How do scent, sound, taste, sight, and touch influence our feelings of comfort or discomfort in public space? Can design improve happiness? The urban landscape produces feelings of anxiety, fear, pleasure, and excitement. Invited by writer Charles Montgomery, who is writing a book about happiness and cities, I recently moderated two workshops at the BMW Guggenheim Lab. As part of the lab’s theme “Confronting Comfort”, Colin Ellard, a research psychologist at the University of Waterloo had collected data on a variety of sites surrounding the lab, monitoring the state of excitement, mood and ability to concentrate of participants. Borrowing from Haus-Rucker-Co.’s Environment Transformers we spent one day intervening in this perception by building wearable objects to explore the way our five sense experience public space and a second day building site specific interventions to generate discussion about our perception of public space, what drives it and how can design responds to the five senses.
more images are here at the Lab’s flickr site.