Designing With Our Five Senses: Touch

In line with our theme of ‘The Five Senses’ at Material Xperience 2015, we will be breaking down the Five Senses by looking at different senses each day this week and discussing how a better consideration of all our senses will lead to a healthier, more beautiful built environment. Yesterday, we looked at the sense of Sight. Today, we are looking at Touch.

Touch: This sense is tied to our body’s largest organ: the skin. Here, hormones and neurotransmitters such as serotonin can create feelings of happiness and security. A soft and warm couch embraces you whereas the hardness of a stainless steel bench may leave you feeling cold. Marieke Sonneveld, connected with the Faculty of Industrial Design at Delft University of Technology, has investigated this sense and found that through touch, materials and products develop relationships with their users. Safe, comfortable, energetic, annoying and hostile are all feelings that can be projected onto materials as a result of how they are perceived by one’s sense of touch.

Works by designers such as ‘Touch‘ by Rene Siebum are increasingly exploring the question of how commercial production methods can extinguish our sensorial experiences as a result of mass production and usage. His Touch series for example consists of 365 different door handle designs, each evoking a completely different sensorial experience through varying uses different texture, structure and materiality.

Fascinated to know more? Dive deeper into the world of the Five Senses and materials and register for free to attend Material Xperience 2015.