pants anticipated to be on-site per test period? A minimum of three booths is required
for independent evaluations, with six to 10
considered a medium-size facility, and 12
to 24 in large facilities. (Keeping booths in
groups of six to eight is the most efficient
design module.) Since these spaces can be
expensive square footage to build, try not to
build too many or too few.
• Lasting impressions. The consumer
sensory lab may be the principal or only
interface the public may have with your
company and/or products outside of the
marketplace. What do you want the experience to be for the testers? Institutional,
corporate or residential? What impression
do you want them to take away from the
visit to your site? These can all have an effect
on a consumers’ or clients’ perception not
only of the products being tested, but also
your company as a whole.
DATA COLLECTION AND PROCESSING
In addition to all the physical, environ-
mental and operational design consider-
ations of your consumer sensory lab, having
suitable data collection and processing
infrastructure in place is similarly import-
ant. Consider the potential need for direct
data entry capabilities, additional office
space and/or test sample storage as a part of
the sensory lab design. Being able to actively
gather and manage data at the point of
collection increases data reliability, as well as
the productivity of staff.
LOOK AT SPECIFIC LAB NEEDS
As with most things, specific product types
have special considerations that must be
addressed within the design of a sensory lab.
For example, if a product is evaluated for its
fragrance, special accommodations should
be made to block/neutralize outside odors.
For example, is a shower needed so panelists
can be clean of all scents prior to a fragrance
test? For food and beverage evaluations,
small sinks may be a requirement, whereas
beauty or grooming evaluations may require
mirrors, electrical outlets and sinks.
DESIGNING A SENSORY SPACE
A few years ago, Mane Inc., an interna-
tional flavor and fragrance manufacturing
firm, experienced first-hand the complex-
ities involved with building a state-of-
the-art sensory lab. As part of its North
American headquarters re-design, Mane
worked with Hixson to develop a consumer
insights/sensory services testing center. The
center, which enables Mane to gather their
own consumer data to use in developing
products with clients, contains an array of
technical equipment to capture even the
most subtle reactions from testers, both in
the cubicles and in the focus group room.
There’s no doubt consumer sensory labs
can have a significant impact on improving
a product’s success rate and can provide
the companies that build them competitive
advantages. Yet, the complexities involved
in building such a lab are many. Therefore,
it’s important to carefully consider the operating logistics and testing protocols when
planning a sensory lab to achieve maximum
benefit from your investment.
Roselia Harris, LEED AP ID+C, is a Senior
Interior Designer at Hixson Architecture,
Engineering Interiors. In this role, Harris, who
is certified by the National Council for Interior
Design Qualification (NCIDQ), is responsible for contributing to the conceptual design
and design development phases, interacting
with clients and coordinating construction
LaboratoryDesign|MAY|JUNE 2015 24
The I2SL Annual Conference remains the country’s premier sustainability training and exposition for
those who design, build, own, and operate sustainable laboratories and other high-tech buildings.
Learn more at: www.i2sl.org/conference/2015/index.html.
Connect With I2SL in Southern California
Join us for the 2015 I2SL Annual Conference, taking place at the Hyatt
Regency Mission Bay in San Diego, California. The event provides a
unique opportunity for your organization to meet with high-tech facility
designers, engineers, owners, managers, users, and vendors. Here are
just a few ways to participate.
Make the most of your conference time.
Kick off the conference with a half-day training session on efficient
ventilation, exhaust strategies, or engaging users on lab campuses.
Then explore facilities in the area by joining a tour of the J. Craig
Venter Institute or an architectural tour of the Salk Institute.
Reserve your space in the Technology and Services Fair.
The exhibit hall is more than half full, so sign up now while booths are
available. I2SL’s onsite mobile application makes it easy for attendees to
access information about exhibiting organizations, connect with staff,
and find booths in the exhibit hall.
Submit nominations for Go Beyond Awards.
These awards recognize excellence in sustainability in laboratory
and other high-tech facilities. Submit your nominations for deserving
individuals, products, or projects by June 30.
San Diego, California