Design is the most underrated aspect of wellness. There is a reason why biophilic interiors, neuroplasticity, and Scandinavian decor find a common thread in improving the functioning of our brain. Especially our Hypothalamus, which responds strongly to order and organization. In a recent article, Neri Oxman, a well-known professor at MIT explained this analogy to determine my experience. She spoke about the varied fields of art, decor, and engineering. How the input of one provided the output of the other. If engineering is about invention, decor shows how a culture consumes it. Art expresses it. Hence, it’s about the flow of information where design is at the center.

“I don’t separate architecture, design, or culture. What’s more important is a language of creativity that carries the meaning”- Neri Oxman

Coming from an Eastern model of being, I reveled in color and the idea of warmth through a ‘busy’ structure. As time passed, I observed four nuances of design that got the much-needed calm to my senses.

Wabi-Sabi

The term refers to a Japanese art form from the 15th century. The purposeful use of natural objects, aged patina, and rusted objects tend to devolve towards a life philosophy-To accept the experienced and break away from the superfluous. The aesthetic pleasure of observing airy spaces and surrendering to spots of roughness, intimacy, asymmetry in decor can teach us about life. This feature of Wabi-Sabi helps us to make the most out of our non-ideal situations. Especially when a spot of roughness hits our life. Try embracing the less by combining the old with the new. I discarded the small and unnecessary pieces to welcome singular signature pieces of significance.

Pro tip: “Pare down to the essence, but don’t remove the poetry.” Give your brass antique a hint of freshness by adding a new planter inside.

Nordic calm

Scandavenian decor popularised Nordic decor through its clean lines and uncluttered restraint. The idea of ‘Hygge’ or ‘Lagom’ speaks of being ‘adequate, sufficient, just right’. The idea of living in moderation helps you to pick out pieces that stand the test of time. The idea of seeking pleasure through natural light with lesser yet functional resources relaxes us from the chaos that surrounds us. Clean, white spaces in many Western websites speak of a cultural familiarity or appropriation that worked well with its customers. Even though I was familiar with this ‘busy’ tone for a large part of my life I chose to adopt the former. As a person who is constantly on the move, this cleaner, monochrome mode helped me adapt easily with every change in time and space.

Pro tip: Remove one object from each room after some time. Ask yourself- Has this object served its purpose? Can I do without it?

Design should be easy

The victory of a design is in its ability to do things rather than explain them. With communication and innovation, one should improve a user experience to a state of ease. The clean and soothing format of Apple products speaks of brand visibility through ease and simplicity. I wished to do the same at home. Labeled boxes, accessible racks for footwear, baskets for blankets, and replacing plastic with long-term bamboo products were my ways to welcome simplicity. Life should be easy. Our homes should show us how.

“I aim to omit everything superfluous so that the essential is shown to the best possible advantage.” -Dieter Rams

Details make it

My eyes work towards finding details. From a handmade platter on your cupboard to the box packaged with recycled paper, intention resonates. I remember my time as a teacher sitting with piles of answer scripts. The tendency was to shuffle out the best-presented paper out of a bundle. It eased me of the stress that followed. We could amplify this very intention in our everyday life to realize the point of detail. From the toaster that gives us the perfect temperature to the lumens of light in a room, details will always make a house special.

Thinking about it further, maybe it is not about the idea of design alone. It is about the frequency and intention it radiates. The true essence of these ideas comes alive slowly and steadily as you work with your home. For energy is healing. It gives a house the much-needed comfort to make it a home.

Come stay awhile as I reflect on my multi-hyphenate experiences on wellness, health, and education through a soulful eye.