Terrarium Land
"New Haddo Sensory Community Garden"

Hisang Ju Huang

Hsiang Ju is a multi-disciplinary  Interaction Designer who is keen on exploring the possibilities of human interaction with the environment through design thinking. Carrying out methodical research to define, design, and deliver great experiences that add value to users.

Hsiangju43 @gmail.com

Can you recognize the edible plants that we eat almost every day?
How does it feel when you touch it?
What does it smell like?

The project collaborates with The Design Charity,
we designed a sensory community garden near the Greenwich station which focus on stimulating, exciting and inspiring children with hearing loss' senses by introducing them to smell the odour, feel the texture, taste the flavour and experience in a way that brings a real immersive learning landscape to them and any who visits.

This is a plant snifter that supports teachers to educate deaf children to be familiar with scented plants in the natural scenario while they explore the unique fragrance of different plants by enhancing their sense of smell through the tubes which connect to the plants. 

︎︎︎ Collaborate: The Design Charity/ New Haddo Community
︎︎︎ Role:Interaction designer
︎︎︎ Location: New Haddo Garden (Greenwich station)
︎︎︎ User: Children with hearing loss

Firstly, we would like to create a garden that plays to their strengths and engage with these working senses
Secondly, construct the learning landscape which makes them reconnect with nature and the community, Since "Only 20 percent of a child’s waking time is spent inside of a classroom. To maximize the “other 80 percent of time and transform everyday outdoor learning environments into fun, engaging learning opportunities that extend education into the public realm, create vibrant public spaces"
Thirdly, bring people together and enhance learning and tutor interaction in order to generate a sense of community ownership

User Research
According to the study shows that Instead of spending the metaphorical "processing power" on auditory stimuli, the power is directed more toward smell, touch and vision. Clear sightlines are quite important for them so everyone can participate in the visual conversation. That is the reason that I decided to use the sensory approach in designing the garden

User & Expert Interview
From the interview with Miss Abbygail,  "The deaf pupils in the Deaf Centre LOVE being outside and we have a lot of conversations about the natural world. The children were keen to see what grew."
It not only approved some of the research that I have done so far but also inspired me the insight of utilizing the natural elements that came from the environment as a part of learning material which also matches the purpose of the learning landscape.
From the conversation with Miss Sophie, she mentioned that "There are the obvious benefits of growing locally like reconnecting with food, thinking more about where it comes from, and what impact that has on not only their health but also that was the planet."

Final Outcome
I designed the scented plant area to enhance the olfactory experience, placing some herb plants that we often eat in our daily lives but never know where are from, how do the original plants look like?
such as rosemary, coriander, basil, mint, thyme...
The other area is a plant area that offers a variety of textures, such as stone lotus with thick petals and Boston fern with fine leafy texture. The soft soil, grass in the natural environment are also part of the sensory garden.

Firstly, burrowing into the dome shape of scent exploration space where looks like a magic tree hole, the scent of plants can be smelled through the tube that is connected to some of the plants outside.
Secondly, the teacher will guide the conversation and let the students guess the function of plants which is a way to build up the connection between real scented plants and experiences in their daily life. E.g. What kinds of scented plants do we usually use for making pasta's sauce? Then children will smell around, and guess what is the correct plants also describe the smell.
Thirdly, students can choose to pluck a piece of leaf from their favourite herb and put it into the aroma diffuser. The moisture will be filled with the natural scent of the plant in the dome, deepening the memory of the herb in the child's mind again.
Finally, they can add the herb in lemonade to enhance the flavour and enjoy the drink.

Smell plays roles in our lives of which we may not be aware. “our olfactory receptors have strong input into the amygdala, which is the emotional centre of our brain. So scent — in addition to forming and triggering memories — makes you feel things about our past experiences.” It showed that smelling scent can help to recall their memory, so when they smell the scented plants, it might come out some associated memory in their mind.

**Welcome to my exhibition to discover our palette of natural simple and fresh scents then make a personalised scented mini bottle that is uniquely yours!**