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Psychology and emotional response to space

When we handed over a recent project, the client invited her family to be the first to enter to perform the traditional Korean opening ceremony.

One of the family members, the client’s father, on entering the space began to cry, and all around became highly charged with empathy and emotion.

Why did he respond in this way? It was undoubtedly due to his pride in his daughter’s achievements. But he later revealed also, that on entering the space he was reminded of a time in his distant past when he was still in Korea.

This was not lost on us by any means, and made us consider with a much greater intensity, the importance of space and the impact it has on psychology.

We, of course, did not set out to design, in some esoteric and mystical way, to invoke this type of emotion, of course not! We only approached it with a knowledge of our client, and of the importance of responding to the specific elements, symbols and artifacts of Korea, that we had collected and appraised jointly with the client during the early design development stages.

Perhaps an approach that was pure, honest and meaningful in this way was why such emotional energy became manifest?

We understood, of course, the elements of Interior Design such as; space and light, functionality, circulation flow, spatial planning, intimacy, personal space, colour, mood, material, symbols, texture, palette, rhythm, volume, comfort, air quality, expression, etc etc. But sometimes, and it is just sometimes, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Following this experience, we are engaged in a more dedicated approach to understanding this phenomenon and have begun research. The deeper knowledge gathering will take time, but we will update on our findings in due course.

In the meantime, we provide several of the initial links and resources we have discovered, in the hope that you may too, engage with a more holistic understanding of the impact of space on human psychology and emotion.

We will seek to understand in more detail in future articles as follows:

· Engineering for comfort

· Feng Shui

· Neo Classical principles (of societal control)

· Workplace design

· Healthcare design and patient recovery times

· Hierarchy of space

· Environmental Psychology / Biophilic Design

· The nature of perception







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