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Kijeong Jeon – “Design and Social Responsibility: Design for Autism”


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A Multi-Sensory Environment is created to give clients with certain developmental disorders a sense of serenity and calmness by stimulating their senses through lighting effects, colors, sounds, music, scents and textures. This soothing environment is passively therapeutic for individuals living with developmental disorders. These specialized environments also incorporate the Snoezelen effect, a Dutch development that refers to stimulating the senses through the use of multi-sensory design elements. These environments focus on the individual’s sensory system rather than using pharmaceuticals to affect behavior. As research has shown, children and adolescents with an autism spectrum disorder respond to sensory experiences differently than individuals without disabilities.

In 2008, Kijeong Jeon designed the COVE located in Paradise, CA. The COVE is a nonprofit organization that provides services for people with autism and other developmental disorders. Jeon began research on autism, its symptoms and the possibility of using environmental factors in treating the condition.

Jeon developed the COVE as full-fledged multi-sensory environment design project: a space specifically created to relieve the stress and anxiety often apparent in individuals with developmental disorders. Jeon’s design was comprehensively based on behavioral studies and analysis of how therapeutic equipment can be used for individuals with autism. Designing the COVE for individuals with autism changed Jeon’s life.

Kijeong Jeon is a professor at California State University, Chico. Originally choosing a career path in interior architecture, Jeon became more interested both in designing highly specialized built environments and in determining how they are utilized. His love for helping others was spurred by his extensive international experience working with students in California, New York, Italy and Zimbabwe. Even while growing up in a small farming town in South Korea, he knew that he wanted to travel the world and experience firsthand its people and cultures.

He is recognized as a pioneer in the design of multi-sensory environments and the use of Snoezelen therapy to create calming spaces for individuals with autism. He continues to study and conduct research in ASD. His ultimate goal is to significantly improve the lives of individuals living with autism by the integration of these environments with conventional interior design.

Jeon received his Master of Interior Architecture from the University of Oregon and Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Architecture from the California College of the Arts. Most of his professional projects have been developing branded environments for major U.S. organizations. His projects have received numerous awards within the environmental design community. He has participated in various workshops and trained to work with multi-sensory environments.

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