Many people regard design services for renovating their home or office as a luxury. It is something most of us fantasize about, gazing at photos on Houzz, Pinterest or Instagram, inserting ourselves into imaginary scenes of impeccably designed spaces, overlooking stunning natural vistas.
Unfortunately, the path to attaining such spaces for living and working often seems obstructed, the fantasy unattainable and yet forever etched in our minds as a place of escape. Fortunately for designers and potential clients, there is emerging data that quantitatively measures well-designed space, and its effect on our mental and physical health. And while most of us are not able to ditch our lives and build a custom home nestled into a cliff overlooking the ocean, there are many ways that we can make our existing spaces healthier, more productive, comfortable, functional, and uplifting.
Dr. Esther Sternberg, in her 2010 book Healing Spaces: The Science of Place and Well-Being, uncovers clear relationships between our senses, emotions and immune system, in a discipline that can be described as a neurobiology of the senses. From rooms with natural views, to lighting, sound and functionality, Sternberg explores ways in which the design of a hospital room directly affects a patient’s ability to heal. Her ideas also point toward possibilities for designing whole health centers and communities that would focus on emotional health (and its inarguable connection to our physical health), stress reduction, and peace.
Taken a step further, we can intuit that the spaces where we spend the most time, our places of work and domesticity, can have an enormous impact on our mental and physical wellbeing. While some may argue that they don’t “notice” the design of their immediate surroundings, I would counter-argue that the lighting, sound, temperature, access to natural light, furniture, materials, forms, artwork, and many other elements, have an underlying effect on a person’s stress levels, productivity, and even happiness. In fact, Dr. Sternberg has also begun to extrapolate findings from her research, applying them to the field of interior design. If you don’t believe me, believe the scientist! Here is a link to a quick interview with her, explaining more specifically how our spaces of living and working can impact us in profound ways:
If having a well-designed space seems like an all-or-nothing endeavor, it doesn’t need to. Even revamping individual rooms like a kitchen or home-office, or replacing lighting and flooring in a workspace, can have a deeply positive affect on our daily experience. Why can’t we have our cake and eat it, too? While I will never give up my fantasy of the concrete and glass stilt house in the forest over a ravine, I am still happy working on a custom sofa design, whose prototype will hopefully end up in my living room. Every bit of good design counts.
I am fortunate to have a few recent interviews published by companies and organizations that I love. Below are links, if you would like to learn more about my background or current projects:
Our Little Zig Lamp, designed in collaboration with artist Henri Preiss, has had a good year! We were honored to be chosen by the international lighting design competition L A M P as a top 10 finalist in the ‘Established’ Category. Our lamp went on be exhibited in Vancouver, to coincide with IDS West. See the submission and all of the finalists here: http://www.welovelamp.ca/little-zig/
This past spring, we were honored with the ‘A’ Design Award in the Lighting Products category, a huge honor bestowed upon us by this huge Italian design competition. The piece then traveled to Italy for the winner’s exhibition at the MOOD (Museum of Outstanding Design) in Como, Italy. More information and a nice interview can be found here: https://competition.adesignaward.com/design-image.php?y=2016&design=54112
Here is the catalog showcasing the designers at the upcoming show & shop for the League of Women Designers. Catalog design by Daniela Markova Soukup.
I have curated a show for the League of Women Designers – Chicago. Partipating designers include: Carly Cannell of Weetu, Chelli Look of CHC, Elizabeth Fiersten of Manifold, Eve Fineman of Eve Fineman Design, Felicia Ferrone of fferrone, Gerry Quinton of Morua, Jamie Hayes of Production Mode, Kari Merkl of Merkled, Kelly Marie Thompson of Fleur, Kristen Molenhouse of Glamrocks Jewelry, Maria Boustead of Po Campo, Sharon Burdett of Strand Design, Sonia Yoon of Midnight Kitchen Projects, and Theodora Nvotas of Yasou.
The show’s name references Eileen Gray, a touchstone for LWD group. Gray was a pioneer of modernist design; an architect
and designer of furniture, textiles and interiors. Her influential works in the 1920s and 1930s were largely overlooked in her time and the importance of her legacy remains unrecognized to this day. One of her most innovative works, the Villa E-1027 house, for instance, was first attributed to her lover, Jean Badovice, and was later defaced by the most famous architect of her day, Le Corbusier.
Gray’s point of view is particularly relevant to the show’s philosophy. She believed in the “dwelling as a living organism”, a holistic approach to design that put the experience of living at the center. “It is not a matter of simply constructing beautiful ensembles of lines, but above all, dwellings for people.” She brought a much needed sensuality and beauty to the modernist movement that feels fresh to this day.
The show will be open from December 4th-20th, Tuesdays-Saturdays 12-7 pm, Sundays 12-5 pm. In addition, there will be a special pop-up dining event by Midnight Kitchen Projects on the evening of Saturday, December 12th. All events will be at the Department of Curiosities, 3013 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago, IL 60647. www.departmentofcuriosities.com
EF f+i shared a truck with DeRussy Designs at Chicago’s 8th annual Guerrilla Truck show, concurrent with NeoCon.
Our truck was highlighted in Design Bureau’s blog:
Opening Reception: June 22, 2012, 7-10PM
The Living Room Gallery
1530 W. Superior, Chicago
Show runs from June 22- August 3, 2012
Viewing by appointment through Living Room Realty
A collection of furniture and objects, designed and made in Chicago, presented in a series of “living” vignettes at the Living Room Gallery
THIS SHOW displays living spaces inside a Chicago storefront gallery, whereby every piece of furniture and all textiles, artwork and accessories are made by local artisans. The resultant setting is a sampling of what is currently happening in the Chicago design community. All work is available for purchase directly through the designers and artists.
WORK BY Anna Barton, B2 Concepts, Bridgette Buckley, DeRussy Designs, Susan Dwyer, Epicenter Design, Eve Fineman Furniture + Interiors, Furniture Revival, glickbuilt, Casey Gunschel, Beau Hale, -ism Furniture, Dennis Johnson, Keith Clayton Furniture, Casimir Kujawa, Lagomorph Design, Jason Lewis, Damon Locks, Manifold, McBride Housewrights, Markled, MODified Originals, Navillus Woodworks, Paul PettiGrew, Starshaped Press, Johanna Starr, Sonnenzimmer, Thievery, Thomeworks, Workshop/Cozzens, zakrose.