multisensory Archives | PDD multisensory Archives | PDD

As the digital world is quickly taking over all aspects of people’s lives, we have come to realise that a return to the basics is a well-needed breath of fresh air. It has recently been proven that we have now entered an era where seeing, touching, tasting, smelling and hearing are central elements in the consumer products’ landscape.

As humans, our only chance of making sense of life is by socially interacting with others using these primary senses. Sending and receiving information has made it possible for us to shape our perspective and form the reality, which has turned life into a never-ending cycle of sensory experiences that define our existence. But to what extent is that relevant when choosing beverages based on their colours?

The Silk Road of taste buds

In the past, the act of eating was solely associated with sustenance, whereas nowadays it is more inclined towards multi-sensory experiences that aim to heighten the effects of dining through the amplification of various senses.

‘Le Petit Chef’ is bringing new dining experiences to the Londoners’ menu by taking them on a journey along the Silk Road of Marseilles to Arabia, India and, eventually, China. The foods are accompanied by a personalised 3D animated performance of a miniature chef that prepares delicious meals, while whispering in French, as well as the sound of different birds, boats and fire-breathing dragons that fly over their platters.<img src="lepetitchef.png" alt="lepetitchef"> ‘Le Petit Chef’ dining experience in London

The cutting-edge six-course feast is carefully paired with wine along with soundtracks and scents aimed at immersing the guests in different lands across the Silk Road.

On the same note, people tend to quickly associate food’s colours with certain tastes, textures and smells, which consequently affect emotions. While red and yellow are known for their hunger-provoking attributes, shades of pink can alter the perceived level of sweetness. These premises also explain why adding colour to foods can easily be mistaken for adding sugar. The findings of a German research project pointed out that wine can be perceived as 50% sweeter if drunk under red light, rather than under white or blue lights.

A fine line between taste and fragrance choices

The thought-provoking journey of multi-sensory experiences was continued through the Flipside Exhibitions that took place in May 2018 at the Selfridges Old Hotel in London and invited guests to take a different look at the luxury fashion. While Google Pixel 2, Louis Vuitton and Loewe’s installations made it clear that the future of fashion is green, cocktail bartender Ryan Chetiyawardana, also known as Mr. Lyan offered customised drinks to the attendees based on the displays they were most attracted to. People wrote their preferences on small pieces of paper which were later handed in to the bartender to mix the ingredients.
<img src="mrlyancocktails.png" alt="cocktails"> Mr.Lyan cocktails at The Flipside Exhibition, Old Selfridges Hotel, London

Not only has this given people a valuable insight into their own personalities and taste preferences, but has also made them realise that the cocktails’ ingredients were very similar to the types of fragrances and skincare products they were already using.

Sounds of chocolate

The Choco-Phonica experiment launched by Space Doctors’ in collaboration with culinary creatives Bompas & Parr took place in 2015 at the inauguration of the British Food Museum in Borough Market and aimed to illustrate whether sounds have the power to influence the way we experience flavour.

The data gathered was set to help brands create more meaningful client relationships by understanding whether cultural meanings can impact sensory perception, appetite and the recalling of the chocolate experience. ‘The notion that perception and memory can be influenced by the sounds, which represent cultural associations, is an intriguing one’ said Cato Hunt, Director of Innovation of Space Doctors. It is common knowledge that senses play an imperative role in defining brand perception and ‘Choco-Phonica’ seeks to immerse inter-related fields, such as semiotics, cognitive science and anthropology to explore this hypothesis even further.

<img src="chocophonica.png" alt="chocophonica"> Choco-Phonica by the Space Doctors in collaboration with Bomoas & Parr

Exploring the senses used to be about novel experiences, but nowadays we are increasingly seeing multi-sensory design at the heart of innovative solutions across sectors, from healthcare to consumer, FMCG and even fashion. A compelling orchestration of sensory messages is only possible with the help of a talented conductor or, in this case, brands able to translate visions into the highest-quality realities at every touch point.

For more information on multi-sensory design take a look at our most recent articles below

I wish I hadn’t got up at 5:15 last Wednesday morning. Not that I’m complaining, but the multi-sensory experience I had signed up to attend later that day was a mind-altering event that was really worth being all there for…

Working in multidisciplinary teams isn’t new in the field of design and innovation. However, the bringing together of a creative team to explore the complete mind body sensation of colour is certainly news to my ears.

According to the website, The Waldorf Project: Chapter Two / Colour is “…an immersive experience…will unite the senses through food, scent, drink, movement, sound, and environment.” Except that it isn’t. In reality it is way more fun than that.

Conceived and directed by British artist Sean Rogg, this unique theatrical production is the result of over two years hard graft and imagination brought to life by a crew consisting of: a food designer, a choreographer, a production designer, a costume designer, a sommelier, and a sound designer.

Curious to find out what colour tastes like, I was excited to don an all-black outfit and make my way to The Oval Space in East London for a matinee preview of an event that promised all guests would experience what if feels like to eat, smell, hear and touch colour.

Upon arrival, I was a bit miffed to find that not all the guests had followed the monochrome only dress code. Tut. Still, never mind. After selecting a little coloured block (a choice between red, blue, orange and purple) we were escorted into the huge main space where we spent the next 3 hours moving through the various colour zones, having our senses overwhelmed, toyed and messed with –  in an altogether extraordinary but strangely wonderful way.

Designed to capture the look, sound, feel, taste and smell of its designated colour, each of the cube-shaped environments delivered a multi-sensory experience that was fuelled by a softly pulsating soundtrack that may (and I really am just guessing here) be described as ‘minimal’; choreographed dancers in white, architectural Issey Miyake inspired creations who silently ‘controlled’ the environment via their movements, gestures and eye contact, serving food consisting of a single cube, and fine wine in exquisite Waterford crystal tumblers.

While immersive food, drink, arty events aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, I would highly recommend The Waldorf Project Chapter Two / Colour to anyone who is interested in dining out. Like all good multi-sensory experiences, it certainly got me more than just thinking. And like all brilliant days out, you really had to be (all) there.

The Blue room aka The Fifth Element does Come Dine With Me

A dancer serving food cubes

Dessert(ish) food cubes see red

Feeling the blues