The personalization of a space achieved through visual means is very obvious as much as it is effective. However, use of non-visual sensorial effects for personalization of space are very subtle but equally effective. Non-visual sensorial effects are not easy to perceive, record, communicate and express.
Professional designers, in their conventional space planning, give consideration to parameters like auditory, olfactory, tactile and atmospheric factors such as the temperature and moisture, etc. This is because many of the visual means also provide non-visual sensorial effects, at specific position and under certain circumstances.
A lay person improvising own spaces finds it very difficult to replicate the use of non-visual sensorial effects. A lay person considers non visual sensorial effects at best as the reinforcing elements to visual means.
For professional designers as well as lay persons, the judgements on these counts are often speculative because effective results derive from cumulation of several factors.
- For example, Visual and Auditory senses work in consonance, as both have a sense of scale and direction. In space planning one provides the clue about the other.
- The selection and placement of furniture, furnishings and enrichments can change the visual space perception, whereas the surface treatments of the same elements can change the audio response.
- Tactile sense requires one to be in proximity of the surface, yet the textures, nature of construction (hollow, foamed, micro undulations), etc. prompt the auditory response from a distance, and so pre-empt the perception.
- Odours are perceived with air and its movements. Enclosed rooms filter the noise but reduce the chances of fresh air. This translates into ‘smelly or stagnant space’. A designer has to perceive a space planning layout with all these overlapping sensorial perceptions, and also notions people have about it.
Other parameters such as the privacy, intimacy, well being, safety, security, seclusion and participation, are achieved through sensible space planning, but need space and time reinforcement through indicative means.
The purposes of space elements, their placement, composition, shape or size, are not very apparent to a casual visitor. However, such effects become apparent on the required occasion and situation with non-visual reinforcements.