2015 Inception Award | Eden Ranelli

Manipulated Perception

A Narrative

Manipulate// to control or influence.

Perception// the ability to become aware of something through the senses.

Manipulated Perception is a project exploring the ability to control or influence what information an interior provides its occupants, impacting the experiences formed, developed through our senses. It focuses on the relationship between vision and lighting through a full installation design aiming to manipulate the interior architecture kit of parts- lighting- to challenge our visual expectations of space through communication of a narrative.

exploring the ability to control or influence what information an interior provides its occupants

Volume one explored the dominance and hierarchy of vision within the sensory realm and its negative in uences on our connection to the built environment. It questioned how our perception of space is formed by past experiences, preconceptions and expectations, developed through the minds eye. It aimed to seek information on how our dominant mechanism and sense of vision (biologically and culturally) could be manipulated in order to challenge the perception of space researched through narrative.

This project expands on volume one, looking at narrative and sensorial perception as sense- making techniques within an interior. It does not focus on disregarding vision and its dominance, but questions how we can take advantage of this preeminent aspect of our everyday life, aspiring to recon gure and transform space through visual trickery.

The installation explores the interior as a silent communicator of a narrative, in this case, of manipulated perception [explored and documented in volume one]. Done through three phases of testing, Gestalt Principles- Rei cation, Emergence, Multistability and Invariance, were applied to the nal phase, the design, to ultimately embody all discovered techniques for the communication of the narrative. Its goal is to confront occupants perceptions and expectations of an interior space, creating an interior that is not visited, but a place that can be moved through and experienced, challenging occupants to think differently about the spaces they encounter.

The project sets out to look at visual contact in the world as ‘lived-out’ experiences instead of ‘thought- out’. The use of visual cues is a strong method in reaching out to an audience especially that of an interior. They provide information and lead to the unfolding of spatial experience, influencing the perception of the encountered interior. Essentially, perception is in uenced by our attraction to certain visual cues, influencing and re-creating the way space is experienced (Belova 2006).

A narrative of an interior is made between a person and the environment, where the designer’s communication of this narrative is embedded into the interior. It is our perception of visual cues that create understanding and interpretation of this spatial encounter. It is true that the information of an interior and its experience gained by all the senses is richer than that received by vision alone but discovered through explorations, vision becomes the initial information provider, triggering an awareness of interior surroundings that generate a response from the other four senses (Brook 2002).

Written narratives were used to describe and document experiences of manipulated perception (Vol I). This project synthesized all narratives and their data to create a narrative based on the most re- occurring and strong plot points. In ne arts, the de nition of a narrative is the representation of a story, pictorially or sculpturally (Oxford University Press 2015). Therefore the aim was to transform this written storyline or ‘design brief’ into an interior space, communicated by the discovered lighting techniques and their association with each plot point in the narrative.

The Interior becomes the performance of design, where it is not what lls the space to create an experience but what generates it.

Video Link:


Belova, Olga. 2006. The Event of Seeing: A Phenomenological Perspective on Visual Sense Making. Culture and Organization.

Brook, Isis. 2002. Experiencing Interiors: Ocularcentrism and Merleau- Ponty’s Redeeming of the Role of Vision. Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology.

Oxford Dictionary. 2015. ‘Narrative’.