Interior Design Elements: Space

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  1. Space is defined “in response to the buildings shell and [is] limited to walls, floor, ceiling, doors, windows, any supporting beams and columns also including fitted or built-in furniture.” (JEFFS S[1]d) This space at the Tate Modern, now used for large scale art installations, was previously the turbine hall for the power station that occupied the building before it became an art gallery. Often the interior designer cannot greatly influence the space available, so must be inventive regarding ways to use and transform it. This space is ideal for exhibitions because of its size and the abundance of light. It does not feel oppressive as light enters from all angles, the reflective surface of the floor increases the amount of light. In addition to this, the undemanding architecture does not detract from any art installations in the space.
  2. We can generalize the nature of spaces into (a) the cellular, where boundaries meet at corners, thus creating individual rooms; (b) the free or undivided space with simple boundaries; and (c) the open, where irregular shapes fit within a continuous boundary that defines several areas.” (EDWARDS C[2], 2011, p115) This office design by Maris Interiors uses cellular space, the offices are separated by frosted walls and floor to ceiling glass, which maintains the separated nature but still allows plenty of light and a feeling of openness. The blue design on the windows and the curved nature of the glass partitions both encourage movement through the space towards the door at the far end; this is not a space for resting.
  3. Spatial planning is an integral part of interior design. The advantages and disadvantages of each proposed layout must be weighed up to enable the designer to choose the most appropriate arrangement. This image shows a very early layout idea, with several pros and cons noted. It was abandoned early on as it quickly became clear that there was a large open space in the centre of the space that could be put to better use.
  4. In open plan spaces it is important to ‘zone’ the space to stop it from feeling sparse. This hotel reception by Marcel Wanders[3] uses rugs and groupings of chairs to create seating zones under the artificial trees. This zoning is further developed firstly by the dark, patterned design of the rugs, which is a clear contrast to the rest of the white gloss interior, and secondly through the contrasting shapes: angular furniture in the zones and curved trees and chandeliers in the open space. Although the individual seating areas are designed to feel cosy, the space is reminded of its commercial purpose by the bright lighting.
  5. Traditional interiors were designed around corridors with individual rooms leading off as this helped to retain heat in the living spaces. However, more recently open plan living has developed and in more newly designed spaces, open flow is preferred over corridors and divided space. This increases the need for ‘zoning’ as discussed previously, as one space will be used for multiple activities such as cooking, dining and relaxing all in one room, whereas these would traditionally have had their own designated rooms.
  6. In Laurence Llewelyn Bowen’s[4] ‘Design Rules’ episode on space planning, he discusses a Japanese concept of ‘borrowing landscape’ to increase the feeling of space. Essentially this is blurring the limits of interior space to make the outside seem more part of the interior and thus creating the impression that there is more space. The low-profile furniture in this interior creates an uninterrupted view to the outside. To further enhance this effect, the exposed wood in the walls and ceiling physically bring outdoor elements inside.
  7. Spatial planning allows us to use all the space in the most efficient way, this includes using all the space that is available. This potentially awkward corner in Ghislaine Vinas’[5] Skyhouse is transformed into a cosy nook for relaxing and enjoying the view from the window. Light, bright paint colour makes this into an inviting area, rather than a dark corner, and bespoke, fitted furniture makes the most of the existing space.
  8. Depending on the feeling that needs to be conveyed by a space, the proportion of the elements placed inside the space must be considered carefully. Larger scale furniture suits large spaces, and small-scale furniture is better used in small spaces, however this is not a strict rule. This Hyatt hotel foyer in Amsterdam by Marcel Wanders uses oversized lighting to fill the otherwise empty height in the space, whereas the tables are of a standard size. This mixture of proportion draws particular attention to the lighting fixtures. The height of the main space is accentuated by painting the neighbouring ceiling dark blue which is then lowered in comparison.
  9. Whereas the act of stepping up to an elevated space might express the extroverted nature or significance of the space, the lowering of a space below its surroundings might allude to its introverted nature or to its sheltering and protective qualities […] An overhead plane defines a field of space between itself and the ground plane. Since the edges of the overhead plane establish the boundaries of this field, its shape, size and height above the ground plane determines the formal qualities of the space.” (CHING F, 2007, p108 and p114) The elevated nature of the lowest part of this building combined with the inverted trapeze shape of the roof frames and creates a feeling of importance for the space enveloped between these two elements.
  10. Space, the ultimate luxury, the height of conspicuous consumption. […] A huge space […] is a deliberately impressive statement. […] Height always adds to an impression of space. In fact, when you think about it, nothing shows off your wealth better than an excessive acreage of air.” (BOWEN LL, 2003, 1:41) Double or triple height spaces like this one contribute to a sense of extravagance, as few people have the luxury of being able to leave space to be used for nothing. Columns which run uninterrupted from the ground floor to the roof make the entire height a part of the same space rather than it feeling sectioned off as an inaccessible area. A similar feeling can be created by leaving smaller rooms unfussy with proportional furniture, lots of negative space and uninterrupted height.

[1] Interior designer and blogger

[2] Professor in Design History at Loughborough University

[3] Interior designer

[4] Interior designer and TV presenter

[5] Interior designer

1 thought on “Interior Design Elements: Space

  1. I love it!! It’s really interesting and well written 😊 Well done you 👍 My favourite photo is number 6, I’d love a room like that !! I bet you can get lots of studying done now XxxxxxxX

    Sent from my iPhone

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    Like

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