Recent studies have shown that out of our five senses (sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing), sight receives the most attention in restaurant interior design.

Customers go to restaurants, not only enjoy food, but also for communication, business negotiation, and other social activities. Therefore, restaurants provide the integrated functions of dining room, living room, meeting room, and even courtyard and playground.

In interior design practice, sight generally plays a dominant role. Designers focus their attention on colour, materials, formation, illumination, and so on, however, other senses, such as odour, hearing and touch, generally aren’t considered. Here at CADA Design, we strive to design spaces that engage with their audience. We do this by coming up with new, innovative ways to shop or experience food.

Our recent design for Danish supermarket, MAD Cooperativet, has been well received amongst its audience. CADA transformed a section of Copenhagen’s Grand Central Station into a revolutionary concept store. CADA introduced a live TV kitchen, tasting stations and ‘grab and go’ recipe stand to invite customers to engage with the space.

CADA are currently working on an international project, where we will explore the effects of scent within design. How much power does scent really have? With it provoke feelings of nostalgia or intrigue? Or are people less likely to acknowledge scent?

We looked into other retail concepts that have used scent to sell…


Dust, Melbourne. Image courtesy of

Dust - Melbourne2

Dust, Melbourne. Image courtesy of


Dust, Melbourne. Image courtesy of

Australian lifestyle store, Dust, has created a multi-sensory retail environment that compliments its interior and fashion range. The SIBLING designed space is divided into five sections, each corresponding with one of our five senses. By the February they’ll  be stocking their full range of vinyl, Japanese teas and printed matter. Until then they’re unveiling a selection of fragrances and candles from their ‘S(c)entir’ scent division and annex, a pre-collection from DUST head designer Adam Wood featuring garments made from Japanese-milled 100 per cent cotton with graphic prints created by both in-house and guest designers, including Annie Wu of Article clothing.

Fragrance Lab - Selfridges

Selfridges Fragrance Lab, London. Image courtesy of

Fragrance Lab - Selfridges2

Selfridges Fragrance Lab, London. Image courtesy of Dezeen

The Fragrance Lab at Selfridges launched in May last year. It was an immersive experience created by Campaign and The Future Laboratory that looked at building scents that matched customer personalities. The installation was an audio-guided journey through a series of space designed to heighten the senses.

The existing concept store was transformed into a white laboratory-like space, complete with assistants in lab coats. Visitors were encouraged to interact with the items along their journey through the lab and their reactions to the space determined a clear picture of their personality.

The experience cost £65 with your chosen scent included. “With the changes to retail, we wanted to challenge how we can merge the experiences of online and in-store into the retail environment,” said Handford…and they certainly did.

Illuminum - London

The Illuminum, London – Photo © Antonino Cardillo architect


The Illuminum, London – Photo © Antonino Cardillo architect

Illuminum London collaborated with architect Antonino Cardillo back in May this year. Together, they have explored the

relationship between scent, colour and texture. Illuminium stated, “Texture and colour are deeply embedded in our perception of scent. Dry, rounded, cold and even cutting…describing a scent through texture can often feel more relevant than quoting an ingredient”

The walls are made from volcanic ash, sourced from Mount Vesuvius, offering a strange acoustic and encouraging a more physical and instinctive experience of the scent.

The scents are suspended from the ceiling by a single black thread and are encased in thirty-seven different glass forms. Enclosed are colours revealed by the fragrances. By stripping out all visual distractions, Illuminum accentuates the scent of the perfume and creates a powerful retail experience.

CADA understand that odour is a key motivational factor in human behaviour, playing a critical role in behaviour patterns. Smell affects areas of the brain that deal with emotions, feelings, and motivation, which can lead to a specific behavioural response. Whether it is retail design or restaurant and bar, scent has the power to encourage people to buy things. It is inviting and is fast becoming a key part of retail/hospitality design.

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