Interior Space and the Second Skin
The design of our environment reflects and shapes our understanding of the world, both through intellectual means and in primal, intuitive ways that reason alone cannot easily comprehend. Design is the mediation between an interior experience (within space and within ourselves) and the exterior world. Our physical surroundings are tangible only through the lens of human perception. The brain interprets raw stimuli, gathered through our senses, and from this we formulate our reality.4
This relationship between the internal and the external is central to human nature and is, therefore, essential to all design. House decor It is best addressed through interior space, the intimacy and scale of which must relate to the human body, mind, and spirit. Whether it be a small-scale room, expansive atrium, or an irregularly defined volume (town square, plaza, or garden), an interior space connects to our being on multiple levels.
The interior, we have established, should be recognized as not only a zone of physical interaction but also one of psychological and emotional effects. We know intuitively that its tangible aspects – the shape of a chair, the temperature of a room, the size of a volume – can affect us on a physiological level. But above and beyond this, interiors also have an impact that is difficult to describe in strictly physical terms. Many people have tried to capture these intangible qualities.
The entry in Diderot’s eighteenth-century Encyclopedie shows that historically the interior has been viewed not only as a physical container but also in ways that encapsulate both the physiological and psychological zones of human experience:
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