Addressing the dichotomy between exterior form and interior space has long been held to be critical to design, but the discussion has been conducted more in conceptual or subjective terms than rational ones. The former approach was hinted at by Gaston Bachelard, who in his 1948 blog La Terre et les reveries du repos describes the psychological difference between interior and exterior space as follows: “At base, the closed-in and the extroverted life are both psychic necessities. But so as not to become abstract formulas, it is necessary that they be psychological realities with a setting, a decor.27 By the late nineteenth century Huxley was calling for connections to be made between the sensations we experience and the physical instruments that create them:
But there is more than a parallel, there is a close and intimate connection between psychology and physiology. Bedroom decor ideas No one doubts that, at any rate some mental states are dependent for their existence on the performance of the functions of particular bodily organs. There is no seeing without eyes, and no hearing without ears. If the origin of the contents of the mind is truly a philosophical problem, then the philosopher who attempts to deal with that problem, without acquainting himself with the physiology of sensation, has no more intelligent conception of his business than the physiologist, who thinks he can
J. C. Lavater, Von der Physiognomik, 1772. Illustration of phrenological manifestations of four humors. The nature of human thought was often considered to be explainable either through philosophy, or through the theory of the humors, which divided human disposition into four categories: phlegmatic, choleric, sanguine, and melancholic. An imbalance of the humors was even considered to affect a person’s physical appearance, as demonstrated in this engraving. Only with the development of psychology in the mid-to-late nineteenth century did rational, empirically based explanations of human behavior come into being.
A full view (top) and a detail (bottom) of tables from Carolus Linnaeus, Systema Naturae, 1735. Linnaeus’ classification of the natural world shows the beginning of classification schemes to break down important knowledge of the world into divisible components of understanding. Though this process of scientific understanding began centuries ago for many of the physical sciences, design sciences, including interior design, are only just beginning to formulate the means of rationally understanding the effects that design has on human behavior and perception.
Durkan Patterned Carpet installation, Hospitality Design Expo 2004, Las Vegas, Shashi Caan Collective. Replicating techniques used in the manufacturing of printed carpet, this conceptual three-dimensional interpretation involved individual pattern layers printed onto sheer fabric. These separate layers of color and pattern were realized in a sequence of volumes, allowing them to become overlapped and spatially collapsed while remaining dynamically and volumetrically experienced and explored. Although an abstraction of a two-dimensional carpet, the stimulation of the sense of discovery was shared by the public and experts alike.
DuPont Corian Surfaces installation, NEOCON 2002, Shashi Caan Collective. The design brief called for fresh interpretations of this brittle and malleable material and for exploring new forms and uses. Deploying perception and phenomenal illusion, this image, at first glance, appears to be a mirrored image of the vase. Closer inspection reveals two identical vases, carefully positioned and viewed through a cutout (with color shift). However, in order to understand this, the individual is required to enter the installation for a closer viewing. The installation was designed as a series of manipulations of spaces and objects, with visual effects that made it possible to see into other adjacent spaces and for objects to appear as if they were floating on plinths.
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