The World Cities Culture Forum has published alarming statistics on the percentage of green spaces in cities, with 9.5% recorded in Paris 2013, 7.5% in Tokyo in 2015, and a only 2% in Dubai recorded in 2015. Green infrastructure is vital elements to improve physical and mental health in cities. With this knowledge, architects and designers at OFL Architecture have designed the Zighizaghi Garden in Favara, Sicily, which transforms an outdoor space into a dynamic interactive environment that uses multisensory design to revive the senses, enhancing visitors’ experience of nature.
Author: Siphilele Magagula
Images: Courtesy of OFL Architecture
Enter the Zighizaghi Garden
Is there a place in your city where you like to go after an arduous day of work to recharge your batteries? Luckily for the citizens of Favara, Sicily, the Zighizaghi Garden is such kind of place. Architects and designers of OFL Architecture in collaboration with Miliashop and Farm Cultural Park have designed this multisensory urban garden as donation to the city. They created a welcoming 340 square metre sanctuary for the city’s inhabitants to unwind in the perfect balance of wood and vegetation. The inspiration - hexagonal shapes replicated by bees stems from Miliashop’s desire to have the space reflect its biology background.
This multidimensional place, consisting of a horizontal (floor) and vertical level (elevated lighting system) - creates a dynamic experience for the visitor. The horizontal level is made of modular hexagonal wooden steps and foot patterns made of plywood and Okoumè. The shapes allow for many configurations giving the flexibility to reshape the landscape as desired; while the vertical level has six towering multifaceted red prisms that serve as light fixtures and loudspeakers, which pay homage to the ‘Pfff’ inflated pavilion sculpture.
Images courtesy of OFL Architecture
The two levels not only create aesthetic appeal in the space, but also a greater connection between the visitor and nature due to their multisensory elements. How? We explore...
How Sensory Stimulation Facilitates Creation of a Therapeutic Garden
A therapeutic garden is specifically designed to facilitate a connection between nature (with its healing elements) and the user. These outdoor spaces are meant to meet their physical, psychological and social needs, incorporating design principles derived from scientific evidence. Visitors can experience a range of health benefits such as the relief of mental fatigue, reduced stress and improved moral, all through interaction with the healing elements of nature. The addition of multisensory elements in the Zighizaghi garden enhance that connection with nature.
As humans we are drawn to experiences that stimulate our senses. Think about what emotions certain smells evoke, how music transforms your mood, or how certain textures feel in your hand - sensory stimulation affects every facet of our lives. Tactual stimulation from the touch of the perfectly balanced natural wood and vegetation creates a calming effect, as well as contributes to improved learning about the surroundings; the smell of the carefully selected plant aromas spark memories, creating a sense of attachment to the environment; the view of the picturesque garden with ample healing daylight filtering its harmonious colours; and the melodic sounds of the music coming from the speakers above all serve as a vehicle between the visitor and nature.
With the senses engaged, the visitor is fully immersed in the experience of nature, creating an interactive experience, as industrial designer Jinsop Lee said during in his TED talk - “The most intense experiences in a person’s life tend to combine the five senses.” Technology, architecture, and biophila turn Zighizaghi into an intimate multisensory sanctuary where Favara citizens can rejuvenate.
Video courtesy of OFL Architecture
Through the senses, designers and developers can create more enriching experiences that improve people’s overall wellbeing and create a sense of place. Sensory stimulation can be applied to a plethora of industries to create more enjoyable experiences - benefitting both businesses and consumers.