A Space For Being / Google
Submitted By Suchi Reddy
At the 2019 Salone del Mobile Milano, Google presented A Space For Being - an interactive multi-room installation that explored the emerging field of neuroaesthetics and how distinctly different aesthetic experiences have the potential to impact our biology and well-being. The exhibit was curated by Google Design Studio in collaboration with Muuto, Reddymade Architecture and the International Arts + Minds Lab at Johns Hopkins University.
Informed by neuroaesthetics, an interdisciplinary field of study that strives to understand how the mind and body respond to a vast array of aesthetic experiences, A Space For Being was both an interactive and immersive experiment offering a multi-sensory elements to explore how people react to different stimuli. Three unique spaces were created - each with different designs, colors, textures, scents and sounds - using neuroaesthetic principles. As guests entered the exhibit they were given a specially-made wristband, which was developed to measure physiological responses. At the end of the experience, each guest received a customized readout suggesting which space they felt "most comfortable" or "at ease" in. In demonstrating how environments impact our biology, neuroaesthetics amplifies the importance of thoughtful design, reinforcing the notion that the elements in which we surround ourselves have the potential to affect our well-being, allowing people to harness their ability to elevate one’s sense of serenity.
In creating each space, though we consistently used a living room + dining room layout, no one space was intended to be more "comfortable" that the others. Every design detail was carefully considered, even sound and scent, as informed by neuroaesthetic principles to ensure we were delivering on three different vibes.
Physiological Response vs. Preference - we recognized early on that it would be important to educate guests on exactly what we were measuring - their bodies' physiological responses, but not their conscious "preferences." In some instances, the room a person "preferred" may have been where they were most "at ease," but not always. This proved a fascinating aspect that added to a guest's delight at the moment they received their customized readout to learn which space appeared to put their body most "at ease."
Each person's data was only used for and viewed by them, and instantly deleted as they departed the venue.
A Space For Being
Google Design Studio
The International Arts + Mind Lab at Johns Hopkins University