A Matter of Taste

Client: Experimenta gGmbH

Year: 2022

Museums and exhibitions

Why do we like what we like? The topic of "taste" is complex. Almost every decision we make is influenced by our taste. They are based on upbringing, culture, social status, genetics and individual experiences. This knowledge is grounded in the findings of numerous scientific disciplines whose research deals with the subject of taste: Psychology, biology, social and economic sciences, neuroscience. So what do we know about our taste and taste formation? How has the subject been scientifically researched - physiologically, psychologically and socially? The experimenta in Heilbronn - the largest science center in Germany - wants to get answers to these questions within the framework of a special exhibition. 

Our task was therefore to find a motif that combines thematic diversity, a real-life connection, attractive design and playful interactions in a stringent manner and at the same time dissolves the seriousness of the topic with a "wink". How do all everyday topics fit in? Where does the question of personal taste become concrete? Our creative approach: the topic is presented in the setting of the colorful world of goods.

And of course, an exhibition on the subject of taste must also pose the question of taste itself. With its graphic language and the design of the exhibition, the Mall of Taste makes a tongue-in-cheek reference to the "decade of bad taste" - the 1980s, the era of postmodernism. A contemporary interpretation of this time of wild colors and shapes, carrot trousers, shoulder pads, leggings and puffed sleeves. Even in product design, the principle at the time was: more colorful, flashier, bigger.

Today, the colors and shapes of the 80s are back in fashion and the style-defining Memphis design is back in style. Current fashion and interior design trends, as well as hit series such as "Stranger Things", bear witness to this. The choice of this "wild" design principle is therefore in line with the trend, but is also intended to deliberately polarize. When it comes to "taste", we consider a design of consensus that defies discussion to be inappropriate.


Each of the five subject areas covered in the exhibition is presented under a rotunda suspended from the ceiling. These themed islands differ not only in terms of content, but also in terms of color, form and typography. In their entirety, the consistently differently designed exhibition units stand for the diversity of design possibilities offered by Memphis design and thus exhibit a common design language despite their diversity. This variety and diversity is highly "instagrammable" and offers countless opportunities for colorful selfies and photos.

Junge Frau bei der Experimenta Geschmacksfragen

We translate scientific phenomena into analog self-experimentation: in the "Food" area, exploring a biological phenomenon such as the retronasal effect with your own senses and in the company of friends becomes a surprising, but also fun and bonding experience. Sweets specially made for the exhibition not only make you laugh at the "Schweppes face" of your friends, but you also experience on your own body that we have four nostrils, that we only perceive little taste on the tongue and that we taste better when we exhale than when we inhale.

Visitors gradually discover five stores in the Mall of Taste. Each of these individually designed islands contains exhibits that always deal with one of the topics that challenge us every day, trigger discussions and make us argue about taste: Food, Music, Fashion, Living and Love.

Blauer Kissen mit Text

The playful interactions, learning through discovery, targeted media changes and realistic themes make the exhibition an educationally and socially sustainable exhibition experience.

Karte mit dem Text Mall of Taste

What is more important in a mall than a "credit card"? Each visitor is given one at the log-in station. It acts as a kind of admission ticket to the digital exhibits and enables the content to be addressed personally and displayed in the desired language selected in advance. Visitors start their interactive journey of discovery through the world of taste in proper style - credit card in hand. They can repeatedly make "taste decisions" along the way, take part in small surveys and also view the respective decisions of the average visitor.

What they don't know is that the credit card is much more than the simple personalization of the exhibition, it opens up a world of data. The card stores query results, selected favorite colors, or even the length of stay - in short, the traces of taste that visitors leave behind at each exhibit.

Ausstellungsauszug der Experimenta Geschmacksfragen

When visitors enter the final installation "Unite in Taste" after their shopping tour and place their card on the display, they receive a visual taste profile based on their own data traces - an abstract image of our taste.

Anyone who wants to can now take another look at their own decisions, the comparisons with the average visitor, funny taste correlations or even scientific findings on personality that researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics have extracted from the data. An entertaining reflection on our own taste, which also makes clear what the decisions we make in everyday life - our data - reveal to others about our own personality.