Making sense of color is Google's exhibition at FuoriSalone 2024: we asked its creators to tell us about it

Google is not the name of a brand but a verb. Or perhaps the verb, when talking about interaction and tech design. Its presence at the FuoriSalone 2024 in Milan is therefore no surprise.

This year the focus of Google search is color and its sensorial qualities, staged in a site-specific installation that promises wonder through a multi-sensory journey with high technological content.

Google's vice-president of the hardware design team Ivy Ross, her team and the arts+research Chormasonic laboratory designed a space in where to experience the chromatic vibration through a multisensory and hi-tech project, to experiment withthe most ethereal and sensitive part of color until arriving at its materiality. A lot of technology and the savoir-faire of one of the most influential design teams in the world serving the design fan base for the third time since 2019.

We asked Ivy Ross and Chromasonic to tell us about Making sense of color.

What will we see at Making Sense of Color?

Chromasonic: “Visitors will experience Chromasonic's Sensory Field, a light and sound installation composed of translucent rooms that create a vast array of interconnected spaces.

As colored light ebbs and flows through space, algorithmically linked sound waves fill the atmospheric environment: color becomes audible and sound becomes visible. Participants will experience greater awareness of their senses.”

Color and its perception are apparently the focus of Making Sense of Color. Why did Google choose this theme?

Ivy Ross: "At the Google Hardware Design Studio we always consider the sensory nature of what we design, and color is a fundamental part. So this year at the Show we wanted to explore the nature of color. We asked ourselves: what do colors sound, feel, taste, smell and look like?

Each color transmits a different vibration. That vibration has a biological and psychological effect on us.

Color gives life a boost. Color resonates with vivacity, embodies energy and has both a physiological and psychological influence on us because it evokes different emotions. We're going through major upheavals globally right now, so understanding the power of color and its different properties felt very relevant to us."

What was the most difficult part of the installation design process?

Chromasonic: “One of the biggest challenges when working on this scale is creating a material expression to achieve an immaterial experience.

We achieve this through spatial designs where the interactions of light and material can make space seem large and limitless or closed and internal.

We use in-house technology to support all phases of the design, including real-time visualization software and audio-spatial technologies to help pre-visualize the installation and the experiences it contains.”

Making sense of color be a transformative experience for visitors?

Ivy Ross: “We're pretty sure. Color can change body temperature, influence our thinking and our mood. It activates some parts of the brain and sedates others. It also affects our breathing, blood pressure and brain waves.

The experience created by the Chromasonic art and research laboratory is totally immersive and eliminates the boundaries between sound and color to create an astonishing experience. Visitors will leave the exhibition in a state of wonder, as well as with some physiological and neurological parameters modified by the experience. The amazement and pleasure are thanks to the exhibition, the rest is completely physiological and temporary."

Chromasonic: “We create experiential spaces that connect color and sound through art and science for well-being. Visitors regularly express feelings of increased presence, awe, wonder, relaxation and even happiness.

We are conducting neuroscientific research to better understand this phenomenon. We plan to bring both temporary installations, such asSensory Field, and permanent sites, called Satellites, to neighborhoods in cities around the world so that the public can benefit from this new, simple sensory practice.

Why is it important for Google to participate in Milan Design Week?

Ivy Ross: “We believe that the FuoriSalone is the best showcase for design because it attracts a cultured international audience aware of the importance of design disciplines. It is the best place to share the thinking of the Google Hardware Design group with the world."