Over the semester we have had multiple units where we had different teachers teach us about topics such as experience, finishes, furnishings, representation, and theories. Starting off the semester with experiences was a good transition into the other units because everything in interior design can connect back to experience. With finishes and furnishings we learned the history of certain furnishings and how they function along with how finishes can contribute to the experience in a space. The representation unit taught us about the world’s fairs and different styles and how they can be recognized in the design world today. We then learned about theories and different designer’s theories on interior design. Each unit led us to the next and everything was built off the previous unit. I think each unit connected because I always relate the units to each other. For example, finishes and furnishings connect to interior experiences. After this class I will think differently about the way I see rooms and how everything in a room contributes to my experience and outlook on that space. The first image I have chosen is a picture of KLair because in our experience unit we talked about our experience in a place that we are not very familiar with and it really made me think about how all the details and finishes effect my experience. The second image represents what we learned with status indicators. A room full of nice furniture and decor can create a high status room. The last image I have chosen is a picture of a Greek fret to show how we learned about motifs throughout the different time periods and cultures.
Over the semester we have learned a lot of insightful information on the history and theories of interior environments and spaces. One of the key themes that describes what we have learned is the theme of status. In our unit of finishes we learned about status indicators and status symbols. We had a group activity where two different interior spaces were put next to each other and our task was to describe the different status indicators in the room. We elaborated on how the indicators could describe the experience in the room and even describe the personalities of the home owner’s and their differences. For example, with my group we were given one image of an older and more traditional home that looked like it had some royal history and the other room was a modern downtown apartment with simple furnishings. The style indicators in the room were finishes such as artwork and even the amount of furniture. I have learned from this class that status indicators can only be indicated based off what the person thinks when they see the space. Status indicators are also usually set in place to show a sense of power or style or taste. The image I have chosen shows how wall and ceiling detail can make a room feel extremely elegant.
Another key theme that sums up the information from the history and theories of interior environments is the theme of furnishings. Furnishings have evolved so much over time and have adjusted to how humans function. Over our unit we saw some of the first examples of chairs in different areas and time periods and then compared them to how they look in today’s world. We learned how furnishings function in a room and create different environments. A room is greatly impacted by the furnishings that are placed in it. For example, if a room is not filled with furniture then that means that the room is not a lounging area and it may force people to stand and just pass through it. A room could also be filled with chairs and sofas that convey people to sit and converse in that space and use it to entertain in rather than just pass through it. When I look at all the rooms in the different spaces I go in I now notice these things and how furniture is put in certain places and positions on purpose to create certain functions. That is why the image I have chosen is a room full of furnishings that create a relaxed and lounging environment.
Another key theme from this semester of the study of history and theories of interior environments is the theme technology. Technology is a huge influence on history and evolution of interiors over time. Recently we learned about the world’s fairs and how technology was a big focus of the fairs. For example, I looked at the world fair held in Chicago in 1933 and at that fair the focus was on space and space exploration along with cars and everything about cars. This technology was all very new and interesting in the world at this time and it effected the decor and interior environments of this fair. At this fair there were lots of decorations that were placed in the sky to represent space. The image I have chosen is a picture from the 1933 Chicago world’s fair to show an example of how technology was such an influence of the fair. Technology is important for the study of interiors because we live in a world that revolves around technology and therefor interiors revolve around it as well. For example, many rooms in today’s world all have high def televisions or some sort of new technology within them. There will be more and more technology put in rooms as time goes on.
Another theme that sums up the information we have learned over the semester is the theme of color. Color is the basis for everything in an interior space. There are many theories about color and how humans connect with certain colors. Color has evolved over time through interiors. The first use of color for finishes and furnishings would come from natural sources that were around people. Color is so important to interior design because different colors convey different feelings or meanings and they can effect the mood of a space. Interior designers have the power to create experiences through the use of color whether it the color of walls or the colors of the finishes and furnishings. The image I have chosen for the theme of color is actually two different rooms showing how one room is more gloomy because of the color choices and the other room feels more bright and airy because of the color choices. Based off the pictures you can see how the color yellow is used to create a bright and inviting space. The room on the left is a dark colored room and does not look as inviting. Colors can truly determine the feelings a person experiences in a room.
The final key theme that I feel is a big part of the history and theories of interior design is the theme of theories. In our last unit we learned about different theories of interior design and how different designers view interior design. We looked at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and how interior design compares to the pyramid of needs. We also looked at Stewart Brand’s theories on buildings and how there is a scale of change when talking about buildings. Every designer has their own theory on interior design and design in general and this is why theories are so relevant to our class. New ideas are always sprouting for design whether that be creating new ways to build buildings or new lighting techniques. The image I have chosen is a picture of the maslow pyramid. After we learned about how interior design needs can relate to the hierarchy of needs it really made me think about how buildings and spaces all start off somewhere and grow over time with nurturing. For example, a building starts off on the first level of need and makes it way to the top of the pyramid over time as it gains character and its own structure.
The first theme that I think accurately sums up what I have learned over the course of the semester as a non-major is the theme of experience. Experience was one of our units that we first studied. I was very new to the idea of studying the history and theories of interior environments and when we learned about experience it really interested me. Experience is such a big part of interior spaces because the way a space is created effects someone’s experience greatly. Everything from proportions to lighting and even smells are how experiences are created when entering a space. We had an experience assignment where we were to choose an interior space that was unfamiliar to us or where we don’t spend much time and then describe how the interiors effected us and what experience that space gave us. The theme of experience is key to this class because without experiences all interiors would feel the same. The image that I have chosen to represent experience is a picture of an Egyptian temple. The large scale of the buildings in comparison to the small humans is on purpose because the temples are meant to show how powerful the Egyptians are. This just goes to show how size and proportions greatly impact one’s experience.
Another key theme for the history and theories of interior environments is the theme representation. We had a whole unit of the idea of representation in interiors so I think it is fitting to make it a key theme. Representation in interiors can mean many things. One thing it can mean is a designer actually representing themselves through their own individual style and selections to their client. Representation can be how that designer presents themselves through their interior finishes and furnishings. The theme of representation can also be how one furnishing from a historic time period is brought back and used today in the modern world. For example, we see the use of Victorian style patterns on chairs and furniture that is created in a modern way but still representing the original era that it came from. The image I have chosen is a chair that can be found in a current furniture magazine or seen in someone’s home today as a normal looking chair. But the chair is actually a modernized version of a Victorian chair. This theme of taking old styles and re-creating them for the world today is a way of representing the past.
After thinking more about what themes would sum up the semester of the history and theories of interior environments, I thought the theme of light would be sufficient. Lighting is a major key in interior environments because it can create an experience or a mood. Natural lighting used to be the only source of lighting, obviously, before electricity was created so this meant that interiors were created around windows and openings to allow light to come in a room. Natural lighting effected spaces because people could only be in rooms and do things during the hours where there was sunlight and the mood would depend on how bright/dim the sun was at the moment. Once electricity was invented this changed interior spaces and how they functioned. Lighting in general is such a big part of interior environments because it can create experiences and effect the senses. If a room has minimal lighting then that room may give off a mysterious and dark feeling compared to a bright, light colored room that may give off a light and airy feeling. With windows and artificial lighting, there are endless ways to create light or dark interior spaces. That is why I have chosen an image of a simple bright room to show how lighting can create a clear and clean look.
Another theme that I believe sums up what I have learned over the course of the semester is the theme of materials. Materials are what make up everything in an interior space aside from the negative spaces. Materials are chosen in a specific way to show finishes and furniture. A designer may want to create a room with all wooden materials or all metal materials and this can greatly effect what a room looks like and how it feels to a person looking at it. Materials can also create a literal feeling in an interior environment. For example with furnishings a designer may want to create a very soft and plush space so they will select soft furniture that is comfortable for the client. A designer may also want to create a more simple and conservative space by choosing very clean and sharp materials for the space to create a feeling of sophistication. The image I have chosen shows how an interior space with wooden materials gives off a unique look.
The last theme that I think accurately sums up the study of history and theories of interior environments if the theme of story telling. Throughout lectures we have heard about how interiors have been know to tell stories. This is especially seen through finishes such as art because artwork can literally tell a story. Over the semester we even looked at different art pieces and learned how they reflect certain eras and powers. For example, we looked at an American piece and the debate over whether or not it truly lived up to the name “American guided by wisdom”. I feel that story telling is such a big part of the study of interiors because without unique stories we would not have the knowledge that we have today on interiors and how they were created and individualized. I have chosen the picture of art that we reflected on in our class because it really does tell a story with the way it was created and designed. We analyzed the format of the picture and how the different sizes and emphasis on sides related to power and wisdom.
With the history of interior design, one of themes that was noted in the lecture that I find to be true of a major theme is settlements. Throughout history there have always been buildings and settlements that are created to show power or dominance or even just security. We have seen how there are barriers around historic settlements to keep others out and be an exclusive place. We have also seen how many of these ancient settlements seem to ascend and get higher and higher which is a sign of reaching to a higher power or in some cases a religious power. In talking about those boundary markings, the lecture gave the great example of the Great Wall of China which is one of the most iconic examples of boundary markings through building. There were also examples of circular boundaries which may have represented religious gatherings that were exclusive. The study of interiors and buildings have greatly been impacted by the way buildings used to be built with their boundaries and exclusiveness. In the world today we can still see how status is impacted by exclusiveness and privacy. The theme ‘settlements’ works well as the first theme of the history of interiors because it is the basic building block for the rest of design to build off of.
Another theme that I think accurately depicts the history and theory of interior environments is the theme of gender. When I say the theme ‘gender’ I am talking about how the way buildings, furniture, finishes, etc. used to be different for men and women due to power and cultural elements. Looking at Egypt is a very informative way to see how gender played a role in the evolution of interiors because Egyptians were the pioneers for much of the furnishings we see in our world today. Men and women in Egypt were looked at in very different ways with men being the higher power and women having a much lesser role during the time. An example of this would be the chairs we studied when we looked at the history of furnishings. We saw pictures of Egyptian chairs and how the men’s chairs had backs and armrests and women’s chairs were very simple and just a stool. This theme of gender evolved in other time periods too. An example of this would be with royalty. The sight of the throne is easily recognizable by the size and lavishness of the chair of the King while the throne of the of the queen is less extravagant.
Another theme that I think describes the history and theory of interior environments is building type. In the online lecture we went over how there are different building types throughout the ages that represent different styles, statuses, and time periods. In the lecture Patrick discussed how in Rome the building types played a huge role in society. For example the Colosseum in Rome is a very specifically made building to bring together the city in one building and hold gladiator festivities. The lecture also talked about there are different types of details on buildings. Patrick said that arches and columns were introduced to buildings as story telling details because the different columns and arches each depicted a different style and sometimes even had details around them that would actually tell a story. Building types and styles are a huge part of the history of interiors because if there weren’t different building styles we would not have the uniqueness of buildings in our world today. Different styles are what make people drawn to certain buildings and interiors. For my image I have chosen a picture of a Palladian home because this is a building type/style that is easily recognizable and has had such an impact of the field of design.
A theme that describes what we have learned throughout this course and depicts the history and theory of interior environments is the theme of motifs. Motifs are what make distinctions between different style periods and make interior finishes easily noticeable. Over this semester, as a non-major, I learned exactly what a motif was in interior design. I learned the motifs from the different cultures and time periods. For example, the lotus motif from the Egyptians. This motif can be found on ancient Egyptian furniture and finishes. The motifs throughout history are important for interior design today because they are still used for furniture and finishes today. A designer may use a Greek fret motif to finish a room or an Egyptian motif. We put such an emphasis on motifs in this class because details and finishes revolve around the design of motifs. After the activities and sketches we did with ancient motifs, I realized that many of the ancient motifs we studied are in my home and around me when I am walking to class and everywhere else in my world. That is why I feel the theme of motifs is such an important study of this class and for the study of interiors.
The final key theme that I feel describes what we learned over the course of the history of interiors and environments is the theme of innovation. The word ‘innovation’ itself is so important in the design world because the world is always being innovated with new technology and ideas and therefor design and interior design is also constantly innovating. From ancient architecture to modern day buildings we can see that building structures have changed and interior finishes have changed over time. Each style period has built off the period before them, whether that be perfecting an arch design or creating a new type of ceiling in a building. I think that innovation is a huge theme in this course. The use of technology has evolved over time and that has allowed for design to change with it. Lighting in interior environments used to be all from natural sources, but through technology and innovation over time electricity has become the source of light in interior spaces. Even with the use of textiles in interiors spaces, it has changed over time. Textiles were used on walls to preserve art work and keep rooms warm before there was electricity and heat. With innovation being a theme of this course, it makes me wonder what interior environments will consist of in the next 100 years.
I think that the brand Lululemon communicates well in terms of design. Lululemon is an athletic apparel line but the brand focuses on more than just clothes. This brand is dedicated to health and well-being and wanting customers to be good people all around. This brand says their most powerful branding work happens around community. In the picture above to the right the consumer can see that the brand wants to connect people through fitness and health. This image is on all of the bags shoppers get when purchasing something. The actual logo itself is designed to be easily recognized and spread the brand name. This logo can be found on all of the apparel sold so anyone who wears this brand can spread the brand name. In terms of design I feel that the logo is well made because of its symmetry and simplicity. Its symmetry and simplicity makes it easy for this brand to communicate with people and therefor be a successful brand that consumers use.
In Stewart Brand’s book called How Buildings Learn he wrote that buildings are inherently conservative meaning they do not change. He believes that buildings should be made in an adaptive way so they can be susceptible to change and adaption. He listed out the components of a building by site, structure, skin, services, space plan, and stuff (site changing the least and stuff changing the most). I agree with his list because I feel like stuff (the interior objects in a building) change the most and the actual site rarely changes. Materials that change quickly would be technology materials in a building because technology is always changing. Materials that change based off fashion would be furniture and accents that go with furniture like the fabrics and pillows, also light fixtures change to keep up with what’s new. Some materials are resistant to change like marble floors for example or classic art pieces. These are timeless items that could remain in a building.
In the movie If You Build It advocacy is shown through design because designers Emily and Matt go to Bertie, North Carolina and help students create designs and projects to benefit their community and teach them how to be architects/designers. They are all about having the students work with projects in a hands on experience way. The students created their own designs for a farmers market in their community. They created small models with their own hands and materials and then transformed those designs into even bigger models and eventually one student’s design was created as an actual building. Students learned skills like welding and carpentry as well as basic design drawing/sketching, and computer skills. All of this is a form of advocacy because Emily and Matt took their time to teach underprivileged high schoolers skills that will benefit them for the rest of their lives and give them goals. Emily and Matt did not get paid for any of it, it was simply them wanting to help this community. I think it is important to think of design in the form of advocacy because people who know design skills and tips should share with others their knowledge to benefit those around them. Design advocacy is only successful if information is being shared with others through communication and hands on activities to get other to know the skills behind design.
The object that I chose that is the Fitbit. I feel that this designed object is successful with its design for the interaction with human movement. It is successful because it is literally designed to track human movement and activity such as sleep tracking and steps taken each day. Fitbit’s are a very popular trend in the consumer world right now because so many people like how their activity can be monitored and displayed to them on a small wrist accessory. The design of the Fitbit is simple and it directly focuses on human movement which is what anthropometrics is all about. The Fitbit would not be successful if it didn’t work well with human movement and activity, but because so many people find this object beneficial the company is successful. Designers also have to study health factors, human movement, and human activity to create a successful product that consumers will enjoy. And I believe that the Fitbit has achieved this.