The Light of City: Freedom by Thai Hoa Pham














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Comment by Margaret Hsing 9 hours ago

Intriguingly, subjective restoration was significantly higher amongst those who thought that they were listening to the nature sounds than in those who thought that they were listening to industrial noise instead. As might have been expected, the results of the control group, fell somewhere in between.

Paley Park in New York has often been put forward as a particularly elegant solution to the problem of negating unwanted traffic noise in the context of urban design (e.g., Carroll, 1967; Prochnik, 2009). In 1967, the empty lot resulting from the demolition of the Stork Club on 53rd Street was transformed into a small public park (a so called pocket park). The space was developed by Zion and Breen.

In this case, the acoustic space, think only of the sounds, or better said noise, of the city, is effectively masked by the presence of a waterfall at the far end of the lot (see Fig. 5). What is more, the free-standing chairs allow the visitor to move closer to the waterfall should they feel the need to drown out a little more of the urban noise.

The greenery growing thickly along the side walls also likely helps to absorb the noise of the city. Music plays an important role in our experience of the built environment- think here only of the Muzak of de cades gone by (Lanza, 2004). This is as true of the guest’s hotel experience (e.g., when entering the lobby) as it is elsewhere (e.g., in a shopping centre or bar, say).5

The sound that greets customers in the lobby is apparently very important to Ian Schrager, the Brooklyn-born entrepreneur who created fabled nightclub Studio 54 in New York. In recent years, he has been working with Marriott to launch The EDITION hotels in a number of major cities, including London and New York. Music plays a key role in the Schrager experience.

As the entrepreneur puts it: “The sound of a hotel lobby is often dictated by monotonous, vapid lounge muzak– a zombie-like drone of new jazz and polite house, with the sole purpose of whiling away the waiting time between check-in and check-out.” As might have been expected, the music in the lobbies of The EDITION hotels is carefully curated (Eriksen, 2014, p. 27).

However, the thumping noise of the music from the nightclub/bar that is often also an integral part of the experience offered by these hip venues means that meticulous architectural design is also required in order to limit the spread of unwanted noise through the rest of the building (e.g., so as not to disturb the sleep of those who may be resting in the rooms upstairs). Note here that there are also some increasingly sophisticated solutions- including sound-absorbing panels, as well as active noise cancellation systems- to dampen unwanted sound in open spaces such as restaurants and offices (Clynes, 2012).

5Here, one might also consider the Abercrombie & Fitch clothing brand. For a number of years, the chain also managed to craft a distinctive dance sound to match the dark nightclub-like appearance of their interiors.

Comment by Margaret Hsing on Tuesday

Designing for “the eyes of the skin”

The tactile element of architecture is often ignored. In fact, very often, the first point of physical contact with a building typically occurs when we enter or leave. Or, as Pallasmaa (1994, p. 33) once evocatively put it: “The door handle is the handshake of the building”.

However, once inside a building, it is worth remembering that we will also typically make contact with flooring (Tonetto, Klanovicz, & Spence, 2014), hand rails (Spence, 2020d), elevator buttons, furniture, and the like (though this is, of course, likely to change somewhat in the era of pan demia). As Richard Sennett, author of Flesh and Stone, laments in his critical take on the sensory order of mod ernity: “sensory deprivation which seems to curse most modern buildings; the dullness, the monotony, and the tactile sterility which afflicts the urban environment” (Sennett, 1994, p. 15).

The absence of tactile interest is also something that Witold Rybczynski author of The Look of Architecture acknowledges when writing that: “Although architecture is often defined in terms of abstractions such as space, light and volume, build ings are above all physical artifacts. The experience of architecture is palpable: the grain of wood, the veined surface of marble, the cold precision of steel, the tex tured pattern of brick.” (Rybczynski, 2001, p. 89).

No tice here how Rybczynski mentions both texture and temperature, two of the key attributes of tactile sensa tion(see also Henderson, 1939). Temperature change, and change in the flooring material (tatami matting or cedarwood), is also something that the Tom mu seum for the blind in Tokyo also plays with deliber ately (Classen, 1998, p. 150; Vorreiter, 1989;Wagner, 1989). There is also a braille poen on the knob of the exit door too.

The careful use of material can evoke tactility as the viewer (or occupant) imagines or mentally simulates what it would feel like to reach out and touch or caress an intriguing surface (Sigsworth, 2019; see also Lupton, 2002). Juhani Pallasmaa, who has perhaps written more than anyone else on the theme of the tactile, or haptic in architecture, writes that “Natural materials- stone, brick and wood- allow the gaze to penetrate their sur faces and they enable us to become convinced of the veracity of matter …

But the materials of today- sheets of glass, enamelled metal and synthetic materials present their unyielding surfaces to the eye without conveying anything of their material essence or age.” (Pallasmaa, 1994,p.29). Lisa Heschong, architect, and partner of architectural research firm Heschong Mahone Group, has written ex tensively on the theme of thermal (as opposed to tex tural) aspects of architectural design in her book Thermal Delight in Architecture (Heschong, 1979).

Comment by Margaret Hsing on February 25, 2024 at 5:57pm

There, she points to examples such as the hearth, the sauna, and Roman and Japanese baths as archetypes of thermal delight about which rituals have developed, the shared experience reinforcing social bonds of affection and ceremony (see also Lupton, 2002; Papale et al., 2016). At this point, one might also want to mention the much-admired Therme Vals Spa by Peter Zumthor, in Switzerland with their use of different temperatures of both water and touchable surfaces (Ryan, 1997, though see also Mairs, 2017).

The tactile element is, in other words, fundamental to the total (multisensory) experi ence of architectural design. This is true no matter whether the materiality is touched directly or not (i.e., merely seen, inferred, or imagined). So, for example, here one might only think about how looking at a cheap fake marble or wood veneer can make one feel, to realize that touch in often not required to assess material qual ity, or the lack thereof (see also Karana, 2010).

An architecture of the chemical senses Talking of an architecture of scent, or of taste (these two of the so-called chemical senses), might seem like a step too far. That said, one does come across titles such as Eating Architecture (Horwitz & Singley, 2004) and An Architecture of Smell (McCarthy, 1996; see also Barbara & Perliss, 2006).6 Unfortunately, however, all too often, consideration of the olfactory in architectural design practice has focused on the elimination of negative odours. When thinking about the mundane experience of odours in buildings, what immediately comes to mind includes the smell of wood (i.e., building materials), dust, mould, cleaning products, and flowers.

As Eberhard (2007, p. 47) puts it: “We all have our favorite smells in a building, as well as ones that are considered noxious. A cedar closet in the bedroom is an easy example of a good smell. The terrible smell of a house that was rav aged by fire or floods is seared in the memory of those who have endured one of these disasters.”

This is perhaps no coincidence, given that it tends to be the bad odours, rather than the neutral or positive ones, that have generally proved most effective in immersing us in an experience (Baus & Bouchard, 2017; see also Aggle ton & Waskett, 1999).

Research by Schifferstein, Talke, and Oudshoorn (2011) investigated whether the nightlife experience could be enhanced by the use of pleasant fra grance to mask the stale odour after the indoor smoking ban was introduced a few years ago.

Once again, notice how the focus here is on the elimination of the negative stale odours rather than necessarily the introduction of the positive (the latter merely being introduced in order to mask the former). Jim Drohnik captures the idea of olfactory absence when talking about not just the “white cube” mentality but the “anosmic cube” (Drobnick, 2005). The former phrase was famously coined by O’Doherty (1999, 2009) in order to describe the then-popular practice of display ing art in gallery spaces that were devoid of colour or any other form of visual distraction. 7

Comment by Margaret Hsing on February 24, 2024 at 8:59pm

Some years later, Jim Drobnik introduced the latter phrase in order to highlight the fact that too many spaces are seemingly deliberately designed to have no smell, nor to leave any lasting olfactory trace, either.8

6. Writer Tanizaki (2001), in his essay on aesthetics In Praise of Shadows, also draws attention to the close interplay that exists, or better said, once existed, between architectural design and food/ plateware design in traditional Japanese culture.

7. Intriguingly, Kirshenblatt-Gimblett (1991, p. 416) describes the white cube as an apparatus for “single-sense epiphanies”.

8. This despite Baudelaire’s line that the smell of a room is “the soul of the apartment” (quoted in Corbin, 1986, p. 169)

And thinking back to my memories of visiting my own grandfather, long since deceased, on his fairground wagon in Bradford, it was undoubtedly the intense smell of “derv” (English slang for diesel-engine road vehicle), the liquid diesel oil that was used for trucks at the time, that I can still remember better than anything else. The residents of buildings tend to adapt to the positive and neutral smells in the buildings we inhabit.

This is evidenced by the fact that we are typically only aware of the smell of our own home, what some call building odour, or BO for short, when we return after a long trip away (Dalton & Wysocki, 1996; McCooey, 2008). Sick building syndrome and the problem of poor olfactory design Improving indoor air quality might well also provide an effective means of helping to alleviate some of the symptoms of sick building syndrome (SBS) that were mentioned earlier (Guieysse et al., 2008).

It is certainly striking how many large outbreaks of this still mysterious condition reported in the 1980s were linked to the presence of an unfamiliar smell in closed office buildings with little natural ventilation (Wargocki, Wyon, Baik, Clausen, & Fanger, 1999; Wargocki, Wyon, Sundell, Clausen, & Fanger, 2000). For instance, in June 1986, more that 12% of the workforce of 2500 people working at the Harry S. Truman State Office Building in Missouri came down with the symptoms of SBS over a 3-day period (Donnell Jr. et al., 1989).

The symptoms presented by some of the workers (including dizziness and difficulty in breathing) were so severe they had to be rushed to the local hospital for emergency treatment. And while a thorough examination of the building subsequently failed to reveal the presence of any particular toxic airborne pollutants that might have been responsible for the outbreak, in the majority of cases, it turned out that the symptoms of SBS were preceded by the perception of unusual odours and inadequate airflow in the building.

Comment by Margaret Hsing on February 23, 2024 at 1:45pm
Brooklyn Nets, as a case in point. On its opening in 2013, various commentators in the press drew attention to the distinctive, if not immediately identifiable, scent that appeared to pervade the space, and which appeared to have been added deliberately- almost as if it were intended to be a signature scent for the space (e.g., Al brecht, 2013; Doll, 2013; Martinez, 2013).

That said, the idea of fragrancing public spaces dates back at least as far as 1913. In that year, at the opening of the Marmor haus cinema in Berlin, the fragrance of Marguerite Carré, a perfume by Bourjois, Paris, was deliberately (and innovatively, at least for the time) wafted through the auditorium (Berg-Ganschow & Jacobsen, 1987). Meanwhile, in what may well be a sign of things to come, synaesthetic perfumer Dawn Goldsworthy and her scent design company 12:29 recently made the press after apparently creating a bespoke scent for a new US$40 million apartment in Miami (Schroeder, 2018). What further opportunities might there be to design distinctive “signature” scents for spaces/buildings, one might ask (Henshaw et al., 2018; Jones, 2006; Trivedi, 2006)?

Evidence that the olfactory element of design can be used to affect behaviour change positively includes, for example, the observation that people tend to engage in more cleaning behaviours when there is a hint of citrus in the air (De Lange, Debets, Ruitenburg, & Holland, 2012; Holland, Hendriks, & Aarts, 2005). In the future, it may not be too much of a stretch to imagine public spaces filled with aromatic flowers and blossoming trees, introduced with the aim of helping to discourage people from littering, and who knows, perhaps even reducing vandalism (see also Steinwald, Harding, & Piacentini, 2014).

In terms of the cognitive mechanism underlying such crossmodal effects of scent on behaviour, the suggestion, at least in the citrus cleaning example just mentioned, is that smelling an ambient scent that we associate with clean and cleaning then activates, or primes, the associated concepts (Smeets & Dijksterhuis, 2014). Having been primed, the suggestion is thus that this makes it that bit more likely that we will engage in behaviours that are congruent or consistent with the primed concept (though see Doyen, Klein, Pichon, & Cleeremans, 2012).

Elsewhere, researchers have already demonstrated the beneficial effects that lavender, and other scents normally associated with aromatherapy, have on those who are ex posed to them. So, for instance, the latter tend to show re duced stress, better sleep, and even enhanced recovery from illness (see Herz, 2009; Spence, 2003, for reviews; though see also Haehner, Maass, Croy, & Hummel, 2017). According to one commentator writing in The New York Times: “While these findings have obvious implications for health care, the opportunities for architecture and urban planning are particularly intriguing. Designers are trained to focus mostly on the visual, but the science of design could significantly expand designers’ sensory palette.
Comment by Margaret Hsing on February 23, 2024 at 1:44pm

Call it medicinal urbanism.” (Hosey, 2013). Effects on people’s mood resulting from exposure to ambient scent have been reported in some by no means all studies (Glass &Heuberger, 2016; Glass, Lingg, & Heuberger, 2014; Haehner et al., 2017;Weber&Heuberger, 2008). It re mains somewhat uncertain though whether the beneficial effects of aromatherapy scents can be explained by prim ing effects, based on associative learning, as in the case of the clean citrus scents mentioned above (see Herz, 2009), versus via a more direct (i.e., less cognitively mediated) physiological route (cf. Harada, Kashiwadani, Kanmura, & Kuwaki, 2018).

The olfactory scentscapes, and scent maps of cities, that have been discussed by various researchers (see Fig. 6) have also helped to draw people’s attention to the often rich olfactory landscapes offered by many urban spaces (e.g.,; Bucknell, 2018; Henshaw, 2014; Henshaw et al., 2018; Lipps, 2018; Lupton & Lipps, 2018; Margolies, 2006).

The notion of the healing garden has also seen something of a resurgence in recent years, and the benefits now, as historically, are likely to revolve, at least in part, around the healing, or restorative effect of the smell of flowers and plants (e.g., Pearson, 1991; see also Ottoson & Grahn, 2005). One building that is often mentioned in this regard, namely in terms of its olfactory design   credentials, is the Silicon House by architects, SelgasCano, situated on the outskirts of Madrid (

This house is set in what has been described as “a garden of smells”, which emphasize the olfactory, while also stressing the tactile elements of the design. Hence, while the olfactory aspects of architectural design practice have long been ignored, there are at least signs of a revival of interest in stimulating this sense through both architectural and urban design practice.

Architectural taste The British writer and artist Adrian Stokes once wrote of the “oral invitation of Veronese marble” (Stokes, 1978, p. 316). And while I must admit that I have never felt the urge to lick a brick, Pallasmaa (1996, p. 59) vividly recounts the urge that he once experienced to explore /connect with architecture using his tongue. He writes that: “Many years ago when visiting the DL James Residence in Carmel, California, designed by Charles and Henry Greene, I felt compelled to kneel and touch the delicately shining white marble threshold of the front door with my tongue.

The sensuous materials and skilfully crafted details of Carlo Scarpa’s architecture as well as the sensuous colours of Luis Barragan’s houses frequently evoke oral experiences. Deliciously coloured surfaces of stucco lustro, a highly polished colour or wood surfaces also present themselves to the appreci ation of the tongue.”

Perhaps aware of many readers’ presumed scepticism on the theme of the gustatory contribution to architecture,11 Pallasmaa writes elsewhere that: “The suggestions that the sense of taste would have a role in the appreciation of architecture may sound preposterous. However, polished and coloured stone as well as colours in general, and finely crafted wood details, for instance, often evoke an awareness of mouth and taste. Carlo Scarpa’s architectural details frequently evoke sensation of taste.” (Pallasmaa, 2011, p. 595).

Comment by Margaret Hsing on February 22, 2024 at 4:21pm

The suggestion here that “colours in general … often evoke … [a] taste” seemingly linking to the widespread literature on the crossmodal 11. Indeed, one might wonder whether the latter quote refers more to oral stereoagnosis (Jacobs, Serhal, & van Steenberghe, 1998), than specifically to gustation (see also Waterman Jr., 1917, for the suggestion that the tongue can be more revealing than the hand). correspondences that have increasingly been docu mented between colour and basic tastes (see Spence et al., 2015, for a review).

However, rather than describ ing this in terms of architecture that one can taste, one might more fruitfully refer to the growing literature on crossmodal correspondences instead (see below for more on this theme). When, in his book Architecture and the brain, Eber hard (2007, p. 47) talks about what the sense of taste has to do with architecture, he suggests that: “You may not literally taste the materials in a building, but the design of a restaurant can have an impact on your ‘conditioned response’ to the taste of the food.” Environmental multi sensory effects on tasting is undoubtedly an area that has grown markedly in interest in recent years (e.g., see Spence, 2020c, for a review).

It is though worth noting that just as for the olfactory case, some atmospheric ef fects on tasting may be more cognitively-mediated (e.g., associated with the priming of notions of luxury/ex pense, or lack thereof) while others may be more direct, as when changing the colour (see Oberfeld, Hecht, Allendorf, & Wickelmaier, 2009; Spence, Velasco, & Knoeferle, 2014; Torrico et al., 2020) or brightness (Gal et al., 2007; Xu & LaBroo, 2014) of the ambient lightingchanges taste/flavour perception. “An architecture of the seven senses”? So far in this section, we have briefly reviewed the uni sensory contributions of architectural design organized around each of the five main senses (vision audition, touch, smell, and taste).

However, seemingly not content with the traditional five, Pallasmaa (1994) goes further in the title of one of his early articles entitled “An architec ture of the seven senses.” While the text itself is not altogether clear, or explicit, on this point, the skeleton and muscles would appear to be the extra senses that Pallasmaa has in mind here. Indeed, the embodied re sponse of people to architecture is definitely something that has captured the imagination, not to mention in trigued, a number of architectural theorists in recent years (e.g., see Bloomer & Moore, 1977; Pallasmaa, 2011; Pérez-Gómez, 2016). The vestibular sense is also worthy of mention here (see Gulden & Grüsser, 1998; Indovina et al., 2005). Anyone who has tried out one of the VR simulations of walking along the outside ledge of a tall building will have had the feeling of vertigo.

Comment by Margaret Hsing on February 22, 2024 at 4:21pm
Normally, architects pre sumably avoid designing structures that may give rise to such discombobulating feelings. That said, the recent in crease in popularity of transparent viewing platforms, and bridges, shows that, on occasion, architects are not beyond emphasizing the important contribution made by this normally “silent” sense. For instance, The Grand Canyon Skywalk is a horseshoe-shaped cantilever bridge with a glass walkway at Eagle Point, Arizona that allows visitors to stand 500–800 ft. (150–240 m) above the can yon floor (Yost, 2007). Opened in 2007, by 2015, it had attracted more than a million visitors (see Fig. 7). While popular, it is perhaps worth noting that a number of such attractions have recently been closed down in parts of China due to safety fears (Ellis-Petersen, 2019). Walk ing on such structures likely also make people more aware of their own corporeality too, thus engaging the proprioceptive and kinaesthetic senses too. 

On a more mundane level, Heschong (1979, p. 34) draws attention to the importance of bodily movement in the case of the porch swing whose self-propelled movement, prior to air-conditioning, would have been a thermal necessity in the summer months in the southern states of the USA. Consideration of the putatively embodied response to architecture might lead one back to Hall’s (1966) seminal early notion of “proxemics”.

Hall used the latter term to describe the differing response to stimuli as a function of their distance from the viewer’s body. It is certainly easy to imagine this linking to contemporary notions concerning the different regions of personal space that have been documented around an observer (e.g., Previc, 1998; Spence, Lee, & Stoep, 2017).

However, while these terms might sound more or less synonymous to cognitive neuroscientists, Malnar and Vodvarka (2004), both licensed architects, choose to take a much more cautious stance concerning these terms, treating them as referencing distinct phenomena in their own book on sensory design. Interim summary While the impact of each of the senses, however many there might be, can undoubtedly be analysed in isolation, as has largely been attempted in the preceding sections, the fact of the matter is that they interact one with an other in terms of determining our response to the envir onment, be it built or natural.

So, having briefly addressed the contribution of each of the senses to architectural design practice, when studied individually, the next question to consider is how the senses interact in the perception of environment/atmosphere, as they do in many other aspects of our everyday perception.

After all, as Malnar notes: “The point of immersing people within an environment is to activate the full range of the senses.” (Malnar, 2017, p. 146). Pallasmaa (2000, p. 78) makes a similar point writing that: “Every significant experience of architecture is multi-sensory; qualities of matter, space and scale are measured by the eye, ear, nose, skin, tongue, skeleton and muscle.” (cf. Rasmussen, 1993).

Malnar and Vodvarka (2004, p. ix) set the scene for the discussion with the opening lines of the preface of their book on sensory design in architecture, where they write: “What if we designed for all our senses? Suppose, for a moment, that sound, touch, and odour were treated as the equals of sight, and that emotion was as important as cognition. What would our built environ ment be like is sensory response, sentiment, and mem ory were critical design factors, more vital even than structure and program?”

Comment by Margaret Hsing on February 19, 2024 at 10:17am

Indeed, those who take up the challenge of designing for the multisensory mind might well take a tip from one commentator, writing in Adver tising Age when talking about product innovation who suggested that: “… the most successful new products ap peal on both rational and emotional levels to as many senses as possible.” (Neff, 2000, p. 22).

Architectural de sign practice, I suggest, would be well-advised to strive for much the same in order to optimally stimulate the multisensory mind. Although not the primary interest of the present re view, it is perhaps also worth noting in passing, how a very similar debate on the importance of designing for the non-visual senses has been playing out amongst those interested specifically in landscape design/architec ture (Lynch & Hack, 1984; Mahvash, 2007; Treib, 1995).

The garden is a multisensory space and as Mark Treib wrote once in an essay entitled “Must landscape mean?”: “Today might be a good time to once more examine the garden in relation to the senses.” Designing for the multisensory mind: architectural design for all the senses The architect must act as a composer that orches trates space into a synchronization for function and beauty through the senses– and how the human body engages space is of prime importance.

As the human body moves, sees, smells, touches, hears and even tastes within a space– the architecture comes to life. The rhythm of an architecture can be felt by occu pants as a result of the architect’s composition– or arrangement of all the sensorial qualities of space. By arranging spatial sensorial features, an architect can lead occupants through the functional and aes thetic rhythms of a created place. Architectural building for all the senses can serve to move occu pants– elevating their experience. (quote from a blogpost by Lehman, 2009).

One of the most exciting developments in cognitive neuroscience in recent decades has been the growing realization that perception/experience is far more multi sensory than anyone had realized (e.g., Bruno & Pavani, 2018; Calvert et al., 2004; Levent & Pascual-Leone, 2014; Stein, 2012). That is, what we hear and smell, and what we think about the experience, is often influenced by what we see, and vice versa (Calvert et al., 2004; Stein, 2012). The senses talk to, and hence influence, one an other all the time, though we often remain unaware of these cross-sensory interactions and influences.

In fact, wherever neuroscientists look in the human brain, activity appears to be modulated by what is going on in more than one sense, leading, increasingly, to talk of the mul tisensory mind (Ghazanfar & Schroeder, 2006; Talsma, 2015). The key question here must therefore be what implications this growing realization of the ubiquity of multisensory cross-talk has for the field of architectural design practice?

The problem is that, as yet, there has been relatively little research directed at the question of how atmospheric/environmental multisensory cues actually inter act. Mattila and Wirtz (2001, pp. 273–274) drew attention to this lacuna some years ago when writing that: “Past studies have examined the effects of individ ual pleasant stimuli such as music, color or scent on consumer behavior, but have failed to examine how these stimuli might interact.”

Comment by Margaret Hsing on February 18, 2024 at 7:42pm

At the outset, when starting to consider the multisensory perception of architecture, it is worth noting that it is rarely something that we attend to. Indeed, as Benjamin (1968, p. 239) once noted: “Architecture has always represented the proto type of a work of art the reception of which is consum mated in a state of distraction.”

To the extent that such a view is correct, one can say that multisensory architec ture is rarely foregrounded in our attention/experience. Juhani Pallasma, meanwhile, has suggested that: “An architectural experience silences all external noise; it focuses attention on one’s very existence.” (Pallasmaa, 1994, p. 31).

Once again, the suggestion here would appear to be that attention is directed away from the building and toward the individual and their place in the world. Given that, on an everyday basis, architecture is typically not foregrounded in our attention/experience, one might legitimately wonder as to whether the multisensory integration of atmospheric/environmental cues takes place, given that they are so often unattended.

According to the laboratory research that has been published on this question to date, the evidence would appear to suggest that while the multisensory integration of unattended cues relating to an object or event certainly can occur, it is by no means guaranteed to do so (see Spence & Frings, 2020, for a review). Perhaps the more fundamental question here, though, is whether we need to attend to ambient/environmental sensory cues for them to influence us. However, the research that has been published to date would appear to suggest that very often environmental cues influence us even when we are not consciously aware of, or thinking about them. 

One particularly striking example of this was reported by researchers who manipulated whether French or German music was played in a supermarket (North, et al., 1997, 1999). The results showed that the majority of the wine purchased was French when French music was played, with this reversing to a majority of German wines being sold when German music was played.

The even more striking aspect of these results was the fact that the majority of those interviewed after coming away from the tills denied that the background music had any influence over the choices they made. A number of studies have also shown that scents that we are unaware of, either because they are presented just below the perceptual threshold or because we have become functionally anosmic to their constant presence, can nevertheless still influence us (Li, Moallem, Paller, & Gottfried, 2007).

Similarly, there is also a suggestion that inaudible infrasound waves (i.e., < 20 Hz) may also affect people without their necessarily being aware of their presence (Weichenberger et al., 2017). Meanwhile, in terms of visual annoyance, it has been reported that flickering LED lights that look no different to the naked eye can nevertheless trigger a significantly greater number of headaches that non-flickering lights (e.g., see Wilkins, 2017; Wilkins, Nimmo-Smith, Slater, & Bedocs, 1989).

Once again, therefore, this suggests that ambient sensory phenomena do not necessarily need to be perceptible in order to affect us, adversely or otherwise. On the benefits of multisensory design:

bringing it all together One demonstration of just how dramatic the benefits of designing for multiple senses can be was reported by Kroner, Stark-Martin, and Willemain (1992) in a tech nical report.

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