Design can be used to brighten up life

Design is not one-dimensional; it is not just colours and fabrics and what light to hang in your dining room.

Design is life, sustainability, environment and design is absolutely everywhere. When you look around your world, whether local or international – you will see living, breathing design all around.

Whether design is used to make something pretty and bright or is used in carefully chosen colour palettes to help patients and inmates fight the symptoms of aggression or seasonal affective disorder, design can be used to brighten up life.

A simple change of wall colour can make a work or living space more productive and can cause less anxiety. Did you know that babies will cry and couples will fight more in a yellow room? A highly saturated (bright) yellow will stimulate your senses at first but too much time surrounded by this colour will make you cranky!

Interior design and architecture are fascinating topics to study and even more incredible to witness in person. Over the past few weeks I have had various friends and colleagues travel to Prague, none of these people know each other – it’s just a very happy coincidence!

I have had the pleasure (via facebook) of seeing their wonderful pictures as I visually overindulge in ancient architecture. Churches rising into the atmosphere with perfectly placed windows designed to catch first morning light are a reminder that nothing truly beautiful happens by accident.

These buildings and places of worship were designed to create awe and wonder in all who visited, from random stranger to seasoned parishioner.

Sometimes design can also enhance our physical well-being. With the increase in allergens and chemical sensitivity in our generation, the emphasis is being put on creating products which make it easier on our bodies.

From carpet fiber and paint to the glue used on wallpaper and floors, manufacturers have been spending millions on research to reduce the chemicals in everyday household design items. Natural products such as corn sugar, bamboo, cork, hemp, wood and wool are go-to items for flooring manufacturers. Every company involved in the manufacture and production of household design products has increased its awareness of fair trade, sustainable and low VOC products.

In our super tech high-speed world I believe that we are severely lacking touch.

We do not seem to connect like we did even five years ago and regular social interaction has become awkward and uncomfortable for some people. Humans were created to be touched; the tips of our fingers are wild with nerve sensors which crave physical interaction which is why I think that manufacturers have jacked up the ‘touch’ factor in its products.

Think about it, when you purchase carpet or fabrics, vehicles or furniture what is the first thing you do? You touch it!

Carpet and fabric are softer and even hardwood and tile now sport a ‘velvet’ finish. I have a brand new fridge and I keep touching the smooth, metallic surface. It brings pleasure and designers and manufacturers have absolutely maximized the touch-ability of their products.

Design has woven its way into your mind long before you ever begin to plan a new build or a renovation project. We have been subconsciously been relying on and appreciating elements of design from birth; we just may not have realized it!

Kim Meckler is an interior designer in Red Deer with Carpet Colour Centre.

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