Many investigations have reflected the assumption that a new interiors knowledge will be largely derived from the vast cognitive research already conducted in other fields, which may be limited in scope or not applicable within design of the built environment. Instead, “live labs, where the practitioner can observe and understand behaviors in the context of the built environment in its totality, are what is essential for interior design knowledge. The lack of this kind of research is one of the fundamental hindrances to the meaningful evolution of the interior design profession.
Since little of the necessary empirical data for interiors practice has been gathered or articulated, the question is how to begin this new mode of inquiry in this specific context. That depends upon expectations of what a science of interior design should accomplish. The most basic definition of science may offer some guidance. Science is:
… any system of knowledge that is concerned with the physical world and its phenomena and that entails unbiased observations and systematic experimentation. In general, a science involves a pursuit of knowledge covering general truths or the operations of fundamental laws.34
The definition notes that scientific knowledge has to be based on “unbiased and “systematic observations. Luxury homes It is by no means an overstatement to say that systematic experimentation is almost entirely missing in interiors practice; while any designer may consider his or her project experimental, this is not accomplished within the necessary systematic and unbiased protocols for creating empirical understanding. The “physical world in the definition could easily be the habitable environment, and “its phenomena might refer to how its spaces are perceived by human beings. It follows that as long as interior design seeks to uncover “general truths through “unbiased observations and systematic experimentation, it can be classified as a science, even while retaining its artistic component. In other words, information that is proven to enhance the quality of human lives can be applied by the skillful interior designer in fresh and innovative ways. Of course, if all design had to follow fully quantifiable and repeatable laws, there would be no art nor creativity and the process would be reduced to “painting by numbers. The attempt to establish an empirical foundation for the discipline does not change the fact that interior design is ultimately a creative act that requires individual agency. Thus, it will always be up to the designer to interpret disciplinary data.
While professional groups and educators have tried to define a core knowledge for interior design over the past 50 years, those attempts have yet fully to result in the kind of comprehensive project-specific, human-behavior-related research that
Would inform a common practice.35 In order to be regarded as a serious intellectual pursuit, the field still needs a design science with a focused research methodology. The generally held “truths of interior design (that tall ceilings promote their occupants to think loftily, for example, or that sunny yellow environments make people happier) must be proven so that they can justifiably become part of the disciplinary canon. Finding the means for systematically exploring the emotive, perceptual, sensory, and phenomenological qualities of space and the behaviors they elicit, would empower designers to respond with greater sensitivity to the needs of people, and also consciously effect conceptual and creative solutions that move society and culture forward.
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