Marcel Tjiang

Sensorism is a design method that focuses on sensorial experience in a product or service which create lasting memories, a way of therapy, teaching or to tells us a specific message. Our senses include: Vision and hearing tell us what’s at a distance. What’s on the body through touch, and what’s entering the body through smell and taste. There are also sense that tells us how and where the body is moving, through the senses that respond to movement, gravity and body position (Vestibular and preceptive senses).

Creates Lasting Memory.

Memory consist of intelligence memory and emotional memory. Meaningful experience mostly links with emotional memory. And sensory experience contributes to creating those emotional memories. When we hear heavy rain and thunder, reminds us when we’re a kid, jump, run in scare to hug our mom. Certain music reminds us of our loved ones when we hear that song together. A small towel reminds me the moment when I and my friends having a hot spring in the cold winter of Osaka. Our relationship with someone or an object increase as when we have a more emotional attachment to that object. If through design we can create a more sensorial experience, it creates a more emotional memory.

Field of occupational therapy

Sensory integration also used within the field of occupational therapy. Research shows that sensory-based therapy creates a positive effect on mentally-ill patients such as personality disorder, schizophrenia, autism, depression and anxiety disorder. As an example; aromatherapy provides comfort and improves patient sleep; Squishing toy and fidget toy can reduce stress, distracting patient and keep the patient busy; weighted warm blanket offers the sensation of physical holding and containment; Classical music gives relaxation. So, Sensorism can reduce restraints/seclusion of the clinical way of treatment.

Sensory stimulation makes us learn faster. Without interaction with the physical environment, learning is very difficult. Most of our learning must occur first through the integration of our sensory systems. Sensory-motor interaction provides the groundwork for later cognitive functions. Sensory stimulation can teach kid a specific skill and habit. Example; Toy that teach baby cause and effect trough touch, sound and colours, 3D Pin art provide strong visual stimulation, through the 3D representation.

Telling message

The sound of closing door car well-known example of the sensorial design approach. Mercedes communicate their quality of robustness through the heavier sound of their car doors. Of course, there are many aspects such as the engine, materials. But our first experience with the car in the showroom is opening and closing the car’s door. When we get into a furniture shop, we usually open and close the cabinet, knocking the surface. Because the motion with which it opens and the sound it makes gives you some idea of its quality. Even though the sound has no bearing on the quality. So, the sensory interaction of the product is important to tell us a message, especially the value of the product.


The process of testing and receiving feedback from the sensor is back and forth; it will be much experimentation until it achieves the result and the feeling that we want. Knowledge of materials is a key when it comes to product design. As Example, the smell of the steel glass is often forgotten, adding additional weight to a product makes it feel stronger. Sensorism push designer to take into account all sense experience of the material and the end product

Let’s be aware of how powerful our senses are and take it into account in every design process. Create a lasting memory, a way of therapy, help human to develop skills and tell the message of our product through sensorism.

The Cool Hunter

Hunter’s store in London

A Scotland-based historic icon that established in 1856, known for its dutiful supply of millions of trench boots for the British troops in both World War. The new store was open in 2014 as outdoor waterproof clothing. The store used digitally projected rain and cloud screen in the ceiling, a metal wall that gives the sense of rain. It brings the environment of wet and rain in the space, while Green leaves visual to create an agricultural theme. All aspect of senses involves creating a perfect environment for the product.


Snoezelen is therapy through multi-sensory environment/room for people with intellectual disabilities; such as autism, dementia or brain injury. It is designed to deliver stimuli to various sensors, using light, sound, colour, music, scent and soft chair.

Snoezelen available to any age, it is specially designed to enable the user to initiate changes in arousal through relaxation process, reducing emotional anxiety. It improves communication and functioning by increasing the person potential to engage with an object, people or activity of his own free will.

Ayres, A. (2005). Sensory integration and the child: Understanding hidden sensory challenges.

Ayres, A. (1972). Sensory integration and learning disorders. Los Angeles