Refine Statement

The Sensorium – Synaesthesia


Our five senses help us to discover the world around us and communicate with others. Our brains process what we see, hear, feel, taste and smell. Knowledge of place/product is thus built from the sensuous experiences of physical space and its contents through time. The accumulation of information from our surroundings is derived from a fusion of human senses; sight, sound, taste, smell and touch, brought together through the orientation and movement of the human body. When such sensuous encounters are repeated or become an everyday experience, they produce a local knowledge of a place/product. Because of this, further knowledge about the human senses make a brand/experience more successful and an individual sensory experience more personalized. How can we use the idea of “Synesthesia” as an art technique to diversify an “experience” and gain additional insights?

This project contrasts visual ways of marketing a type of sounds/music involving our senses and creating a new human experience. In particular it explores the role of senses in how consumers experienced knowledge through the twentieth century and considers how it affects their perception, choices and behavior.

Target Audience: Music enthusiasts who appreciate the finer details.
Age group: 20-30s

Objective: To design and market a unique musical “cross-sensory experience” through creating a concept pop-up store. The intention is to attract music enthusiasts to experience sounds/music in an unconventional manner (Synaesthesia). It also serves as a platform for them to sell their music by giving it a more exciting and personal touch to their product.

Background Study:

Synesthesia (also spelled synæsthesia or synaesthesia, plural synesthesiae or synaesthesiae) —from the Ancient Greek σύν (syn), meaning “with” and αἴσθησις (aisthēsis), meaning “sensation” —is a neurological condition in which otherwise normal people experience the blending of two or more senses. Of the five human senses, the sight sense has so far dominated the rest. The most common form of synaesthesia is the experience of colors linked to letters and number that they see, the sound of words or music. Like pure emotions, music surges and sighs, rampages or grows quiet, and, in that sense, it behaves so much like out emotions that it seems often to symbolize them, to mirror them and thus frees us from the elaborate nuisance and inaccuracy of words. Music has inspired some of the most progressive art of our time from the abstract painting of Wassily Kandinsky and Frantisck Kupka to the mid century experimental films of Oskar Fischinger and Harry Smith to contemporary installations by Jennifer Steinkamp and Jim Hodges

Thus, the core of this project revolves around visual music that can be translated into a unique and new experience through other human senses.

In visual music(hearing), is usually coloured in some way, appears in the field of vision of a synesthete as a response to some form of aural stimuli. Synesthetic photisms usually vary in shape and color according to the nature of the stimuli that triggered them.  Synesthetes never see complex dream-like scenes or have otherwise elaborated percepts. They perceive blobs, lines, spirals, lattices, and other geometric shapes. According to Dr Richard Cytowic he notes that generic and restricted nature of synesthetic bears a considerable likelness to a series of forms first developed by Heinrich Kluver in the 1920s known as Kluvers “form constants”. These generic shapes are common to synesthesia, hallucinations and are frequently seen in primitive art.” Based on his observation, Kluver group the form constants into four categories: the chessboard pattern, cobwebs, tunnels, and spirals.

Under the chessboard design, lines usually intersect, creating squares, triangles, and any crisscross patterns. Hexagons that form a honeycomb image are also classified under this category. Images of tunnels and spirals tend to be very similar, but the tunnels have a distinguished center, which can either contain light or just plain darkness. It is possible that a form constant does not fit into any categories, as the images can vary widely. Scientists have tried to explain the theory that when a person is hallucinating, the visual cortex, the part of the brain that processes images, experiences some interference, causing the images to become distorted, creating a form constant.


Generally, this project is about a concept shop retail experience that allows individual to acknowledge a unique experience that involves music in an unconventional manner. Hence, it will involve various forms of mediums ranging from video, collaterals and packaging to promote the brand. As music is the core of this experience, deeper research has to be done on music composition and also deconstructing music. These data collected will then be analyzed into parts, which seek to understand how a certain “notation” affects a medium, create an interesting visual and expanded further consistently.

Artist/Designer Input:

The focus of the design is base on a more visual and sensory experience. Base on our five senses in relation to music, it allows people to appreciate the finer details through experiencing the environment as well as the products. Due to a constrained space, it is not possible to design the entire store but to have a pop-up store to first introduce the experience and allow people to appreciate the moment. Lightings, colors and sounds play an important role in shaping this experience.


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