Dutch Design Week: Neuro-design

01 : 11 : 2016 Dutch Design Week 2016 : Neuroscience : The E-motional Economy

Eindhoven – Design studio Enrichers aims to optimise people’s brains through carefully curated sensory environments.

  • The practice draws on environmental enrichment, an area of research that examines the impact of a person’s surroundings on their brain activity
  • The studio presented a collection of objects designed for future workspaces
Buoy by Enrichers, Eindhoven Buoy by Enrichers, Eindhoven
Bambata by Enrichers, Eindhoven Bambata by Enrichers, Eindhoven
Holon by Enrichers, Eindhoven Holon by Enrichers, Eindhoven
Elephunk by Enrichers, Eindhoven Elephunk by Enrichers, Eindhoven

The studio collaborated with a neuroscientist from the University of Cambridge to develop a methodology and understand how enrichment can be applied in human environments. Experiments in the field show that stimulating environments can drive increased synapse activity and make the brain more resistant to dementia. Research conducted on rodent brains also shows increased rates of neurogenesis – the development of new neural connections.

Drawing on this insight, Enrichers proposed a collection of objects that use tactile stimulation and dynamic surfaces to engage users. The Bambata water bench forces sitters to constantly change their position and responds to the movements of the person they are sharing the bench with, while the Elephunk work table features a perforated surface that is designed to foster tactile stimulation during brainstorms and group discussions.

The Big Picture

The science around how the human brain responds to sensory stimuli is spreading from healthcare to product and interior design, as outlined in the Mood Manipulation section of our macrotrend The E-motional Economy. For more stories from Dutch Design Week, keep an eye on our Briefing and Shows sections.

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