architecture
Oct 304 min read

How to Design Considering Human Senses?

written by

Kishan Thakkar

The human experience

When it comes to creating spaces that truly connect with people, considering human senses is the key to unlocking a profound and delightful experience. As architects and designers, our goal should go beyond aesthetics and functionality; we should aim to touch the very core of human emotions and sensations. 

In India, there are many examples of designs that use the senses to create a memorable experience. For example, the Taj Mahal in Agra is renowned for its stunning architecture, tranquil gardens, and delicate scent of musk. Similarly, the Golden Temple in Amritsar makes use of the sense of sound with its mesmerizing chants and hymns.

In this article, we will look into the art of designing with human senses in mind and explore practical tips to make spaces that captivate the senses.

image1.png© Google Arts & Culture

Understanding the Power of Human Senses in Design

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©Iwan Baan

Human senses are the gateways to how we perceive and experience the world around us. Sight, touch, hearing, taste, and smell all contribute to the way we interact with our environment. 

In design, each of these senses can be used to create spaces that leave a lasting impression and evoke emotions in the users.

Sight

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©Wikipedia

The sense of sight is undoubtedly one of the most powerful tools in design. A well-designed space stimulates the eyes and captures attention effortlessly. 

Color, lighting, and form all play significant roles in creating visually appealing environments. Striking a balance between bold and subtle elements can evoke various emotions and set the tone for the space.

Touch

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©Architizer

Incorporating tactile elements in design can profoundly impact the user experience. Textures, materials, and surfaces that invite touch can create a sense of comfort and connection. 

The feel of a smooth stone, a warm wooden surface, or a soft fabric can instantly trigger a positive emotional response.

For example, in Indian architecture, the use of tactile elements such as carved stone and wooden panels, and the use of soft fabrics, create a sense of warmth and comfort that invites tactile exploration. The use of traditional materials, such as marble, sandstone, and wood, also add a unique texture to the design.

Hearing

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©Amir Ali Ghafari

The sense of hearing affects our perception of space and ambiance. Consider how sounds reverberate, echo, or dampen within a room. Strategic use of sound-absorbing materials and architectural acoustics can make spaces peaceful and pleasant, ensuring that users are not disturbed by unwanted noise.

We have long incorporated the sense of hearing into its designs. Temples often feature bells, gongs and other instruments that create a soothing atmosphere with their pleasant sound. The sound of water flowing through a fountain or pool is also a common feature, providing a calming and peaceful atmosphere.

Taste

Though often overlooked in design, the sense of taste can be triggered by the overall experience of a space. Taste can be incorporated in case of restaurants, hotels and bars. By using appropriate cutlery, plates, vessels etc. can enhance the user experience.

Smell

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©Joana Franca

Sense of smell has a powerful connection to memory and emotion. Introducing pleasant natural scents through landscaping or the use of fragrant materials can create a refreshing and memorable sensory experience.

Plants and flowers can be used in landscaping to introduce pleasant natural scents and aromas. For example, lavender, rosemary, and jasmine are all known for their calming and soothing scents that can create a relaxing atmosphere.

Tips to Design with Human Senses in Mind

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IIM, Bangalore © MATTER

Understand the Audience

Begin by understanding the target audience for your design. What are their preferences, desires, and expectations? Tailor your design to resonate with the people who will use and experience the space.

Create a Sensory Journey

Design should be seen as a journey that engages users' senses as they move through the space. Thoughtfully plan the sequence of sensory experiences to create a coherent and immersive journey.

Embrace Biophilic Design

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©Hirouyki Oki

Incorporate elements of nature in your design to establish a strong connection with the environment. Biophilic design promotes well-being and helps users feel more in tune with the space.

Pay Attention to Lighting

Lighting can dramatically impact the ambiance and visual appeal of a space. Utilize natural light whenever possible and carefully design artificial lighting to enhance the mood and atmosphere.

Experiment with Materials

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©Maria Lorena Lehman

Don't be afraid to experiment with different materials to create unique tactile experiences. Mix textures and surfaces to add depth and intrigue to the space.

Prioritize Acoustics

Consider the soundscapes within your design. Incorporate materials and techniques that optimize acoustics, ensuring a serene and pleasant soundscape.

Engage Emotions

Design should go beyond the functional to evoke emotions. Aim to create spaces that inspire, comfort, or excite the users on an emotional level.

Conclusion

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©SPASM

Designing with human senses in mind elevates architecture and interior design from a mere utilitarian exercise to an artistic endeavor that touches the soul. By thoughtfully considering sight, touch, sound, taste, and smell, architects and designers can create spaces that leave a lasting impact on the users, instilling in them a feeling of joy.

Kaarwan offers affordable and practical skill-based learning experiences that empower professionals worldwide to achieve their career goals. Enroll now and unlock the potential to craft spaces that are not only visually stunning but also deeply enriching to the human senses.

Kishan Thakkar

Kishan Thakkar

A content writer with extensive experience in creating content for AEC & Real Estate industries. He is working as a freelance writer, assisting businesses in building a robust online presence through the power of writing and content strategies.