Influencing behaviour through design has positive effects on society at large, and it can be quite rewarding too.

For a long time, companies, especially those involved in customer-facing businesses, have relied on designers to create the ultimate customer experience, recognising that human behaviour is influenced by the physical environment. Developers are now seeking to design their shopping and apartment projects to create a similar personalised experience that would encourage customers to engage with the space.

So how can developers create spaces even more acutely tailored to their visitors and residents?

“Experiential Design,” says Turner’s Aniss Adler who explains that thoughtfully designing a person’s experience within a space can elicit feelings and memories, and even induce certain behaviours desired by a developer or brand. For instance, a customer can be persuaded to spend in a retail space, which has been successfully activated through Experiential Design.

Adler, an experienced art director and graphic designer, heads Turner’s Experiential Design department, which she built from the ground up. The department is a new service recently launched by the leading Sydney-based architecture and design studio.

The Experiential Design team works on a broad range of activities from lighting design, wayfinding and place branding, through to public art strategy and creation. Adler explains that Experiential Design stands out from other built environment services for its seamless integration of design features within a space, unlike developments where public art, wayfinding, landscaping and lighting features are typically “tacked on” at the end of the project.

“There’s a foyer or hallway that needs to be filled and there’s little consideration for how a visitor to the space will interact with it,” she says.

“Experiential Design can counteract that. Integrating Experiential Design into a development from the start leads to places that feel good, are easy to navigate, spark joy or curiosity, and are memorable.”

While some of Turner’s clients were initially a bit sceptical of the service, Experiential Design is gaining popularity with developers in particular, seeing results.

“Now, those same clients insist my team sits in on every meeting from a project’s inception. Utilising Experiential Design on a mixed-use, residential or commercial development early on can have a big impact on the project’s success and the way people interact with and experience a place. This leads to increased demand for the ‘product’ (an apartment or retail tenancies for example).”

According to Adler, a well-designed shopping precinct that employs Experiential Design can improve foot traffic for retailers, increase safety and decrease crime through the strategic placement of lighting and wayfinding.

“People’s expectations of design have changed. We all want to live in places that are designed well for us and for our families.

“Our goal is to create what I call ‘optimistic spaces’ – spaces that are thoughtfully designed and built to promote a positive future.”