Is Experiential Living Design the Next Big Trend?

Posted by Elizabeth Alton on Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

The "Mystery on Fifth Avenue" Apartment

We’ve taken liberties with Yeats
to lead you through a tale
that tells of most inspired fates
in hopes to lift the veil.

One of the most fascinating stories about experiential living design began with a request: a New York City couple had purchased an apartment and were having it renovated for their family. After talking with architect after architect who proposed similar, upscale and frankly boring concepts for the place, they settled on an architect named Eric Clough who had a vision to turn their new apartment into a quest akin to The Da Vinci Code.

Ultimately, the project spun out to include a customized book and soundtrack that followed the adventures of young children solving a mystery. The house itself had numerous clues built into the environment. Ciphers were embedded into the walls; parts of the bed broke away to be used in props that helped solve the essential mystery. The game and story underlying the mystery was built into the very apartment itself and the search began in earnest when the family received the poem above in the mail. Ultimately they solved their quest – but the project took more than four years and 40 creative collaborators to bring to life.

The Mystery Apartment book

Experience design is playing a bigger role in many elements of our lives, from team building experiences at work to how the Internet of Things is changing our relationship with technology. It’s more common than ever for people to think about lifestyle quality and ideal lifestyles when choosing a job or picking a city to live in. But more and more creatives, architects, and average people desiring extraordinary experiences are looking for interesting ways to bring play into their home environments. Few have the resources – or commitment – to carry out the example above. But many are finding a way to bring their passions into their home at some level.

Skateboard House

Clough’s work on the New York City “Mystery Apartment” was sparked by a simple question: what inspires a child’s mind? Homes with an experiential component are often centered on creating a certain aesthetic experience or encouraging a hobby. But in a bigger way, they’re asking “how do we stimulate play?” Consider the Skateboard House, designed to let hardcore skaters play on every indoor and outdoor surface. What’s more, the floor and designs are contiguous in a way that’s focused on optimizing the skate experience.

Architects are becoming bolder, designing artistically intriguing homes that are inspired by every different landscape and theme that you can imagine. But the idea that our private spaces should have a level of theming that’s on par with some of the world’s most enticing spaces isn’t totally new. The devotion to creating specific experiences and inviting play is taking it to whole new level. It’s hard to know for sure where this movement will go, as in many ways it’s in its infancy. But we’re seeing a trend emerge that’s taking whimsical home designs beyond exotic visual concepts and into the space where they’re striving to create unique experiences for their inhabitants. The infographic below offers a few examples that are worth exploring!

The-World-Most-Unusual-Home-Designs (1)

Infographic sourced courtesy of http://www.1st-inplace.com/; Images courtesy of Pomegranita, KnowledgeDB, Architect

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