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Experimental Design

Juliette Coquet

Juliette Coquet is a multidisciplinary designer — focusing on art direction for physical and digital experiences — based in Paris and London. After completing her graphic design MA at the ENSAAMA in Paris with a project combining graphic design, VR and installation, she moved to London to study design research methods and the creation of installations at the Royal College of Art.
In her work, she explores with humour cultural and anthropological topics she gets from her readings and her daily life.

She has exhibited at the V&A Museum of Childhood (July 2019) and at the Royal Academy (December 2018). 

Her practice also involves creating experimental video games and virtual reality experiences with a group of friends from IED.




Degree Details

School of Communication

Experimental Design

Originally trained as a graphic designer, I know how to communicate an idea through a window. However, for the past few years, I left aside paper and screens and started working on spatial and interactive experiences. I wanted the audience of my work not only being a spectator but fully interact with it. During my MA, I started thinking about how to communicate information by involving the whole body of my audience. I draw on video games, science and literature to build playful sensory experiences and simulated environments. I build my work mainly thinking about the journey of my audience. My curiosity always leads me to learn and experiment with new tools and processes, technology and materials.

On Blandness, is situated within data-collection, material and colour research, and sensory installation. The word ‘blandness’ — that I simply spotted in an article — led me to work across the mediums for an entire year, to explore its aspects and fully understand it. My point is to make my audience mindful of blandness and show how important it is sometimes to pay attention to something that does not seem to deserve it. 

Bland Colours

Falling Tofu

Falling Tofu

The day I made tofu - silent video

Tofu Detail

Tofu Environment

Launch Project

My Research Website

Blandness, by definition, is the image of something missing : it can be a lack of taste, a lack of colour, a lack of character… Due to its negative connotation, we tend to forget its value, this moment when the opposites balance each other and make other senses available. A lack of taste, for example, may allow other softer feelings of texture and temperature.

At all stages, this project aims to invite the audience to think and experience what may seem impossible: the richness of a bland texture, a bland sound, a bland smell, a bland colour and a bland taste. Make people mindful of blandness by asking them to pay attention to something that does not at first seem to deserve it.
3DBlandnesscolourFoodFood DesignMultisensoryResearchSensesTofu

You are in a Block of Tofu, preparatory drawing, 2020

You are in a Block of Tofu, Work In Progress Show, Royal College of Art, 2020

You are in a Block of Tofu, Work In Progress Show, Royal College of Art, 2020

"It is 9am / 12pm / 7pm, you are in front of your TV / at the canteen / on a plane. This is meal time. You find the food very bland."

'You are in a Block of Tofu' is the first iteration of an installation creating a bland environment using the characteristics of tofu.


plain MDF, softwood timbers, soft white upholstery foam, high-density polyethylene fibre, white polystyrene, tofu-coloured paint, neutral paper

theblandaromaswheel 2

Sensory Evaluation — pages 1, 2

Sensory Evaluation — pages 4, 5

Sensory Evaluation — pages 6, 7

Does blandness come from the food or the eater?

I carried out research to answer this question. I was planning some in-person data collection but I had to re-imagine it because of Covid-19. I looked for a different method to collect data. I had a look to wine tasting sensory evaluations. I asked someone used to take part in this kind of experience to provide me some documentation and I got my hands on a print-out document of a dozen pages. I borrowed from this document to build categories and vocabulary. Then I chose to extend it to all the senses by adding sound and touch aspect.

I recruited 11 participants to carry out this multi-sensory test, 6 persons doing oatmeal sensory evaluation and 5 other persons doing rice. Being common food they are easy to find in our kitchens without having to go out, they are also the most likely dishes not eaten by themselves.

I questioned the senses of the participants and their environment. The final question asked them to rate the food on a scale from 1 (not bland) to 5 (really bland).

The Bland Dinner, illustration, 2020

The Bland Dinner — outside, 3D render, 2020

The Bland Dinner — inside, 3D render, 2020

The Bland Dinner — entrance, 3D render, 2020

The Bland Dinner — structure, 3D render, 2020

The Bland Dinner — isometric view, illustration, 2020

The Bland Dinner — tray, 3D render, 2020

A gourmet might want to be mindful of blandness.

In a [starred] restaurant, a table of four would be set aside from the other tables. The bland dinner is not to be lived as a one-dining experience neither it is to be lived as a large group. The table is placed on an off-white foam carpet. The latter has to be a little bit moist.

The table and the carpet are placed within a rectangular structure with unclear edges. It is made of off-white elastic fabric stretched over a white painted structure. [It creates a monotonous, pale, and monochromatic environment.] A fabric divider separate the guests. They are not meant to talk during the meal, they will compare their experiences of blandness after.

The table and the chairs have the most ordinary design possible. The light is dimmed.
As they wait to be served, diners may listen to the murmur of bland sound or explore the surrounding textures. They may also observe the blurred and pale silhouette of their fellow diners.

A meal is served to them. It is made up of pure, nebulous, diluted flavours:
an egg white marshmallow, lightly seasoned with a vinaigrette of smoked herring*, a piece of tofu cooked fuwa fuwa* or an aubergine from both shores; an aubergine in a miso mousseline*.

The dishes are served on an off-white/pale yellow glossy plastic tray. Plastic cutlery is made available to the guests but as the desire of understanding blandness moves them, they may start to eat without them.


*Recipe by Alexandre Gauthier, La Grenouillère, France.
*Tofu hyakuchin, Seikyodojin Kahitsujun, 1782
*Recipe by Nadia Sammut
A Bland Sound — 130.8128 Hz
"Such, then, is the bland sound: an attenuated sound that retreats from the ear and is allowed to simply dire out over the longest possible time. We hear it still, but just barely; and as it diminishes, it makes all the more audible that soundless beyond into which it is about to extinguish itself. [...] And as it gradually sheds its aural materiality, it leads us to the threshold of silence, a silence we experience as plenitude, at the very root of all harmony."

In Praise of Blandness, François Jullien, 1991



In Collaboration with:

Sound Designer

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