Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand | Audio

S5E3: Ellen Lupton

Ellen Lupton is the curator of contemporary design at Cooper Hewitt , the Smithsonian Design Museum. She also runs the graduate program in graphic design at the Maryland Institute College of Art.

Her latest exhibit, “The Senses: Design Beyond Vision,” opens with a big furry wall that plays music when you rub up against it.

Most companies aren’t ready to the “Tactile Orchestra” in the reception area, but Lupton says. businesses need to think about communicating to all the senses:

There are whole systems for bringing custom-branded smells into a hotel lobby or a hotel room or a restaurant or Anthropologie or Abercrombie and Fitch. All these places have custom smells that is part of the brand experience. And people have incredible ability to remember smell, to associate smell with particular emotions and states of mind.

The same goes for sound. That architecture has a whole acoustic dimension that really needs to be designed just like the lighting. And all those things go together to create an experience that is beyond visual. It's the complete bodily experience of a space.

Listen to the episode to learn more about how Lupton approaches design as storytelling for the whole body.

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Posted in: Arts + Culture, Design of Business | Business of Design

Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand Jessica Helfand, a founding editor of Design Observer, is an award-winning graphic designer and writer. A former contributing editor and columnist for Print, Eye and Communications Arts magazine, she is a member of Alliance Graphique Internationale and a recent laureate of the Art Director’s Hall of Fame. Jessica received both her BA and MFA from Yale University where she has taught since 1994. In 2013, she won the AIGA medal.

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