Designing with Our Five Senses: Taste

Our next sense as part of our ‘Five Senses Theme’ this week is Taste. And while you may not immediately associate taste with buildings materials, the influence of our sense of taste on our perception of design materials is more powerful than one might think.

Taste: According to researcher Charles Spence of Oxford University, the way we experience food is determined by a multi-sensory experience that includes not only taste, but also the feeling of food in our mouth and our visual perception of it. Even before we put food in our mouth, our brains have made a judgement that affects our overall experience. The taste of food can even vary greatly depending on the particular utensils with which we eat. Cheese or yogurt, for example, tastes saltier when it is eaten with a knife instead of a fork or spoon. Also, the colour and the weight of the cutlery will change the experience of food. Yoghurt tastes creamier when it is tasted with a white spoon. And the smaller the spoon, the sweeter the yogurt seems to taste.

A number of designers have appealed to sense of taste to create incredibly seductive materials. Matthias Borowski for example is inspired the textures and colours of food and uses this inspiration for a fresh take on materials. Wood cast in concrete appears like nougat and plastics ooze like jelly. Meanwhile, The Sugar Lab is prints elaborate geometries with sugar and the results are spectacular.

You can discover more about the role taste plays the world of design and materials at Material Xperience 2015. Register for free here.