We have all found ourselves heading home after a stressful day.

Maybe we experienced defeat at an important game, or maybe we fumbled on a business deal. When such things happen, our natural instincts often tell us to go home ‒ to retreat to our private personal spaces where we feel a sense of spiritual or social protection.

These personal spaces have offered solace and safety when we needed them before. However, with Work From Home being the norm these days, the last bastion of mental and emotional wellbeing has also become our corporate arena.

With most of our lives spent at home now, the place that used to be a private domain has also become the workspace, and this has a significant impact on our mental health. Environmental psychology, or space psychology, is the interaction between people and the spaces they inhabit. Although the link between interior design and our emotions has gained much attention in the last decade, this form of environmental psychology has existed for thousands of years through traditions like Indian Vastu Shastra, and the Chinese Feng Shui, etc.

According to a survey published in A Journal of the Association for Psychological Science, certain rooms can produce very tangible emotions. The 200 participants of the research were given a list of hypothetical rooms typical for an average home and asked to choose two ambience descriptions for each of them.

Unsurprisingly, the results matched the conventional wisdom of interior design when it comes to personal spaces. For example, the entry room should be inviting, the master bedroom reflects a sense of romance, the closet represents organisation, etc. Scientifically speaking, the rapid growth of neuroscience and psychology has proven the ability of interior design elements and well-placed aesthetics to evoke positive or negative emotional responses in people.

These findings open the door to design spaces that consciously manipulate decorative elements with the goal of encouraging creativity, peace, and happiness.

A Splash Of Greenery With Marano Design Furniture

Paying homage to Southeast Asiaʼs vast and rich forests, Singapore-based company Marano Design Furniture is launching the Rainforest Rhapsody collection. Exuding luxury and elegance, while emphasising whimsical creativity, these collections feature furniture that would fit right in any contemporary home and enhance a variety of personal spaces.

Balancing aesthetics with functionality, colours, configuration, proportions, and materials address the senses of the individual. Work amid a luscious, garden paradise, where pristine greenery invites you on a mental sojourn through its harmonious landscape as you get comfortable for a Zoom meeting on the exquisite curves of the Livise 2-Seater Sofa.

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Livise Coffee Table

Made of the finest breathable Nappa leather, the sofa is a graceful interpretation of a butterfly in flight, the wing shape seats are further heightened by their extended backrest design, mimicking the outstretched wings of the insect to bring individuals to a calming realm of poise and beauty.

If you choose to use it in tandem with the Livise Coffee Table in ruby red and deep green lacquer finish, you will that the pieces form a butterfly when placed together. Each distinctive countertop showcases a unique and delicate gold UV air-painting to form two halves of a butterfly, set into a frame of stainless steel in bronze and black hairline finish with solid walnut legs.

Marano Design Furnitureʼs Rainforest Rhapsody Collection is a series aimed at creating a sense of calm and peace, with vibrant and colourful designs that reimagine the rainforest ecosystem for our on-again off -again WFH lifestyles

Indulge In A­rtistic Heritage With Scene Shang

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The Maverick Armchair in a postmodern Shanghai interior

From inducing warmth and safety, defining well-being, or creating a positive and efficient working environment, well considered interior décor can have a whole lot of impact on how we act or on what we feel. Therefore, interior design must consider the social and psychological needs of the occupants.

Besides colours, spaciousness and natural elements, the textures, and shapes and even the heritage of the furniture can produce certain emotional responses. In Allain de Bottonʼs The Architecture of Happiness, he explains that many of our aesthetic preferences are rooted in our common evolutionary heritage.

Rather than being arbitrary, our preferences for the spaces we find beautiful or feel comfortable in and many of our likes and dislikes have their origins in our evolutionary history. What distinguishes human being from most other animals that is the richness of our cultural expression that is monumentally different to that of any other animal we share this planet with.

Our heritage provides clues to our past, helping us examine our history and traditions while enabling us to develop an awareness about ourselves. It also helps us understand why we are the way we are, and why we take pleasure in certain surroundings. De Botton writes “ʻCultureʼ is the word we have assigned to the force that assists us in identifying which of our many sensations we should focus on and apportion value to”.

Indeed, aesthetics and values are inextricably linked in culture. Our cultures influence what we ascribe value to and our values in turn shape our notions of beauty. We ascribe beauty to people, spaces and objects that embody or remind us of values we hold in high esteem.

Scene Shang inspires new appreciation for history and heritage through award-winning contemporary homeware and furniture designs that are rooted in Asian heritage. As Shanghai embraced a cosmopolitan outlook, bent steel frame sofas made their way into homes and businesses, a symbol of European design awareness.

Scene Shangʼs Maverick Armchair, made using bent steel frames, and upholstered with fi ne bonded leather, is both a striking conversation starter and your new favourite armchair in which to read or enjoy a drink.

The same Art Deco-inspired geometry is present in the Maverick Sofa. Exhibiting a skillfully bent rattan frame, while a natural clear coat lends a warm touch. Natural, undyed leather bindings play up an air of understated luxury. Handmade by artisans from sustainable rattan, this piece marries the art of tradition with contemporary craftsmanship.

Cooperating with local designer Ying The Label, the brandʼs ʻDare To Loveʼ art are transferred onto a luxurious, satin upholstery for Ottomans, Teng Stools, and a limited edition of 10 The Gentleman Cane Chairs. Dare To Loveʼ also features the Tiger Lily, which represents strength and the love to embrace differences.

The Gentleman Cane Chair is inspired by traditional Chinese scholar chairs, eschewing the traditional stiff sitting posture for a relaxing lean-back, while still maintaining decorum. Also handmade by artisans from sustainable rattan, each armrest is made by skilfully joining selected rattan core and then moulded to form a flat smooth surface on one side.

The same method of joining and moulding is also applied to the backrest and yoke, lending a contemporary take to a traditional aesthetic. Tapered legs are capped with specially shaped brass feet for a touch of luxe.

At Home With Hermès

During the last Milan Design Week 2021, Hermès created a magical journey that explored a return to tactility and materiality after over a year of socially distanced existence. Designed by Charlotte Macaux Perelman, artistic director of Hermès Maison, and Alexis Fabry, the installation consisted of five rooms decorated with an explosion of geometric and colourful patterns.

personal spaces hermes

We saw collections for the home consisting of objects playing with matter, texture, and tactility. All the creations on display are designed to be touched and experience the evocative power that comes from raw and natural materials.

From the softness of a seat made with paper microfibres to the elegance of white cashmere felt mixed with golden threads to the permanence of a table carved in stone, it’s as if Hermès took cues from the ancient practice of Feng Shui ‒ with shapes and textures representing natural elements (earth, water, wood, metal, and fire).

It should not surprise us that interior designers are “stealing” some ancient knowledge to improve emotional impacts of the space. Psychology of space is, in fact, “the study of human relations and behaviours within the context of the built and natural environments” according to Dave Alan Kopec, a specialist in the field and professor at the New School of Architecture and Design in San Diego.

Having a direct impact on your subconscious, contributing to your emotions and perceptions, through that special part of your brain that reacts to the geometry of the personal spaces you occupy, interior design became an inherent part of the human psychology.

At the end of the day, Irving Weiner, AIA, an environmental psychology professor at Massasoit Community College in Middleborough, Mass told Archdaily.com that “some of these environmental influences we cannot see or touch, yet they have a direct influence on our behaviour or mood.”

While we cannot put a finger on the specificity of interior aesthetics that would inspire our highest being, perhaps we should spend the new year exercising our creativity on what works for us. After all, doctors all agree mental and emotional health are more important than ever.

(Images: Respective Brands)

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