Taste can be sensed by the touch, not only by the tongue, according to the Denmark-based designer Martyna Barbara Golik. She hand crafted a collection, “Touch That Taste”, that includes five objects made in several techniques, representing different tastes. The idea emerged from Golik’s interest in the human senses. She discovered that people experience the world through the senses in two different ways: while taste and smell “insert” the world inside the body, touch and vision explore the world from an outside perspective. Golik wanted to break this divide.
She used food as a metaphor for a stimulating and exciting experience of the world, and wanted to translate this experience into fabric. In her research, she discovered the neurological aspects of sensual feelings. She explored the ways in which the brain understand the world through the senses, and was especially interested in a neurological disorder where stimulation of one sense causes an automatic experience in another. “In Touch That Taste,” she says, “I was mostly interested in the kind of synaesthesia called gustatory synaesthesia where senses of taste and smell merge with other senses, so for instance a gustatory synaesthete would be able to “touch” food instead of tasting it.”
Following experiments conducted with a group of ten people who told her about their mental associations linked with different tastes, Golik created five items that translate taste into textile products. The Umami carpet combines natural and artificial materials in tufting technique meant to convey the curious feeling stimulated by the umami taste. The Sweet pouf is mostly made of memory foam – one of Golik’s favourite materials. The Salty room divider is made of wool fabrics attached to polyester fabrics that represent the multilayer character of salty taste.
“Sour was associated by the experiment participants with energy, dynamism and playfulness”, says Golik. Therefore, the Sour blanket is made of fringy wool fabric, partly dipped in liquid rubber, which gives it a unique itchy feeling to the touch. The Bitter slippers are both comfortable and unpleasant, made of carved foam and felt with an invisible part – 2 kg of steel hid on each slipper.