Matching the desired perception

On 17 September 2015

What the viewer sees is always subjective and coloured by personal experiences and associations. As a designer you can research this or use it in an intuitive way. Important in any case is to be aware of how the design influences the perception.

Last weekend I got the urge to clean my office. I was going through my things at the office and I came across old drawings on chalk. More than 10 years, before the computer took over from manual work, I was drawing on chalk. With a smile I let the designs go through my hands. Memories came back to me. During that time I regularly was told an office I designed felt homely or the dental practise did not look like a dental practise. Beautiful compliments in my opinion. But recently I was at a hospital with a 18-year old and she said: 'This hospital doesn't really look like a hospital'. Her face expressed her disliking.

Needs of the client

The perception of a space is very individually determined. How to deal with this? You can stay on the surface to not repel anyone and be easily embraced by everyone. You can also be outspoken and rise above the average. There is something to be said for both options. The client's demand always comes first. What does he or she want?

On a regular base I have clients asking me with a puzzled look what is 'hot' and if that is something to be used or not. In general my response to this is: Choose what YOU like. So going for oak or vintage because it's hot, is just as bad of a reason to NOT choose it because it's hot. What do you like, how does it make you feel? That's what it's about.

Keep listening

Consciously applying what fits the desired picture, within the project, usually is my starting point. Designing without wanting to shock, but looking for boundaries to create a sensation. In this process it sometimes can be hard to not fall back on proven solutions. These have proven to be appreciated and on this base some client find me. But being stuck in a 'signature' can never be how it's intended.

So I keep looking, feeling, experiencing. And I keep listening, especially at my client. The client's experiences and associations determine the client's perception. It's my job as an interior architect to make a design matching the perception being desired.

Ronald van Rooij - interior architect and owner of My Castle. He designed the interior of the renewed premise of LEOXX.
 

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