees; a lightweight aluminium structure hung around a tree trunk, a 4×4×4 meters box clad in mirrored glass. The exterior reflects the surroundings and the sky, creating a camouflaged refuge. The interior is all made of plywood and the windows give a 360 degree view of the surroundings. The construction also alludes to how man relates to nature, how we use high tech materials and products when exploring remote places in harsh climates (Gore-tex, Kevlar, composite materials, light weight tents etc).The functions included provide for a living for two people; a double bed, a small bath room, a living room and a roof terrace. Access to the cabin is by a rope bridge connected to the next tree. To prevent birds colliding with the reflective glass, a transparent ultraviolet colour is laminated into the glass panes which are visible for birds only.”
Weiden + Kennedy | Portland
Workplace, designplace, thinkplace. Meeting with John Jay, long-running friend, client and global creative director gave me and Dawn Clark a Saturday tour. But the point — in sharing — is the mix of sensibilities. From raw industria to wickercraft, modernist office open place — an interplay of interlaced ideas and experience levels. (Imagery: Dawn Clark + Tim Girvin)
Love nesting It might be said that sexual place could be the most synaesthetic — sensuality, the very nature of sexual encounters, is a mix of sensations; and they cross over.
Japanese Love Hotels
(image via: WebUrbanist)
To the nature of love environments, WebUrbanist offers, “Love Hotels are a very special Japanese phenomenon that, in a nutshell, are hotels designed for love… and not the platonic kind. As such, the rooms are often decorated as elaborately as possible to match the fantasies of the clientele. With 30,000 to 40,000 Love Hotels scattered across the country, that’s a lot of rooms – and a lot of fantasies. Photojournalist Misty Keasler has made it her mission to chronicle the many variations on the Love Hotel theme and present them in a non-judgmental, artistic way to show off their distinct flavor. See Chronicle Books.
Photo by Eilzabeth Felicella.
Anthropologie in Burlingame, California. Tinted resin bars specially created and inserted in the concrete walls.
To the intertwinement of sensation and experience, in retail, the Urban Outfitters | Anthropologie modeling might be among the most inventive. Most national retailers replicate design thinking — they cookie-cutter their stores. But Anthropologie, an offshoot of Urban Outfitters, shrewdly camouflages 118 units as individuated regional boutiques — coupled with ingeniously complex displays, installations and international gestures.
Materiality, texturized composites, sounds, colors, tastes and messaging (including typography, as part of the synaesthetic mix)
Imagery from Anthropologie collections
Explore more, to the spirit of Urban’s design strategies, here.
The collective experience can be an amalgam of expressions, gathered into the mixture of the senses, interweaving them into new combinations. Thinking brand, retail, the story becomes refreshed, more embraceable, since it’s distinguished and differentiating — and memorable in its distinctiveness. As brand designers, the notion of mixing the metaphors of color and sight, taste and flavor, hearing and sound, touch and texture, scent and smell — to each, there is interplay.
To that, of course, there are interpretations…
tim | vancouver, british columbia
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