May 15, 2019 /Consumer


The desire for a clear and healthy mind is pushing design innovation towards creating physical worlds that activate mental presence by triggering and reacting to real-time emotions.

As consumers are seeking disconnection from the online world, brands can stimulate physical engagement by designing spaces that foster emotional exploration.

During Milan Design Week 2019, Samsung created the ‘Resonance’ that offered visitors an interactive and immersive experience. By using everyday behaviours like breathing and speaking, visitors could provoke the reactive installations and transform the exhibition into personalised artwork. From soft colours that targeted inner sentimentalities, to lighting that made patterns through voice recognition, it connected humans to the brand in a completely tangible way.

Neuroaesthetics finds that impactful visuals stimulate the human brain and physiology. From lighting and scent to texture and sound, brands should be thriving in the positive impacts that design can have on its consumers’ mental wellbeing.

This knowledge of human psychology can be used to manipulate preferred responses in physical spaces.

The Contemplation Spaces, designed by Justine Kontou, explore the potential sensorial stimulations of different elements like sound, scent, and tactile objects. With the main aim of disconnection from the outside world, it was created around scientific research on stress-reducing effects and has become the ultimate mind-state changing experience.

Simply adding elements in store that require further investigation will trigger curiosity in visitors, as well as providing a moment of pause; something people crave away from their fast-paced lifestyles.

Innovative brands are using special-effect patterns to construct captivating and enlivening spaces in pursuit of sparking an interactive human response. Illusions of movement and layered surfaces that create depth in small spaces are both ways to attention-grab and offer extraordinary design.

Chinese company Bentu created light-reactive furniture that shifts in appearance with changes in sunlight, bringing a life-like quality to the object and reflecting the experience of being outdoors; a calming moment brought to consumers in busy public spaces.

Key Insights

  • Brands must consider how they can make a physical space just as dynamic as digital, encouraging consumers to be present.
  • Spaces should consider both the consumer’s physical and psychological needs in line with brands doing more to positively impact its consumer mental wellbeing.
  • Successfully using design to target consumers mental state will drive authentic responses and create emotional value, fostering long-term brand loyalty and engagement.

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