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.