Cristina Gómez Prada

Exploring design and senses at Fjord Madrid Kitchen

When it comes to Kitchens, we at Fjord Madrid like to do them slightly differently. Usually they would involve a sit-down dinner, but we like to invite a lot of people and gather them around for tapas – that’s the Spanish style!

Fjord Kitchen Senses from Fjord on Vimeo.

The theme of our recent Kitchen was inspired by the work we’ve been doing on the Light.Touch.Matters project over the past four years. Light.Touch.Matters is an EU-funded project that aims to design products with a new smart material that reacts to touch.

To create the sensorial experience, we tapped into the knowledge of the 40 members of the consortium here in Madrid, product designers, European universities and material scientists, to look at how can technology hack your senses.

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Hosting a mix of clients, both prospective and current, potential Fjordians, journalists and many more, we were delighted to offer three excellent speakers to add flavour to the evening.

Alastair Somerville, sensory design consultant from Acuity Design, spoke about designing for diversity with senses and emotions. He shared his thoughts on how the transformation of humans through new technologies offers many possibilities to experiencing more as humans: in senses, in emotions, in social connections. Alastair also offered some practical frameworks on how to integrate new practice into existing work patterns and identifying where stress points occur in the design flow.

Next up was Daniel Ospina, of Crossmodalism, a movement born from the synthesis of art, science and entrepreneurship. A former chef, Daniel’s past experience has been in designing menus for the International Space Station. Daniel spoke on the topic of multisensory design and narrative theory. Our brains are constantly processing a vast amount of data from our senses without us being conscious of it; Daniel discussed how recent advancements in psychology and neuroscience can help us design experiences and products that take full advantage of our senses, and the role of storytelling and emotions in the design process.

Finally, we were joined by Greg Carley, director of product strategy at Chaotic Moon – which are merging into Fjord this autumn. Greg touched upon the subject of human UI, the next era of interaction design. He said we need to start thinking beyond the screen, and think about Human UI, where our movements, voice, and event thoughts can cause systems to respond to us through our environment. He noted that smart devices can play a role, but invisible and screen-less interfaces are critical for creating the best experiences in the future.

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The talks certainly gave those present food for thought, but there is of course no kitchen without actual food! Continuing our exploration around the senses, we served up a selection set in a mirrored environment to tap into optical illusions. We gave people headphones so that they could enjoy a moment with macaroons, focusing on the noise they make as you bite into the crunchy, then soft, delight. To finish, tapas were served. These tantalised people’s taste buds, offering sweet, sour, bitter and salty savours – a complete flavour explosion.

We had a great evening exploring senses and design. Hope to see you again!

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Cristina Gómez Prada

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