The lighting, natural plants and indoor waterfall in Singapore’s Jewel Changi Airport demonstrate how designers can create sensory experiences
Whenever a person enters a room – whether on land or at sea – they should instantly be able to form a personal connection with that space. The easiest way for an interior designer to ensure that this happens is to engage all five human senses, according to Titi Ogufere, president of International Federation of Interior Architects/Designers (IFI) from 2020-2021.
“When designing an interior space, there is a tendency to dwell heavily on the visual implications, but I believe in designing a robust sensory experience and sight is just one of five human senses,” she explains. “I also like to engage the senses of sound by playing with both silence and soothing noises, touch by experimenting with textures and smell by using natural and organic aromas, which can also stimulate the sense of taste. When all the senses are engaged, the experience of occupying a space becomes much more immersive and compelling.”
However, Ogufere takes a subtly different approach to engaging the senses depending on what type of space she is designing. “A private space is designed to choreograph the harmony of individual occupation, so I aim to create individualised sensory experiences that translate into personal sanctuaries,” she says. “By way of contrast, when I design public spaces, I want to choreograph harmonised human interactions.”
This is where passenger ship designers can take inspiration from land-based spaces. “Hotels, for example, are designed with prolonged human occupation in mind, so spaces are created to be spontaneous and dynamic, but they also offer small elements of design to encourage certain behaviours, such as immersive social experiences or more intimate encounters,” she says. “In the same way, cruise ships can be designed to manipulate the thresholds between private and public, interior and exterior, and sensory immersion and emersion, to keep people dynamically engaged.”
Designing spaces that promote well-being is also a highly effective way of encouraging people to forge personal connections with interiors onboard cruise ships and in land-based hospitality venues.
“Physical health hazards have always been a major consideration in every discipline that creates spaces for humans to occupy, which is why interior designers have always paid careful attention to creating comfortable spaces,” says Ogufere. “However, mental health and well-being is just as important as physical health. By making the mental health and comfort of the people who occupy our spaces a foremost consideration during the design process, we will be able to find new ways of conceptualising space and innovations to execute these concepts.”
This article was first published in the 2020 issue of Cruise & Ferry Interiors. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.
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