The misconception of ‘design’ is that it is an expensive luxury for just the privileged few to enjoy. Some sort of pompous extension of an over inflated ego, based on the opinion of some 'expert' seen in the media; thus creating a peculiar desire to be seen as somehow better than our peers for having the latest 'designer' object.
However, we at OpenForm are here to argue that design is not just a term defining things used for individual status claims, thus becoming a superfluous conceit. Rather it is a word and philosophy which defines our interactions with objects in the world around us and therefore does matter. We argue that our behaviour is intrinsically linked to the spaces we inhabit. Our moods and emotional state are fluid, influenced by a number of stimuli: light, weather, colour, form, sound, etc. It is the manipulation of these stimuli which defines the 'design' of an object or space.
No matter how good a designer is, they cannot really alter the weather. However, they can play with and dictate most other things. Therefore, it stands to reason that people’s moods and emotional state can be altered by the design of an object or space.
Not convinced? Here are a few examples!
Consider your emotional state after listening to a carefully constructed (or designed) symphony for an hour; compare this to that induced after listening to someone dragging their fingers across a chalk board for the same length of time. The symphony can transport you through a myriad of emotions: sadness, excitement, anguish, etc. Whereas fingernails on a chalk board can only induce distress. How can this be? After all, they are both just sounds; a series of compressions and rarefactions impacting on ones ear drums. It is our mind and our connection to the environment which defines our interpretation of the sounds.