2016 Design Forecast LIVE: The Future of Experience

By Gensler On Editorial Team

Originally published on GenslerOn

Experience—the sum of our interactions with the world around us—is increasingly the focus of design. As Gensler’s Tom Ito told participants at our June 2016 Design Forecast LIVE event, “Consumers are smarter and savvier than they ever were before in their expectations about experiences—so a one line note, forget it.”

This is why mixed use is virtually the norm today, and why remixing is the future—not just to redevelop existing single-use and mixed-use projects, but also to design new ones so they can more readily flex as market demands change around them.

Experience is how brand leaders keep their edge. Looking past its hugely loyal fan base, Harley-Davidson asked how it could capture a millennial following. The hook is personal freedom, but the bike is electric—electric in a livewire sense, down to the sound effects.

Since the Renaissance, architects have tried to share the spatial experience of their work with their clients during the design process. Michelangelo built huge wooden models of St. Peter’s to show the Pope. “With augmented reality and virtual reality, we can now put clients in those spaces early in the design process,” Gensler’s Alan Robles explains. He sees the technology supporting collaborative experiential design within five years.

For the Los Angeles-based executive producer Alisa Tager, “fictional thinking” is the way design breaks free of immediate constraints to envision something genuinely new. This is a necessity because “we don’t live in incremental times”—the pace of change is too fast for purely evolutionary strategies. Ignoring limits frees minds to look beyond them.

The growing importance of experience reflects this shift, adds Gensler’s Irwin Miller. It’s why Gensler has made Experiential Design an important research focus. The aim is tie design to human behavior—a goal that goes applies to Live and Work, not just Play.

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