Experiential design, a blooming context for deep engagement

Insights | 9 May, 2018

Experiences are common to us all. They unite us in our differences but cannot be lived out of our infinite singularities. They come in a huge variety of forms but have one thing in common: when done well, they remind us what it means to be alive.

Embrace multidisciplinarity, now and always

Designing experiences is always rewarding. There is probably no better way to understand design’s direct impact than to do that from A to Z. Still, it’s not that easy. Experiential design needs an uncommon dose of multidisciplinarity. Branding, design thinking and strategic management meet multimedia storytelling, architecture or product design. Luckily, at Studio Banana we are a rare combination of those.

No matter the singularity of the experience, there is one thing in common: people. With communication, impact and engagement goals at its core, experiences hold the power to transform moments, spaces and, in the end, communities too.

Feeling differently, thinking differently

We live in a knowledge-based society. More and more reliant on facts and figures, the privileged ones with the skills to read and interpret data win. But being a Renaissance man these times is not that easy. Fortunately, when technology enters the scene, our horizon of possibilities expands enormously.

This idea lies at the core of Momentum Experience Centre at EY’s London headquarters, a design environment meant to inspire a mindset change in the user. The moment you set foot on it, the experience begins: you start to think differently because you actually feel differently. It awakens curiosity and generates a sense of comfort and belonging, a common link with service design project CARAVAN, recently launched for SV Group at Zürich, and developed together with PopUpOffice.

The spatial intervention, that transforms corporate restaurants into collaborative workplaces, enables alternative experiences that add value to employees and visitors alike. Experiential design fills the space with openness and humanness, two dear values that become the center of gravity of the workplace community. All smooth out with a nice dose of flat rate coffee, one-click WiFi or a brand-new product line of healthy snacks, CARAVAN Bites. Mens sana in corpore sano, right?

Growth is a long-term journey

An experience is a call to participate, an urge to belong. In learning environments, an alluring invitation to join a journey of growth and exploration. Full of our own discoveries and experiences, our 5-year strategic voyage with IE University has been quite an amazing ride. Co-designed together with the innovative educational institution, our omnichannel design approach has helped redefine IEU’s engagement and communication in terms of experience, digital, print and spatial design.

Five years later, IE University continues to hold a strong position in the market while growing its student’s recognition and sense of belonging. A proof that experiential design –specially when targeted at the youngest– is nothing but user-centric.

Empowered communities build powerful societies

We said it before: experiences are common to us all, no matter the generation. This was precisely one of the key issues at BQ CircoLab, an innovative project meant to bridge the digital divide through fun and disruption. The first digital laboratory on wheels brought original technologies to 5,000 participants of all ages across 39 cities in a 90-day one of a kind road trip.

BQ was much more than user-centered design. Indeed, the public got to co-create their very own experience, while we at Studio Banana carefully planned the UX design and production of the whole initiative. CircoLab was a unique melting pot of collaboration, experimentation and learning with large doses of surprise and celebration. Oh, boy, what a trip!

Empowered communities build powerful societies. Young people have a voice and want to be heard. Colossal movements usually begin from a plain story, for there is something powerful in simplicity and naturalness.

Back to basics

Experiences make us all equal and unique at once. Sometimes, the simpler the experience, the better. Imagine a perfect circle planted in the middle of a square in the heart of Madrid. 70-meter diameter, natural grass, thousands of empowered citizens, massive media coverage… It does ring a bell, doesn’t it?

Such a gigantic and simple gesture was indeed the urban intervention by internationally recognized artist SpY, a non-commercial event powered by Studio Banana and born from a ludic and shared interest with the artist in the power of creativity, art and design to surprise the viewer in the urban context, incite reflection and favour an enlightened conscience. Commissioned as part of the commemorative activities of the emblematic Plaza Mayor 400th anniversary, this public art piece invited citizens to see –and therefore, feel and live– their city differently.

For 4 days, the city atmosphere was full of spontaneity and communal energy. Every single visitor experiencing the piece filled it with their own meaning in a temporary intervention that will be forever irreplaceable. Being told wasn’t enough. You had to be there, play your part, grasp the moment. Experiential design in full bloom.


* Photo Header: courtesy by SpY and Rubén P. Bescos.

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