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What is Experiential Interior Design and How is It Disrupting the Industry?
Experiential interior design employs experiential values, a new approach based on environmental psychology that emphasizes the experiential needs of humans, aiming to create more engaging experiences.
You’re probably familiar with the term “user experience,” something that’s frequently used to describe the relationship we have with a digital environment.
For example, if a website is designed in a way that makes it easy to purchase from an online store, we might say that it’s been a “good user experience.”
Experiential interior design is similar, only it refers to a space in the real world rather than a web page.
The smells we take in, the colors we see and perhaps the music we hear when stepping into a space can cause us to feel more welcome in a hotel or lead us to choose a particular restaurant to dine in.
Aspects like those are taken into account by experiential interior designers who consider the social, intellectual, emotional and sensory experiences in a space.
It helps to foster interaction between a user and their environment.
Experiential Interior Design Examples
One example in the retail sector is Amazon. You can shop on your laptop, through its mobile app and in physical stores that recreate real-world user experiences.
It affects cultural attractions too, like the One World Trade Center elevator ride in New York City that takes visitors rapidly up 102 floors to a rooftop observatory.
The elevator walls appear to be glass windows providing a view that includes the sounds of the city, bringing passengers from vacant swamp land through each phase of its 500-year-history, including the appearance and subsequent disappearance of the Twin Towers.
By the time the observatory is reached, riders have a good understanding of the city that lies below.
A less extreme example can be found in living room design, adding bold graphic modern art to curved walls of a modern building to provide the feeling of being in a high-end New York art studio, complete with faux brick wall covering that enhances the texture.
How Experiential Interior Design is Disrupting the Industry
Experiential interior design is becoming especially popular in retail spaces, allowing customers to experience big ticket items firsthand, such as appliances and furniture.
Some brands have already taken product showrooms and transformed them into fully-fledged experience centers.
Kohler’s massive Experience Centers in L.A. and New York allow customers to interact with sinks, toilets, tubs and showers – they can even try out features by scheduling a “shower experience.”
One of the biggest benefits has been allowing customers to engage directly, resulting in a much quicker decision process.
Instead of taking months, decisions can frequently be completed in just a day, benefiting consumers and retailers.
The free flow of real-time information is expected to reshape the way customers and sales associates interact, impacting nearly every aspect of how a store operates.
Experiential interior design is affecting many other industries, including hospitality, placing guests at the center of the design experience by incorporating design elements that provide and effortless and impactful experience to each different guest.
For example, they might be greeted with the soothing aroma of lavender to mimic a homey feel.
It helps to bring to life the message of the brand, allowing guests to live that message as their reality for a more positive stay.