I have a great passion for Interior design, without it I wouldn't be able to throw myself into my work the way I do. However people often think that my passion is purely lit by trend, colours and fabric. I love all those things but they are merely the icing on a great tasting cake. My passion goes deeper. I have a real fascination with how a space can work for us and make us feel and help us function better. These are the things at the core of my designs.
Why is that we walk in to a room and decided if we feel safe, welcomed, vulnerable or uncomfortable? I am sure there are many psychologists who could write a far more scientific and researched blog than me, I can’t help but wonder what provokes those feelings and how different they are to every individual?
Different spaces have different roles to play. Within each I believe good design, and by that I mean the whole package of lay out, lighting and decoration, can make a huge impact on the people who use it and their emotional well being.
fantastic spaces: duplex penthouse design by Rawlins Calderone Design & Lycabettus Penthouse
Office space is very often overlooked in the style and design department with companies creating uniformed desk & stations all in soulless colours and maybe the odd pot plant. More often than not the fear of cost prevents people doing any more with a space, however a “Depressing” office space can leave its users unmotivated, leaving a company with higher staff turnover and low productivity of existing staff. High proportion of stress is instigated by work and though this is mainly coursed by the demands of the job I bet it doesn't help if the space these people spend a majority of their week in is getting them down as well.
And what about the impression that a company leaves with its clients? Does design create a perception of the quality of the work done? A “Cool” design agency always requires a cool design space, this leads to it attracting “Cool” employees who create “cool” stuff, which “cool” clients pay highly for. A potential client will judge if that chain of events is going to happen while sitting in the waiting room.
Saatchi & Saatchi's Bangkok office is full of creative expression
The most emotive place we interact with is our home. Without an emotional connection it is just a house. Every room in a house has different function to play and each also has different feeling they should evoke. Clumsy design can turn a great house into a place that is hard to be in, bad design can make a house hard to sell.
Kitchen are a great place to witness the effect that well thought out planning can have on both the look and the functionality of a room. Great design addresses the primary function of the space, to store, prepare and cook food where you can easily move from one function to the next and seamlessly lay your hands on the right item at the right time. The ability to cook yourself a quick meal is accelerated if you’re not fighting to find the beans at the back of the cupboard or unplugging the toaster so you can plug in the cake mixer. This frustration will make you angry, you have just had an emotional response to the space you are in.
I have a fascination with open plan eating. Though we all crave it in our homes the feeling of exposure when eating often leads to these areas being underused because people don’t feel comfortable eating there. I always wonder if it is our primitive instincts kicking in, where you are most vulnerable when eating so naturally seek a secure place to enjoy food. You don’t have to lose the feeling of space to create a welcoming environment, the kitchen by Smartstyle Interiors shown below is an example of the balance of open plan living and a comfortable eating space.
a beautiful open-plan kitchen by Smartstyle Interiors
We can’t help but be affected by the environments in which we choose to spend our money, shops, hotels and restaurants have spent a lot of money researching how to push the right “emotional” buttons. McDonald’s is overlit, brightly coloured and uncomfortable so the food is consumed as quickly as possible and the customers move on, this isn’t just my observation but part of their design ethos. Churning customers through leads to high revenue. On the flip side we can see many café’s like The Cake Shed, Juliet’s and Rosemary Shragers in Tunbridge Wells which invite you in and wish you to linger, maybe ordering just one more cup of tea and yes throw a cake in. They are designed to make us relax and “feel at home”, lengthening our time there and wanting to returned again and again.
Rosemary Shrager's Patisserie in Tunbridge Wells, Kent
Interior Design is always used at it best in these environments because the design is as much of a selling point as the product.
beautiful blues in The Apartment at The Connaught designed by David Collins
cosy, unique and welcoming design at The Prahran Hotel
It is hard to overlook the emotional effect our environmental can have on us all and I fundamentally believe that really good design can make an enormous difference. So next time you walk into a space ask yourself “what is it that is makes it feel good?” It won’t just be the colour of paint on the walls.