Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts


Interior Design

First Advisor

Roberto Ventura

Second Advisor

Sara Reed

Third Advisor

Camden Whitehead

Fourth Advisor

Emily Smith

Fifth Advisor

Lexy Holcombe

Sixth Advisor

Robert Smith


The senses are mainly a source of arousal, enjoyment and pain and are of vital importance for the human body. They are also important because sensory perception is typical of many cultural artifacts and is given unique intensities and extensions, shapes and meanings through them (Heywood, 2017). As Finnish architect Juhani Pallasmaa stated, “architecture is the art of reconciliation between ourselves and the world, and this mediation takes place through the senses” (Pallasmaa, 2012). To make architecture truly meaningful, it should be able to awaken all the senses.

The way we feel, smell, and even taste is hard to capture. This difficulty points to the deep-rooted position of visual tyranny (Lupton & Lipps, 2018, p. 14). Sensory studies incorporate a sensory approach to culture, the challenge here being to give full weight to the role of the senses in cultural life. It also includes a cultural approach to the senses, where this suggests setting impacts and uses of the senses within their cultural context, especially in how they are given and contributing to shared meanings (Heywood, 2017, p. 1).

Richmond’s history has been intertwined with beer culture going back more than 150 years (Visit Richmond, 2018). Nowadays, people have the opportunity to visit the brewhouse to see the brewing process and enjoy the finished brewed beer. However, they can only see the equipment and the repeated operation of the workers, and cannot participate in it to feel the charm of the craft beer culture.

To utilize the interest in local craft beer culture, sensory design will be incorporated into the interior design. From the sense of the human body, sight, taste, smell and touch, it stimulates the sensory functions of beer lovers at multiple levels, enabling consumers to understand the brewing process of beer more realistically and deeply.

The plan is to carefully dissect several precedent studies concerning breweries, wine museums, cellars, and roastery. Previous studies include The Therme Vals by Peter Zumthor, Antinori Winery by Archea Associati and Surly Brewing MSP by HGA. In-depth interviews with employees of Hardywood Park Craft Brewery and Stone Brewery, local beer lovers and local designers who have designed breweries will be included in my methods of research. Researching designers who focus on sensory design, including Juhani Pallasmaa, Steven Holl and Peter Zumthor, will also be key.

Sensory design or consciously designing a full range of sensory experiences can better connect us to the physical world and help people find the right place. The multi-sensory design concept not only brings a tactile experience to consumers, but also makes people feel sublimated in their hearts, realizes the integration of information, and maximizes the expression of product information.

The idea is to create a maker space of craft beer, which integrates education, production and entertainment. Here people can learn about the local craft beer history, participate in the beer brewing process through vision, smell, taste and sound, and absorb the knowledge of beer. During the process of experience and interaction, they could make their beer and even participate in the design of beer containers and packaging design, which allows people to experience a process from learning, production, designing to purchasing.


© Zishan Zeng

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VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission