Tate Sensorium: experience art with all your senses

Written by Lily Bonesso for i-d.vice.com https://i-d.vice.com/en_gb/article/wake-up-and-smell-the-art-at-tate-sensorium

From the kids who started playing candy crush the moment they slipped out the womb, to gadget-obsessed geriatrics, technology is the go to attraction of the 00s. So, for art to remain truly relevant, it needs to grow collaboratively with the technology we are all so hooked on.

Cue Tate Gallery’s IK Prize, an annual initiative to support the use of technology in helping audiences experience art from a fresh perspective. In 2014, After Darkallowed online users to steer robots around Tate Britain in the dead of the night. Now, a year later, Flying Object’sTate Sensorium is being unveiled. Their idea goes like this… Imagine if aside from just seeing a painting, you could also taste it, hear it and feel it? Well now you can, and, as with all the best things in life, it’s free.

Flying Object have chosen four paintings by Richard Hamilton, Francis Bacon, David Bomberg and John Latham, and, in a softly carpeted, slate-grey room, you can get acquainted with each in new, unpredictable ways. Master chocolatier Paul A Young will explode your mind with a totally bizarre edible experience. Fragrant smells created by scent expert Odette Toilette will waft past you, using high tech perfume release gadgetry. Sounds designed by Nick Ryan will ring in your ears in three dimensions thanks to binaural and directional audio systems. Then, some pioneering touchless haptics technology will use ultrasound to focus air pressure on your hands, setting you all aquiver. Throw in some expertly designed lighting and Tamsin Greig’s voice in your ear (amongst other things) and you should come out feeling fantastically stimulated. If this hasn’t satisfied your cravings for digital wizardry, you can also wire yourself up and receive a full report demonstrating how the stimuli have affected you. To all you geeks, art-lovers, and the sensually self-indulgent out there, try not tomiss out on seeing these seminal works from all sensory angles.

Tate Sensorium runs from August 26 until September 20 at Tate Britain.


10 Design Principles for Dementia

Republished from http://www.enablingenvironments.com.au/Principles.aspx

The Dementia Enabling Environment Principles are based on the work of Prof. Richard Fleming and Kirsty Bennett, University of Wollongong. These principles have an evidence base and have been constructed from reviewing the research literature of studies looking at maximising enablement and wellbeing for people living with dementia through physical design.

1. Unobtrusively reduce risks

People with dementia require an internal and external environment that is safe, secure and easy to move around if they are to make the best of their remaining abilities. However, obvious safety features and barriers will lead to frustration, agitation and anger and so potential risks need to be reduced unobtrusively.

2. Provide a human scale

The scale of a building will have an effect on the behaviour and feelings of a person with dementia. The experience of scale is determined by three factors; the number of people that the person encounters, the overall size of the building and the size of the individual components, such as doors, rooms and corridors.  A person should not be intimidated by the size of the surroundings or confronted with a multitude of interactions and choices. Rather the scale should help the person feel in control.

3. Allow people to see and be seen

The provision of an easily understood environment will help to minimise confusion. It is particularly important for people with dementia to be able to recognise where they are, where they have come from and what they will find if they head in a certain direction. When they can see key places, such as a lounge room, dining room, their bedroom, kitchen and an outdoor area they are more able to make choices and find their way to where they want to go. Buildings that provide these opportunities are said to have good visual access. Good visual access opens up opportunities for engagement and gives the person with dementia the confidence to explore their environment. It can also enable staff to see residents from where they spend most of their time. This reduces their anxiety and the anxiety of the residents.

4. Reduce unhelpful stimulation

Because dementia reduces the ability to filter stimulation and attend to only those things that are important, a person with dementia becomes stressed by prolonged exposure to large amounts of stimulation. The environment should be designed to minimise exposure to stimuli that are not helpful. The full range of senses must be considered. Too much visual stimulation is as stressful as too much auditory stimulation.

5. Optimise helpful stimulation

Enabling the person with dementia to see, hear and smell things that give them cues about where they are and what they can do, can help to minimise their confusion and uncertainty. Consideration needs to be given to providing redundant cueing ie providing a number of cues to the same thing, recognizing that what is meaningful to one person will not necessarily be meaningful to another.  A person may recognize their bedroom, for example, because of a view, the presence of furniture, the colour of the walls, the light fitting and/or the bedspread. Cues need to be carefully designed so that they do not add to unhelpful stimulation.

6. Support movement and engagement

Aimless wandering can be minimised by providing a well defined pathway, free of obstacles and complex decision points, that guides people past points of interest and opportunities to engage in activities or social interaction. The pathway should be both internal and external, providing an opportunity and reason to go outside when the weather permits.

7. Create a familiar space

The person with dementia is more able to use and enjoy spaces and objects that were familiar to them in their early life. The environment should afford them the opportunity to maintain their competence through the use of familiar building design (internal and external), furniture, fittings and colours. This will involve an understanding of the personal background of the people living in the environment.The involvement of the person with dementia in personalising the environment with their familiar objects should be encouraged.

8. Provide opportunities to be alone or with others

People with dementia need to be able to choose to be on their own or spend time with others. This requires the provision of a variety of spaces, some for quiet conversation with one or two others and some for larger groups, as well as spaces where people can be by themselves. These internal and external spaces should have a variety of characters, e.g. a place for reading, looking out of the window or talking, to cue the person to what is available and stimulate different emotional responses.

9. Provide links to the community 

Without constant reminders of who they were, a person with dementia will lose their sense of identity. Frequent Interaction with friends and relatives can help to maintain that identity. This is made easier when the person is admitted from the local community as friends and relatives are able to drop in easily. The environment must include spaces for the resident and their visitors to use within the unit and in its immediate surrounds. These need to be attractive and comfortable to encourage visitors to come and spend time.  Stigma remains a problem for people with dementia so the unit should be designed to blend with the existing buildings and not stand out as a ‘special’ unit. Where possible a ‘bridge’ should be built between the unit and the community by providing a space that is used by both the community and people with dementia. Where the unit is a part of a larger site, there should be easy access around the site so people with dementia, their families and friends can interact with other people who live there.

10. Respond to a vision for way of life

The environment should support the person with dementia to lead a life that has meaning and value to them. The choice of this life style, or philosophy of care, will vary between facilities. Some will choose to focus on engagement with the ordinary activities of daily living and have fully functioning kitchens. Others will focus on the ideas of full service and recreation, while still others will emphasise a healthy life style or, perhaps, spiritual reflection. The way of life offered needs to be clearly stated and the building designed both to support it and to make it evident to the residents and staff. The building becomes the embodiment of the philosophy of care, constantly reminding the staff of the values and practices that are required while providing them with the tools they need to do their job.

Republished from http://www.enablingenvironments.com.au/Principles.aspx


1.   Fleming R, Bowles J. Units for the confused and disturbed elderly: Development, Design, Programmimg and Evaluation. Australian Journal on Ageing. 1987 November;6(4):25-8.

2.   Fleming R, Forbes I, Bennett K. Adapting the ward for people with dementia. Sydney: NSW Department of Health; 2003.

Apartment for life: An apartment designed specifically for people with Alzheimer’s

Throughout the first day of the 30th International Conference of Alzheimer’s Disease International in Perth, Australia, one of the things that caught my eye was Max and Barbara’s Apartment for Life.

This space was designed as a fully equiped one bedroom/one bathroom apartment with living room, dining room, studio and patio.  

Every single element in this place had a meaning or a reason to be there, being the main one to bring well-being into Max and Barbara’s lives. (A lovely fictional couple created by the design team, Max being the one living with Alzheimer’s and Barbara being his wife and carer).

All of the objects and design decisions not only were adapted to Max’s needs, condition, type/level of dementia and symptoms, but also to Max and Barbara’s likes, preferences, favourite activities and careers. 

This impressive apartment was also designed under the 10 (evidence based) design for dementia principles. (Read 10 Design Principles for Dementia) 


The Floorplan

The overall design of the apartment is open plan with wide door openings, level thresholds and two directional light in order to allow easier access and navigation around the different rooms and minimize dark corners that may confuse Max.

The rooms

Every room had key elements such as bright light globes, sensor lights, high contrast objects like plates, shelves and chairs, wireless door sensors, magi plugs, among others, in order to provide Max with a more independent everyday life, at the same time protecting him from risks and giving Barbara the chance to have a more comfortable life. 

These are some of the most important rooms and their features:

Living Room 

Interesting objects are present to promote conversation and interaction. 


Contrasting furniture to help with visualization.  

Dining Room

Central location and easy access, with comfortable contrasting chairs that invite for interaction. 


Big contrasting elements in bright warm colours that stimulate apetite and make them easier to be seen. 


Some shelves without handles for risk objects such as knifes, and others with handles for everyday safe use objects to help Max keep protected in a non-obstructive way. 


A double-purpose blackboard to write reminder and motivational messages and to cover the fridge in a preventive way. Next to it, a small fridge with a see through door and ready to eat safe food and drinks. 


Glased window to create a more relaxing environment, and a blackout to promote better sleep at night. 

Doorless wardrobe for easy access to everyday use basic clothing pieces. Labeled drawers to keep independence and facilitate object location.


 Contrasting toilet seat for easy location. Higher and with a handle for comfort


Wide shower for easy assistance and folding contrasting seat for easy location


Mirror with blind for easy hiding and preventing Max from feeling confused. Open shelves for easy access to everyday use objects. 


Max and Barbara’s apartment is a  space where good design meets functionality to provide greater independence, comfort and better quality of life for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and their families. 

Creted by

Dementia Enabling Environments


“Art and Alzheimer’s” Workshop


Today, the International Conference of Alzheimer’s Disease International officially started in Perth, Australia. I had the chance to attend a very interesting workshop organized by the Art Gallery of Western Australia.

The “Art and Alzheimer’s” workshop allowed us the participants to get a better idea of the different art activities the gallery offers to people living with Alzheimer’s disease. 

They also gave us the chance to be part of one of the activities they offer in which they show people living with Alzheimer’s one of the works of art they show at the gallery and then they ask them to reproduce a similar piece based in their own memories and lives. 

This time, we worked with the painting called “Self-portrait” by the artist Iris Francis.


After looking at it in detail, we then started to replicate the painting using our own experiences and the different materials the gallery provided.

These were some of the resulting pieces. 


This is an excellent way of stimulating people living with Alzheimer’s, it not only helps them express themselves artistically but it also keeps their memory, motor skills and creativity active.

Published on the Abstract Booklet of the International Conference of Alzheimer’s Disease International

portada abstract bookletThe prestigious International Conference of Alzheimer’s Disease International, held in Perth, Australia next 15th-18th of April 2015, has published the online version of the Abstract Booklet, in which all the presenters work is briefly described.

On page 175 you can find the short paragraph I wrote describing my work.

closeup abstract booklet

Thank you so much to Alzheimer’s Disease International for this recognition and I hope this makes people interested in what I and all the people included in this book do, try to improve the lives of those who live with Alzheimer’s.

Full Abstract Booklet

Attending important Alzheimer’s conference in Australia

logo perthHello everyone,

It is with great happiness that I address to you today with great news. My work has been selected to be shown in poster form at the 30th International Conference of Alzheimer’s Disease International on the 15th of april 2015 in Perth, Australia. This event is one of the world’s largest and most important conferences on Alzheimer’s disease.

More than 1,500 delegates from over 60 countries are expected to attend the conference. And I am one of them.

perthIn addition to this, I am very proud to announce that I will be the only south american designer invited to attend. Words cannot describe how happy and deeply honoured I am.

I just wanted to share this great news with all of you and stay tuned because I will be posting step by step of this incredible adventure.

Yours sincerely,

Adriana Machado.