Google looks at the mysterious ways design influences how you feel

[Image: Google Design Studio + Reddymade Architecture]

At the annual Milan Furniture Fair, Google is staging an experiment in neuroaesthetics–or the science of how beauty affects our brains.

Fast Company wrote an excellent piece on Google’s experiment…below is an excerpt. Click here for the full article.

The installation is called A Space for Being: Exploring Design’s Impact On Our Biology, and it digs into the topic of neuroaesthetics–basically, the study of how beauty affects your brain. It’s three rooms that will be set up in Spazio Maiocchi, built in conjunction with architect Suchi Reddy. They’re not exactly identical, but each room decorated with the same furniture line from Muuto, a Scandinavian company with an aesthetic that almost certainly helped inspire Google’s own brand of industrial design.

The actual Muuto furniture pieces are different in every room, as is everything else–color, scent, sound, and lighting. One room will have cool light, vibrant colors, and a percussive rhythms, while another will feature warm light, natural colors, succulents, and a scent described as “uplifting and familiar.”

Visitors to the installation will don a wearable band, which is packed with sensors to measure biometric data like heart rate, skin temperature, skin conductivity, and motion. They’ll be invited to spend five minutes inside each of these uniquely tailored rooms, during which the wearable will measure their biometric response to the subtle variations in design. “There are very different vibes, so to speak, amplified for differences. It’s all very subtle,” says Ross. “Of course people are going to walk into a room and say, ‘I really like this.’ But I hope the band might show their psychology was more comfortable in a different room.”

At the end of the experience, using an algorithm that was developed in conjunction with the Arts + Mind Lab at Johns Hopkins, visitors will receive a visual explanation of how their body reacted to the rooms–along with the insight as to which room made them the calmest.

Douglas Robb