sensorial sanctuary - dutch design week 2021

Living and working from home

Last year the coronavirus suddenly forced millions of people worldwide to work from home. Some people find it disastrous; others see benefits. The boundaries between work and private life have become blurred, and communication lost a certain spontaneity. At the same time, the new reality saves people hours of travelling per week and gives more freedom to organize the working day to personal needs.

The situation has led to new insights into how we work and brought significant change that cannot be reversed simply. What if we have to work from home on a structural basis? This brings new dynamics and challenges for which ready-made answers do not yet exist. Design can make a big difference in realizing an effective and pleasant environment to do so.

The Netherlands and South Korea are organizing various projects in 2021 to mark the 60th anniversary of the diplomatic relationship between both countries. Dutch Design Week collaborated with Seoul Design Festival on a cross-cultural design program: Living and working from home. Therefore they have selected three Korean and three Dutch designers to work on the subject: Living and working from home. The designers formed teams, matching a Dutch and a South Korean design studio. During four months, the international teams collaborated digitally on one of the themes: workplace, public/private, and phygital. During Dutch Design Week 2021 the physical results of this digital collaboration will be on show. 

Together with designer Dayoung Hwang, I've developed the concept 'Sensorial Sanctuary'.
Sensorial Sanctuary is a space where you can work or relax. The space is based on the idea that our bodies require different stimuli at different times of the day. Whether you need deep focus and concentration, a moment of relaxation to recharge yourself, or a stimulating and creative environment to have online meetings and interaction; this space has it all. Next to integrating Biophilic Design principles and the Attention Restoration Theory, we applied our expertise, experience, and sensitivity to develop this sensorial space.

We curated and created six curtains with various acoustic and sensory qualities. These can be combined in different ways to create a suitable atmosphere for each situation. Additionally, we designed an organically shaped desk that radiates tranquillity but is also playful and cheerful. And to enhance various moods and activities, scents are used to activate or relax the user.

This installation was on show during Dutch Design Week 2021 (16 -24 October '21) in Klokgebouw - Hal 3, Strijp-S. 
More information can be found at

This installation is made possible by: Kvadrat, Iscent and mokoh meubelmakerij.

Visuals: Claudia Berndsen