September 21, 2009 by


I feel that one of the most relaxing and soothing sensations is the feeling of the body resting on water. With small waves crashing slowly around you and the feeling of sun on your face as you completely let the water support you, your mind is able to wander and stress begins to leave your body. However, the actual act of finding a pool or something similar to lounge in, let alone the time it takes to get back to normal life after being wet, is usually too inconvenient for people to do on a daily basis. Thus, I propose a somewhat mesh of a waterbed and a lounge chair that sinks into a grassy hill or backyard, or could even sit up on its own like a blow up chair wherever one may have the room, to help simulate the feeling of laying on waves and letting yourself go.


This lounger would allow you to lie down and both see and feel the water underneath you without having to actually get into or have access to a pool. Ideally, the chair could be inflated with water whenever you needed it and sunk into a carved out pit in the ground or just set on a flat surface.


Depending on where you locate your water-lounger, you could create different experiences that lean more towards nature or a private bathing experience. If set outside within the grass or on a hill, the chair would provide a very natural experience as if laying in a lake or in the ocean with grass, sand, or gravel around you and the sun beaming down on your face. With the 3-D aspect of the chair, the sun would also become absorbed into the water and create a self-heater within the chair. This could also bounce back up onto you and help you get a more even tan if laying out for vanity purposes. If the water-lounger was set up inside or in a more shaded area, the experience would be more spa-like where there is a more intimate atmosphere. With certain sounds both inside and outside, the experience could be enhanced even more and make you feel like you are really immersed in water and relaxed completely.


The water-lounger would allow someone to feel as if they are relaxing in a pool of water with the smooth movements and slight rush of small waves beneath them as they become completely supported by the inflatable chair. Depending on the location of the product, two very different experiences – one vacation and beach-like, the other more intimate as if in a spa – could be explored and enjoyed.


Sound Switch

September 21, 2009 by


What would happen to your sense of perception if your sense of hearing were reversed? I would be very interested to experiment with people’s reactions to hearing a sound in the ear opposite from where the sound originated. So often when we learn about the sense of hearing, we focus on the tone, pitch, rhythm, volume, and complexity of sound. Rarely do we explore the sense of distance we perceive ourselves to be from an object based on how close or far away we hear a sound. Sometimes before you experience something near you through sight, you hear it approaching you and turn your head to see it. How would your other senses try to compensate when your sense of hearing no longer helps you perceive your surroundings correctly? I think we take it for granted that our depth perception through sight is strongly augmented through our perception of sound. Sometimes you don’t look both ways before crossing the street if you don’t HEAR any cars coming. When you have no idea where your cell phone is hiding, you move around the room until you HEAR you are close to it ringing. Would you tune-in more closely to this phenomenon if you had to stop and think about what you heard?

I imagine this product to fit snuggly in both ears, much like ear-bud headphones, in hopes to prevent any outside noise from entering the ears. Each cone-like form would point toward the opposite direction from the ear it serves. These cones would basically channel sounds coming from a person’s left into their right ear, and vice-versa. Now I know this would not necessarily be a delightful, sensory-enhancing experience. This would be more of a curious exploration for someone interested in mixing up their usual reality. If you wore them long enough, would you start to train yourself to look the opposite direction of where you heard a sound? Or would your instant reaction still be the instinctual response? I am one of those people who always gets tricked when someone taps me on the opposite shoulder to make me turn the wrong way. Therefore, I believe I would have a terrible time adjusting to my sensory perception with this device. Though I would find this sound instrument highly frustrating, I think it could help me realize my reliance of my sense of hearing and appreciate the combination of sight and sound for understanding of my surrounding environment.

Sensory Experience-nature pillows

September 21, 2009 by

I find myself to be extremely sensitive to sounds. Normal day-to-day noises which most people tend to tune out, I find rather bothersome and I can’t help but focus my attention on them. Ticks, pings, coughs, sniffs, taps, clicks, etc; they all disturb my precious silence. I sleep with earplugs and or a sound machine to block out random unnecessary noises from disturbing my sleep. The sound I enjoy the most is rain; I absolutely love falling asleep to this sound. The real thing is obviously much preferred over my sound machine, but considering Texas weather, it’s quite the rarity. It does baffle me why some noises bother me so much more than others; I can fall asleep with the television on which many others cannot, but the sound of crickets outside my window drives me insane while others adore it. The funny thing is, even my sound machine has started to become an issue. As I lay in bed listening to the rain, I find myself tuning in so closely that I can point out the patterns; I know exactly when the track repeats itself. Also, depending on what position I am in, my hearing can be somewhat obscured.

I chose to create a product that not only comforts me with sound, but with touch as well. Instead of having a sound machine beside my bed, how about having tiny, thin speakers within a pillow? Two comforts are much better than one. I can fall asleep with my head softly against the sounds of a babbling brook, for example. Unlike the pillow speakers currently on the market, there wouldn’t be external hookups, everything would be internal. To escape the problem of the repeating tracks, the recording should be long enough so that repetition cannot be distinguished. In addition, the electronics inside shall be waterproof so it can be used in the tub as well. I’ve always wanted a terry cloth pillow for when I take bubble baths; resting my neck and head against a porcelain tub is not comfortable at all. I chose terry cloth because of its versatility; it works well either wet or dry. Being submerged in water while listening to the sounds of a stream mate to create an incredibly relaxing experience. Our senses have a way of transporting us somewhere other than reality, and with this pillow I can escape from my annoying apartment noises and frat boys across the street, to nature. Sound regulates our emotions and soundscaping with natural sounds clams us quickly.

Sensory Experience

September 20, 2009 by

For as long as I have been in college, I have lived in apartments around the campus, and I have noticed a common feature of these college apartments–they all have white walls.  This is understandable; students move in and out all the time, and apartment managements wants to save money cleaning up each apartment in between rentals.  The solution is white paint.  It is easy to repaint and cheap.  However, it is the occupants that live in a “white wall environment” for one year, not the apartment management.  Surely, occupants can paint the walls themselves, but at the end of the rental period, they need to repaint the walls to white, or pay a fee of $25 per wall.  College students like ourselves often don’t have the time or money to create a better living environment.

In addition, we have different emotional responses when in rooms with different colors. We feel more passionate and aroused when in warm color rooms and more calm and soothed when in cool color rooms. This shows the importance of interior color. For instance, if we are studying, we may want to calm down and concentrate. At this time, we would want to be in a room with blue or green walls. When we are having a dinner party, we want the atmosphere to be inviting and cheerful. At this time, we may want a room with red walls. This is, unfortunately, hard to achieve, since we cannot change the color of walls in the blink of an eye. However, my product presents a solution.

I designed a wall light with color-changing light bulbs. The shape of the fixture is long and linear, and it is deigned to cover the width of an entire wall. With switches, the color of the light can be changed easily. The light will reflect onto the wall, making the wall a certain color. This will save painting the wall, but the occupants would still be able to enjoy a “non-white” interior environment. They can also adjust the colors according to their mood, the occasion, or even the seasons. For example, in winter, the occupants can switch the light to a warm color, leading to a warmer indoor feeling. In summer, the occupants can switch it to a cool color to escape from the heat.

With this wall light, college students can finally have a better study and living environment without the hassle of painting walls or the expense of move-out fees.

Sensory Experience: Wall Color

September 19, 2009 by


We change a lot of things about our lives: we wear clothing in different colors and styles every day, women wear different jewelry, different shades of makeup, and we choose to accessorize ourselves with different shoes, depending on our moods or what purpose we need them to serve. As humans in a consumer society, we exercise our “tastes” through the accessorizing of our immediate physical environment (usually our own bodies). Even for a larger purchase, such as a piece of furniture, a car, or an appliance, we may not change these items out as much, but when we do, we have the option to change the material, the color, the type, etc.

In Place Advantage, Sally Augustin writes about the effects of our immediate environments on our moods and on our perceptions of the environment itself. In particular, she talks about the effects of light vs. dark colors of walls and ceilings, patterns, and textures, and how these changes can make us feel more or less enclosed, more or less balanced, or more or less invigorated. I started to think about a product I would invent that would involve the sensory perceptions of people occupying a space, and I realized there is a connection between our desire to change things and to accessorize and the effects these changes could have on us.

My invention is a special paint for your interior walls and ceilings that is changeable. I’m not sure about the exact science behind how it would work, but I was imagining that you would paint the wall in a sort of iridescent neutral paint, and then you could have a small machine with a light that, when shone on the surface of the paint, would change the color or pattern to whatever you had selected. And, similarly to the “scent stories” by Glade, you might be able to buy CDs that would increase your “library” of options.

This invention would give people a sense of freedom by allowing them to accessorize their homes in a new way. Maybe during the holidays, one would want their family space to feel inviting and warm, even more enclosed in the cold weather. A way to accomplish this might be to select a dark, earthy, saturated color. Conversely, I can imagine someone throwing a bridal shower, and choosing a fun black and white, feminine pattern to “accessorize the room.” The colors could be used for as short or long a period as desired. For example, if you were decorating a nursery for a baby boy, you might choose a shade of blue, which could easily be changed out a few years down the road if you needed to paint the room pink, or if it was going to become a guest room or an office.

Often when you paint a wall a new color, you’re almost always surprised at the extreme difference it makes for the room. This observation seems to validate the idea that color has a profound effect on people’s moods and perceptions of rooms. I think, in general, many people would be interested in a product giving them the ability to quickly change a room without the huge hassle of painting or wallpapering.

Opryland Hotel- Interior Atriums

September 19, 2009 by

My upcoming thesis will be the adaptive reuse of a big box building into a public school that will embody sustainable elements in order to foster and strengthen the children’s learning. In doing so, I will have the sustainable attributes and systems exposed, colored, and tangible for the children. Numerous studies show that evolving the senses help people to learn and retain knowledge. With these principals in mind I decided to choose the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, TX as a space that I would like to emulate for my thesis because it embodies all the senses while being in a completely enclosed by a man made structure.

A stroll through the halls of the Gaylord Opryland Hotel is like no other that I have experienced. You enter the hotel through a typical lobby that is lit by artificial light and has low ceilings. At first this is nothing impressive, but just a typical hotel. As you walk through the lobby and open up the glass doors at the other end, the compressed and stale space gives way to a immense and naturally lit space that is filled with sounds of falling water, people talking, and the smells of food and plants wafting by. Inside this hotel there are a series of large garden atrium spaces that are public places for the guests to eat, relax, converse, and play. Each atrium is themed along with the experience. One space may have a dense landscaped space filled with lush green plants and a babbling brook, while another has an immense water fall with a dazzling light display at the base. The Delta space has an artificial water canal, which holds live fish, that you can take a boat ride through admiring the artificial landscape and the architecture of the hotel.

This place is a feast for the senses by combining the inside with the outside. The sound of people walking, water moving, leaves rustling, and lively conversation at the restraints within the garden spaces is music to the ears. The sight of the diverse collection of plants, colorful flowers, natural elements such as rocks and dirt, and architecture of the protruding guest room balconies are invigorating to the eyes. The occasional sweet fragrance from the blooming flowers, the tucked away pastry shop, chocolate shop, cafés, and restaurants throughout the space emit subtle smells that will enhance the experience if not make you hungry.  The many used of textures in both visual and tangible surfaces are well thought out and are adequately placed and changed in order to give each space a particular appeal. The Opryland Hotel does such a good job at creating an experience that many locals visit the hotel just to stroll through and take it all in. I intend to add a small portion of this type of manmade nature space into my upcoming thesis tucked around the public spaces to provide a distinct change from the typical learning environments.

04: Sensory Experience

September 18, 2009 by

“The many sensory inputs we experience when we’re in a space influence our psychological response to it. Each of those sights, smells, sounds, and tactile sensations is an opportunity to create a space in which people thrive.” – Sally Augustine

This exercise will allow you to put your sensory knowledge to the test. Use your imagination to develop either a new product to be used in a space or an actual inhabitable space that appeals to your senses. This would be a great opportunity to contemplate your studio project (if you are in taking a design studio this semester) and add another dimension to one aspect of your project. It can be realistic or a fantasy – you decide.

03: Spatial Forensics

September 18, 2009 by

In the first part of this assignment you exercised two forms of environmental cognition. You performed both spatial cognition (thinking of a space and how the various elements of that space relate to one another) and non-spatial cognition (the remembrance of places and how we feel about them). This activity involved your memory of a space which may be different than the reality of the space.

You are not a camera! It is a fact that we do not process information about environments the way cameras do. So, for the second part of this assignment, turn the “thinking” part of your brain off and focus on the facts. Just as a forensic scientist might survey a crime scene, go to the space you selected and document the space in as much detail as possible (analyzing size, shape, layout, furnishings, color, finishes, light type/level, behaviors/activities present, sound levels, temperature, etc.).

Living Room

September 15, 2009 by

I exercised environmental cognition on my living room. My spatial and non-spatial memories of my living room were fairly accurate to the reality of the space. Initially, I commented that I enjoy the space because I decorated it in its entirety; everything was picked out by me. When in the space, I feel calm and relaxed. My roommate and I spend most of our time in this space; it’s the social room of the house. I’m also proud of the space because it’s beginning to look more sophisticated and less college-like. Also, obviously, because it is within my home, I behave just as I want to; I’m free to be myself.

From my memory of the living room, I documented that the room was average size with a good rectangular shape and typical height and width; nothing specific. There are exposed cinder block walls, ceiling beams and stained concrete floors. The walls are a pale avocado with one plum accent wall. My original artwork is showcased on the walls. The furniture is a mixture of browns, whites and neutrals with a few burgundy accents. Natural light comes in from the window, track lighting on the ceiling, and soft lighting from a table lamp behind the couch.

After returning to my living room and documenting the space in greater detail, I determined the approximate size; 14’4”x9’10”. The measurement of the light level is 15 foot-candles. This equates to approximately 150 lux, which is considered private and intimate. Also, the type of lighting used in the space in indirect; it is bounced off of other surfaces and illuminates the perimeter of the room, which in turn creates the illusion that the room is larger than it really is. The sound in the living room comes from the television, which is much louder than normal to overpower the noisy fan of the air conditioning, as well as the occasional noises from the sink, washing machine and dishwasher in the adjoining kitchen. Conversational sound is also present in the living room. The temperature of the space is at 75 degrees. The layout of the furnishings is very appropriate for the function of the living room. Seating is arranged in a somewhat circular manner to include multiple people in conversation as well as for easy maneuvering. The formation also creates a sense of openness.

My memory of the space compares almost exactly to the characteristics of the actual space. Since I was the one to decorate the space, I can recall it’s details and layout easily. The only really notable difference was that I was not aware of the actual size of the room; my initial perspective pictured a larger space than there actual is. Overall, my factual documentation supports my memory of my living room.

Spatial Cognition

September 15, 2009 by

Spatial cognition is, “thinking of a space and how the various elements of that space relate to one another.” In a study of my living room I used spatial cognition to sketch a perspective view of the space. My spatial cognition came into play when I began to measure and draw up a plan for the placement of the objects within the space. Non-spatial cognition is, “the remembrance of places and how we feel about them.” When analyzing my emotional and cognitive responses to sensory information such as color, form and line, visual quality, and light, I used non-spatial cognition as a guide. It is this sensory information that helped me better understand the factors that affect my responses to my living room.

Initially, when we received this assignment I knew my forensic explorations would be very similar if not exact to my imagined space due to my over observant mind. My perspective sketch included my TV cable box, my crookedly placed speakers, and even my cat sleeping in her favorite spot on the love seat. In addition to that I even included the crack in the window near the love seat where the blistering heat seeps in raising my AC bill.  My observing skills go beyond the interior. They apply to street, which comes in handy with directions. Even when I loose things I have a photographic memory of my drawers and shelves. Now only if I had a photographic memory when it came to studying.

I would like to think it was my design skills that help me remember such vivid details. However, I believe it is quite the opposite. I believe it is because of my gift to imagine a space exactly as it is, whether it is real or part of a project, is a large reason why I am so interested in interior design.  The only discrepancy I found was when I was sketching the floor plan to scale. Inserting the furniture to size, I realized where I thought the placement was, was not correct. For example I thought that my media cabinet was in the middle of the windows on the west wall, but the windows are more south of the middle of the wall, and the cabinet is centered in the entire wall. Overall my factual documentation supports my memory of the space.

Lastly, I used Augustin’s descriptions of sensory information in a space to determine my emotional and cognitive responses.  The main colors in my space are beige walls, honey wood floors, and chocolate brown slipcovers. Accent colors are found in a distressed, turquoise hallway table, various blue hue photographs, and a fabric covered plywood cut with organic circles of teals, turquoise, pea green and army green. Last, the white rug has an accent lime green organic stripe running through it like a river. According to Augustin, my colors are relaxing and comfortable. They have similar saturation. The patterns in my living room are a mixture of hard lines and curved lines, what I believe to be the perfect balance of masculine and feminine. For example the art above my couch is a square piece of plywood wrapped in textured fabric with organic circles similar to those that occur in nature. One could say it can spur creativity or high-mental activity.

Reading Augustin’s information on color and perception I found that my chocolate covered sofas make my room look smaller because they look bigger put against my light colored beige walls. The application of this statement rang true in my forensic study. On paper my living room looks much bigger than it feels in real life. The walls in my living room are wood panels painted light matte beige. This fact incorporates texture and line in one. The repetition of the vertical lines gives a sense of order and stability. The panels may also be considered a pattern, which creates a rhythm. Over all the space has an asymmetrical balance due to the circulation from front door to dining room. Finally, I studied the light in my living room. The main light source is an overhead fan with three incandescent bulbs. One of the bulbs is blown out, thus it is a bit lower than normal, but it measured at 1076 lux, which Augustin deems to be on the brighter side. However, the one light source does not reach the walls very well so I have a table lamp on my hallway table and a floor lamp in the opposing corner. The table lamp measures 3200 lux (it is the only light source with a fluorescent bulb). The floor lamp measures 2000 lux. All together with every light source turned on they measure about 1900 lux. But on a more personal note, I loathe artificial light because it always seems yellow. I love natural light to the point where I won’t turn on the lights until I am unable to see it’s so dark outside!