The Senses: Design Beyond Vision
This exhibition was on display from April 13, 2018 to October 28, 2018.
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Design activates our senses. Today, many designers are focusing attention on multisensory experiences, expanding beyond design’s traditional emphasis on visible form. Offering dozens of opportunities to encounter design through touching, smelling, listening, and interacting as well as looking, The Senses: Design Beyond Vision celebrates our varied ways of exploring the world and experiencing joy and wonder.
Sensory design is physical. Design touches us, and we touch back. A chair supports the body. A tool fits in the hand. Tableware changes our experience of food. Every material—wool or wood, paper or plastic—has its own sound, surface, weight, and smell.
Sensory design enhances experience. Designers are experimenting with new materials and technologies to harness the power of the senses and heighten design’s impact and reach. Smart materials respond to temperature and light. Digital interfaces communicate via sound and haptic feedback. Software translates sonic data into visual or tactile forms.
Sensory design is inclusive. By activating multiple senses, designers embrace users with different needs. Every person has unique sensory abilities, which change over the course of a lifetime. Tactile maps facilitate mobility and knowledge for blind and sighted users. Audio devices translate sound into vibrations felt on the skin. Tools for the kitchen and bathroom use color and form to guide people living with dementia or vision loss.
This exhibition explores extraordinary work by some of the world’s most creative thinkers, presenting experimental prototypes and practical solutions that extend the sensory richness of our world. We hope you will leave with a heightened understanding of how your different senses work together to shape the meaning of products, spaces, and media.