At the time of writing this, we are developing our next dining concept entitled; Synaesthesia. This concept will see us return to a more full-on multisensory experience, with a strong focus on flavours, textures, colours, aromas and temperatures. The project has been underway for the last couple of months and we have been working with Professor Charles Spence and his team at the Cross Modal department at Oxford University, as well as Dr. Sean Day and Dr. Richard Cytowic
Synaesthesia (British spelling) is a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. In complete non-scientific terms it’s almost as if some of your senses are cross connected. So for instance a particular sound may involuntarily trigger a ‘synesthete’ (a person who report such experiences) to visually ‘see’ a colour – whether they see it in their mind or as being projected or screened in front of them. Other forms of synesthesia can include colour to letter/word associations, sound to taste (in which particular words trigger actual flavours in the synesthete’s mouth. One of the most curious cases was of Michael Watson who could ‘feel’ flavours! He could actually physically feel different shapes and textures which differed according to what he was eating….
Synesthetes generally have very distinct and individualistic associations, so no two synethetes have identical associations. For this reason among others synesthesia has only recently re-surfaced as area of scientific research, having been considered to0 ‘inexact’ or uncertain’ of a topic for any accomplished scientists to want to study, that is since it was popular in the 1800s and since become popular again in the last couple of decades.
So I could go on and on about this, but I think it would do the topic far more justice if I now refer you to an animated intro to synaesthesia by Richard E. Cytowic one of our esteemed collaborators and sources of research in developing the concept for our Synaesthesia by Kitchen Theory multisensory dining experiences. And if you have a genuine interest in this topic a must read is Dr. Cytowic‘s book Monday is Indigo Blue