Hygge is a lifestyle concept I found comfort in during a study abroad trip to Denmark in the summer of 2019. In just over one month I planned, built, and installed a grand hallway 10 feet tall and 8 feet long inspired by Hygge. With open access from both ends, the installation invites users to walk through by activating all 5 senses. Vegan cookies and hot chocolate were provided upon entry, and visitors were encouraged to touch, smell, taste, see and listen. Fresh dried lavender and mint were everywhere, and candles were lit on the installations exterior, designating an environment of stillness within the gallery. For one day, students at the University of Colorado Denver experienced a space of total relaxation. An audiovisual projection consisting of purely color transitions and ambient sound brought joy and tranquility to midterm season. Each person was limited to one minute, and could enter as many times as necessary for optimal relaxation.
programs and skills used | Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, graphic design, installation design, color theory, art curation, installation and architectural design, wood studios, typography
Students are stressed and Western culture does not promote self-care or work-life balance. How can I construct an environment that promotes relaxation and reflection during CU Denver's midterm week?
Five Senses is a constructed environment with an architectural scope executed through the use of wood studios and digital media. My architectural vision for the space was inspired by grand arched hallways in history like the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles. A ten-foot tall hallway made from cotton fabric is stretched across two wooden arcs that support the overall structure. Two-by-fours, plywood, fabric, screws, a digital projector, and a speaker are the only materials used in the construction of the exterior of the hallway. The interior design is meant to provoke relaxation and stimulation inspired by contemporary Scandinavian design. My conceptual vision is centered around Hygge. This concept is interpreted as the art of cozy intimacy. Hygge is practiced throughout Scandinavia and has been credited as the reason why Denmark and other Nordic countries consistently rate among the happiest places in the world. In Mike Weiking’s, Little Book of Hygge, some characteristics of happy people include the ability to balance work and life, taking pleasure in the small things, employing organic elements in their environments, and frequent quality time one-self and their community.
Five Senses is intended to stimulate human sensations with an experimental and accessible space. Before entering, individuals are greeted with signage encouraging them to take a cookie and hot cocoa. They are then drawn into the open hallway with the smell of fresh dried lavender and mint. A single chair facing the transparent fabric wall with a relaxing audiovisual projection playing on a loop awaits you in the middle of the hallway. Even more signage is placed next to the chair indicating that The Little Book of Hygge, crystals, and dried mint can be interacted with. There is just enough sensory stimulation that the combination of sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste does not overwhelm the visitor.
Inspired by Yayoi Kusama’s installation, Gleaming Lights of the Souls, one person at a time is meant to experience the hallway. Each person will have one minute, but there will no timer. Instead of a noisy disruption that might break any sense of Zen or bliss, I ask you to consciously keep track of the time. After everyone has had a chance to be alone with their senses, a conversation may begin around the subject matter and individual perceptions. I urge you not to rush through 5 senses, but instead to slow down, take a deep breath, and really pay attention to what you are feeling.