Final Major Project BA
Cardross, UK | Interior Architecture
‘‘I confront the city with my body; my legs measure the length of the arcade and the width of the square; my gaze unconsciously projects my body onto the facade of the cathedral, where it roams over the mouldings and contours, sensing the size of recesses and projections; my bodyweight meets the mass of the cathedral door, and my hand grasps the door pull as I enter the dark void behind. I experience myself in the city, and the city exists through my embodied experience. The city and my body supplement and define each other. I dwell in the city and the city dwells in me.’’
Juhani Pallasmaa, The Eyes of the Skin
In a time with more questions than answers, more choices than decisions and more opportunities than hours in a day many of us are exhausted from trying to do it all. Most of us usually operate on auto-pilot, passing through the present moment, with our mind caught up in in the past and our focus in the future. Forgetting to actually live and enjoy the present moment, we end up just existing. A sense of spaces aims to find the balance, and the essentials in life and bring back our forgotten inner piece. The idea of the project is to explore mindfulness practices and discover how they can be applied and experienced through Architecture and Interior Design.
As a final year foreign student in the UK, I realised what being busy actually means. Trying to achieve high results in school, as well as work to support my studies, adding all the pressure of trying to keep with people’s expectations, it can get though. I sure am not alone, this is why I decided to work on a topic that would help me not only slow down and learn to relax, but also observe how one can learn to appreciate the essentials in life and discover peace and happiness and how actually design can help with that.
Interior designers have the task to refurbish, work with existing layouts, improve them and create better spaces. The main topic of research is how through design we can learn to appreciate what surrounds us and experience life, feel it with all our senses.
Hearing is defined by noise and sound. Noise is a distraction that is irritating and unwanted, where the sound is created with meaning and can enhance the perception of particular visual sets of information. The goal is to limit noise while creating a harmony of desirable sounds such as conversation, music and natural ambience. (Massey 2015)
Against all the odds that suggest using Taste when talking about restaurants, I decided to focus on hearing and how the food is actually being prepared and in particular the noises that accompany the cooking process.
The kitchen is centred and the tables are surrounding it making it easier for the guests to pick what is going on in the kitchen. The cooking space is hidden by platted wood which allows just a tiny glimpse into the kitchen, guests can have a sneak peek of their food being prepared. Subtlety is a key ingredient in the design- limit information, just enough to pique curiosity and leave something to the imagination.
A pleasant scent can transform any environment. It can bring memories or carry you from one place to another within seconds. Smells make a big impression and sort of dictate the mood in any space. (Massey 2015)
The project relates Smell with Aromatherapy.
Aromatherapy uses plant materials and aromatic plant oils, including essential oils and other aromatic compounds for the purpose of altering ones’ mood, cognitive, psychological or physical well-being. It has been used as a complementary therapy or alternative medicine.The concept of aromatherapy was first mooted by a small number of European scientists and doctors. Modes of application vary-aerial diffusion, direct inhalation, topical application. Recent studies show that it may prevent diseases, reduces pain and anxiety, has relaxation qualities.
I decided to create a space, where ower pots and lights are hanged from the ceiling, giving the visitors a unique experience of literally walking through a floating garden.
The hanging garden is situated in a Common Room/ Lounge Area in the retreat, which would serve as a room for relaxation, socializing or practising mindfulness, with exercises like painting, writing, etc.
Some of the plants that are used are lavender, tea tree, peppermint, which have calming, relaxing, cleansing and regenerating qualities. Those scents are also improving concentration, overall well-being and bring peace of mind.
Touch is almost as important as sight in any design. It is the closest you get to feeling the space. It can make you feel welcome and comfortable and also gives you the opportunity to experience for real how the space around you works, experiment and interact with it. (Massey 2015)
How many of us have run outside of our houses, trying to catch the drops falling from the clouds, dancing in the rain and jumping in puddles, splashing water everywhere? I have and this is what I associate touch with-rain and water.
Designing a space that would provoke the touch sense I decided to create a Spa/Bath area because by playing with water, you not only feel the space, but you also interact with it. The design consists of various pools, with different temperatures, supposed for different spa procedures, including a 25 m swimming pool.
Analyzing the site, the park and the people’s movement I have situated the different pools in a way that would invite people to explore the bath and discover the different procedures happening in the spa centre, the same way they would explore and discover the woodland or they would discover themselves in search of peace and calmness. I wanted to create a space that people would and appealing and curious, they would expect something, but they wouldn’t know what and this would make them engage with the architecture.
Inviting flavours are not just for restaurants and bakeries. Non-food shops and work places may also incorporate a delicious touch into their repertoire to commune with customers. Bringing food into the unexpected realm of design often leads to friendlier connections. Food is an effective ingredient that always helps to enliven those human connections. (Massey 2015)
Good nutrition is a key of a healthy lifestyle and general well-being this is the reason why for the taste sense, I decided to build a small greenhouse, which wraps around the old remains of the building, conserving them and also making them part of the architecture.
The shape of the greenhouse is influenced by the shape of the main building and the lines of the back garden.
The use of glass panels would make the growing process of the plants easier as it will provide enough sunlight and also work as a delicate extension of the main building that disappears in the fruit tree garden.
The greenhouse would be a place to grow herbs, vegetables and berries. It also disposes of a small juice bar, which would invite visitors to pick their own fruits from the gardens and enjoy healthy smoothies-another way to engage them with the space.
The project received a Best Visual Design presentation award
Exhibited at Free Range exhibition, London, June 2016