Experience in Design

Through design, architecture may convey its emotions and influence the emotions of its users.

by Priyanka Tiwari

Have you ever been to a place that stirred up some emotions? Have you ever experienced design without seeing it, with closed eyes? Do you think the colour and texture of materials and finishes is the most critical factor in your spatial experience?  

Do we fail to curate user experience as we become entangled in bylaws and functional requirements? Frank Chimero rightly said,

“ People ignore design that ignores people. ”

Keeping people at the centre of your design, let us explore Experiential Design. It is a process that evaluates all aspects of a person’s experience in a defined space and tries to create an environment that engages all of their senses. The colour that the eyes see, the touch of different textures, the sound of different materials, the echo of the voice, and many other things that contribute to one’s perception of the space.  

Interactive installation in museum
Photo by Vanessa Loring: https://www.pexels.com/photo/little-girl-in-vr-headset-7869238/ 

Experiential design is all about creating spaces that offer direct, physical experiences that engage our senses and emotions. This can be anything from an interactive installation at a museum to a pop-up shop, from playing with volumes of space to the play of light(give example and photo). The goal of experiential design is to create unforgettable experiences that stay with us long after we’ve left the space. In a world where most of our interaction is through screens, these kinds of spaces offer a refreshing change of pace. They also have the potential to change the way we interact with architecture. 

Play of light, shadow, and heights
Photo by Pixabay: https://www.pexels.com/photo/corridor-of-building-327482/ 

Have you ever tried closing your eyes and observing what is going on around you? The scent of mud after the first rain, the sound of footsteps on a wooden staircase, the feel of fabric while shopping? It might surprise you but all of these things can be considered while designing the user experience.

Jai Prakash Narayan Museum, Lucknow © Andre J Fanthome

Let’s look at the Jai Prakash Narayan Museum in Lucknow as an example of experiential design. It is an interactive iconic monument that invites people in with its strong personality and a deep sense of values. The museum, designed by Ar. Sourabh Gupta features a stunning play of light, shade, and shadow, interactive play of volumes, intelligent colour combination, and well-planned flow that amplifies the user experience a hundredfold. The structure is not only a  brilliant design but also uses technologically advanced interactive installations to enhance the user experience.

Photographs cannot depict the experience of space; it can only be felt.
Photo by Coby Degroot: https://www.pexels.com/photo/black-and-white-photo-of-an-alley-5727520/ 

As beautifully quoted by Architect Maya Lin.
Architecture is like a mythical fantastic. It has to be experienced. It can’t be described. We can draw it up and we can make models of it, but it can only be experienced as a complete whole.”

Better experiences enhance spaces and blur the line between function and fun. And that’s when the architecture speaks of its time, it narrates the story of things it has witnessed. 

Author: Priyanka Tiwari

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