In our “Detailed by Design” series, Millimetre Design’s Managing Director, Ronan Holohan, has already explored the awareness of the senses needed to succeed in design, and the importance of the sense of sight to enhance a design project.
This time, it’s all about touch.
Science of Touch
Known as the first sense that we acquire as new-borns, our sense of touch is hugely important for our emotional and physical wellbeing, as well as our understanding of the world around us.
From the earliest touch of our mothers, our sense of touch is often associated with comfort. Recent scientific studies have revealed that humans are specifically programmed with the ability to communicate through touch. Whether its gently squeezing someone’s hand to reassure them or leaning against them to make room on a rush hour train, touch is an effective communication method.
But touch isn’t just a way of communicating our feelings; touch can be a way of communicating about and defining the spaces that we find ourselves in. Touch is a key sense that can be utilised to engage your customers through your design.
Kicking Touch Into Design
Thirty years ago, our interaction with things through touch was the norm; the pressing of the buttons on a telephone, the feel of the page turning over in a novel, even the turning of the handle to flush the toilet. With technology, many of these elements have disappeared into an abyss of touchscreens, fingerprint scanners and motion sensors.
As technology has progressed, people’s expectations of this tactile element have grown rapidly, inflated by the need for touch, for comfort and for understanding; the satisfaction of this need that has stemmed from the human race as new-borns.
Touch has become the exception, but it is still very much needed by humans, to confirm what they see, and to provide understanding of the spaces that surround them.
In design, touch should never be an exception – it should be a critical element in any design approach. Touch can significantly enhance a design approach, making spaces more comfortable and satisfying for your consumer, and increasing your ability to impress your technology-worn customers.
Finding the Midas Touch at Millimetre Design
It has to be said that most business owners would love to have the ‘Midas touch’; the ability to make money out of anything. Choosing a design partner that puts all of the senses, particularly touch, at the forefront of their design approach will help you find that ‘Midas touch’.
Millimetre Design keep all the senses in mind when taking their unique, bespoke approach to design for their clients. However, touch is paramount in all projects – let’s explore some of them:
Powerscourt Distillery Visitor Centre
Surrounded by the beauty of the Wicklow mountains and a deep history of warring clans on the lands of Powerscourt, this brand-new distillery offers a unique and different experience for visitors.
From the beginning of this tour, visitors are greeted by the protected old stone Millhouse, a historic dwelling situated in the Powerscourt Estate. As they enter the distillery, visitors can enjoy a wealth of different materials, including exposed stone, copper and natural oak. The original flagstone floor has been reclaimed, alongside a premium solid herringbone floor, setting a scene of quality elements that visitors can touch and enjoy.
Alongside the creation of unique distillery whiskey glasses and whiskey barrel-styled counters, visitors can interact with a variety of things to engage their sense of touch.
From the flagstone floors to the timber incorporated throughout the distillery, the space has been designed with authenticity in mind, enticing visitors to touch the various elements available, engage and better understand the environment they find themselves in. Only when you touch something does it come to life; the same can be said about this new Distillery Visitor Centre.
As a food café with a strong takeaway element, Emer’s Kitchen needed an operational space that both invited customers into the establishment but made room for the next visitors soon after. This is where touch came into play.
While a soft tactile approach is introduced, the materials used in this project were slightly harder, allowing the visitor to feel comfort for a short period, but not too comfortable that this would cause them to stay for longer periods of time.
By utilising stone for the counter tops, tile flooring and harder materials for the seating, greater energy can be built up, causing consumers to move faster through the customer experience journey.
Trinity City Hotel
In any hotel design, touch is vital, especially within the bedroom. Stemming back to our new-born associations of touch with comfort and reassurance, the hotel bedroom must be able to hit all the marks in terms of engaging the guest’s sense of touch.
Whether it’s the impression of the comfort as they enter the room, the wallpaper textures, or the comfort of the bed, all aspects of the hotel bedroom must exude softness and comfort to guests while remaining sustainable for staff; if it’s too ‘hard’, or the journey up to the room does not invoke a sense of calm, it won’t work. Your customers won’t be satisfied, and you’ll lose return custom as a result.
Feel Your Way to Design Success
At all points of your design process, considering how you will engage your customer’s sense of touch is paramount. Touch is the definition of how we clarify what we have seen.
As technology continues to submerge all elements of our daily lives, our need for touch and comfort grows greater. Touch brings all of our senses together and helps us fully understand what we see, hear, smell and taste.
Touch confirms the quality and comfort that an experience can bring to a consumer – utilise it by choosing the right design partner and find your ‘Midas touch’ for your business.