"It is a bird! No, it is a plane!" It is a house! No, it is a train!

by Sara Radomirovic

Photo © Sara Radomirovic

It is something that the Theory of Design deals with, both in Interior and the Exterior; the shape, shade, communication, volume, materials, noise, the psychological impact of colors,… We, as citizens, usually are not really aware of this until missing at least one of the "commodities".

When we think of human senses we think of eyesight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell. Yet we have always known that we are capable of sensing much more than this[1]. Most of the industry is dealing with finding solutions to lower or higher these by implementing specific mechanic or "simply" geometric solutions, proper materials, etc. However, neuroscientists are well aware that we have between 22 and 33 different senses[1], which we, as designers, are usually trying to deaden by offering products to our customers instead of designing to accelerate those. How did we manage that since one of the main qualities of Design is ergonomy itself?

It looks as if we found a space for a narrative; the same place where Architecture overlaps Engineering with the Arts and potentially becomes Programming (Coding). Maybe that is the reason we placed a basketball field in such an acoustic environment, surrounded by residential units - to acknowledge how we are all the same. After all, that block is from a communist era, popular social housing, modern brutalism.

But what happened after that? Did we just become lazy? Some senses are only found in the animal world[1]. Wouldn't be better to make our surroundings and features smart enough by applying some of those instead of replacing ours with the electrical, while losing it at the same time exactly because of it?

Bionics in the design is a great example of sensory architecture in both ways - income and outcome - biophilic design, natural solutions, as an extraordinary reflection of contemporary towards circular instead of losing flat. Is that the highest sensor for and from all of us - benefit? Why shouldn't be? After all, it is the architect's job to provide better living and working conditions. But did we go wrong somewhere when meeting again at the point of the beginning, in nature? Where is the originality in that creation?

Pollution. Pollution is something nature does not produce, but we all sense it equally powerful. In 2020/2021 we had a chance of noticing all flaws and advantages of man-made architecture and its consequences would probably last as long as those existing before the Anthropocene unless we do something good this time. Do we even have time or did we replaced that sensor with something else, as well? The sense of urgency is present from the last century but entered the current even harder. In 1964, 22 visual communicators, young and old, signed the original call for our skills to be put to worthwhile use. In 2000, 33 designers signed a revised version of the original call, and in 2014 — on the 50th anniversary of the manifesto — over 1600 designers around the world renewed their commitment to the First Things First Manifesto2.

Once seen as a trend, became our only solution in times where some are searching for exits on Antarctica and the others are packing their lives for a new start on Mars, because, as already known from different movies - the captain never leaves his/her ship - and that is what every Architecture in its sensory approach is all about, BELONGING.


1. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/01/humans-have-more-than-5-senses/

2. https://www.firstthingsfirst2020.org/


Sara Radomirovic

With the ability of creating original ideas in the design processes, talents for research and realisation of new design achievements, as well as tendency for solving specific creative tasks, Sara is a 31-2 years old nationally and internationally awarded and exhibited Artist from Belgrade, Serbia.

She is a holder of Bachelor degree in Applied Arts (Interior and Furniture Designer) from the University UNION Faculty of Design, with additional master education in Integral Urbanism at the University of Belgrade Faculty of Architecture.

Her portfolio is honoured as the worldwide Top 10 in strengths of Integral Urbanism, with focus on Engineering, Humanity and Arts, by the Nature Contest 2020 and according to the Nature Tutor Magazine.