A well-designed home is an everyday retreat that enriches daily life. This has been my belief forever, but now there is some scientific evidence to help support this contention. In his brand new book “Places of the Heart: The Psychogeography of Everyday Life,” Colin Ellard examines the effects of spaces on human wellbeing. For now, his scientific research, based on cognitive neuroscience, psychology, sociology, mathematics and other disciplines - as measured by sophisticated technology - is primarily applied to outdoor spaces and architecture, but will soon be applied specifically to interiors.
Ellard states that “almost everyone in the world experiences built space on a daily basis – in our homes, our workplaces, our institutional buildings, and our places of entertainment and education. We all share at least a vague sense that the way in which such settings are designed exerts an influence on how we think and what we do.” By measuring subjects’ physical and mental state in different locations, Ellard was able to identify places that were stressful, calming, exciting, boring, etc.
While I hope that psychogeography and the research presented in this book will influence the sorry state of mainstream architecture, I am most excited by the prospect of measuring human emotional states in designed interior spaces. Perhaps as a result, the emphasis will shift from “décor” to “design” and the quality of our lives will improve. Stay tuned…
Ellard, Colin: Places of the Heart: The Psychogeography of Everyday Life. New York, Bellevue Literary, 2015, Print.