Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Light and the Body

I always wondered why the weather would have an effect on my mood. When I wake up to sunshine, I feel energetic and cheerful, but on a dark dreary day, I feel very lazy and sluggish. Our moods vary in response to natural light, which is uplifting and therapeutic. This is why adequate lighting is an important aspect of a design. "A well designed lighting plan makes use of high levels of illumination to enhance energy and emotion and will provide low, subtle lighting to encourage relaxation and a mellow feeling" ("Interiors: an Introduction").

Effects on the mind and body

Large areas of bright light stimulate a physical and emotional surge of energy, which may cause fatigue after long periods of exposure. The mind becomes very bored and can sometimes cause a feeling of illness.
Moderate to low levels of light give an "inviting, cozy, intimate feeling". This type of lighting is accomplished with the use of dimmer switches and can often be found in restaurants. It also helps establish perimeter of a room and produces a sense of security.
 Colored light can also have an effect of a person. Warm white lights are welcoming and uplifting. Cool colored lights (blue, green, purple) produce a calm, restful environment, but can become "unfriendly, cold, and depressing" after prolonged exposure. Bright colors (red, orange, yellow) produce eyestrain, which leads to a feeling of physical exhaustion as the mind struggles with coping with the intensity ("Interiors: an Introduction").

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

SAD is a great example of how lighting can affect our mind and body. This disorder occurs when winter approaches and disappears as spring begins. The symptoms are as follows: lethargy, irritability, increased desire to sleep and eat.

Glare, an excessive light that causes irritation and fatigue, can also have negative effects on the mind and body. Dark areas surrounding lighted areas can cause eyestrain, fatigue, and even depression, as peripheral vision constantly has to deal with the drastic dark-bright contrast. We encounter glare every day, as we watch television or while we are driving, but there are a few ways to reduce glare.
  1. Window treatments, such as shades or blinds, block the light that comes from the sun.
  2. To reduce glare from artificial lighting, a person can lower their wattage usage, use a cool-beam lamp (type of light that is designed to redirect its heat away from the light beam), adjust the direction of the lighting source, or use baffles (a device such as a board or grid that deflects light, either to direct it or to prevent glare).

In one of my previous post "Making Theory a Reality", I talked about light and how it affects all the other elements of design, but I hope this post shed some light on the effects it has on the mind and body.

Work Cited

Nielsen, Karla, and David Taylor. Interiors: An Introduction. 5th ed. New York: Mc-Graw Hill, 2011. 109-111. Print.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

American Society of Interior Design

Throughout my blogging experience during the past few months, I have grown as a member of the Interior Design Community. The bloggers within this community have shared great ideas, innovative products, and amazing designs. Then it hit me. In the fall of last year, I was introduced to the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). This is a huge community that is committed to the field. 

The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) is a community of people - designers, industry representatives, educators, and students - committed to Interior Design. Through education, knowledge sharing, advocacy, community building and outreach, we strive to advance the Interior Design profession, and in the process, to demonstrate and celebrate the power of design to positively change people's lives.
Founded in 1975, ASID is the oldest and largest professional organization for Interior Designers. There are 16,000 practicing Interior Designers that work in all areas of commercial and residential design. ASID industry partners include more than 2,200 member firms with 6,500 individual representatives (ASID).


There are many benefits in becoming an ASID member. As a member, you are able access to the ASID Job Bank, a listing of employment opprotunities for designers. This list can be used by designers seeking work or by employees seeking designers. Also as a member, you are connected to other ASID members through a member-only website. This site includes chat rooms, forums, online directories, and message boards (ASID).

Student Chapters

There are currently 7,500 student ASID members.  ASID has more then 250 student chapters at various colleges, universities, and design schools with 2-year and 4-year programs throughout the U.S, as well as "virtual" chapters throughout online institutions. 

Ther biggest benefit to becoming an ASID member is the building of new relationships with other members. These people have the same interest and career goals. They learn from each other, help one another, and grow together. I learned in my previous Interior Design class that it is all about networking, because you never know how can help you in the long run.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Art of Feng Shui

"Feng Shui (pronounced “fung shway”) is an ancient Chinese art whose name translates from the Chinese as “wind and water”. Feng Shui is a lyrical phrase that poetically evokes the heart of this ancient practice." -Spiritual Feng Shui

The ancient art and science of Feng Shui was developed over 3,000 years ago in China ("What is Feng Shui?").  It is believed that practicing this ancient art will promote a great balance of energy and assure good health. Wind and water (two of nature's elements) are the driving forces of Feng Shui practices and techniques, filling ones' space with positive energy ("What is Feng Shui?"). In Chinese culture, wind and water are associated with good health (good Feng Shui brings good fortune). If one doesn't practice good Feng Shui however, it is considered to be bad luck ("What is Feng Shui?").

 "Feng shui is based on the Taoist vision and understanding of nature, particularly on the idea that the land is alive and filled with Chi, or energy."
Feng Shui was born out of thereligion and "philosophical system" of Taoism. Established in China, thisreligion/philosophy revolved around the worship of nature ("Tao and Chi"). Whenever the followers of Taoism would get stressed out from life,they would retreat back to nature, giving them time to rest and heal ("Taoand Chi"). During this time, they would consume themselves with theirhobbies in efforts to lift their spirits and relieve their stress. "Thispractice also instilled in the Chinese a very positive approach to life itself,for their health, well-being and vitality" ("Tao and Chi").

Chi (or Ch'i) is the most important component in Feng Shui, Chi encompasses everything and holds together all the different aspects and factors involved in Feng Shui. Chi cannot be seen, heard or felt, it does not register upon any of our senses. It's the virtual energy and force that flows all around. A house situated on a particular site with healthy environment will be subject to highly positive and beneficial Chi, it will help to produce a prosperous life or business environment. Feng Shui is basically the arrangement of environment to enable us to benefit from the good effects of Chi. There are three main conditions of Chi:
  • Sheng (beneficial) Chi: links to a good Feng Shui
  • Si (unhealthy) Chi: links to a bad Feng Shui
  • Sha (harmful) Chi: links to a killing Feng Shui  
Below is a short video I found demonstrating how to practice good Feng Shui. With three different enrtyways, Feng Shui expert, Laura Morris, shows how to create a balance of energy and harmony that will bring peace, prosperity, and good health.