How The Places We Love Give Form To Our World

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More than 85% of our lives are spent indoors, and where we are is where our lives happen. Our immediate surroundings influence our emotional, physical and spiritual well-being. We are mind, body and soul in a space. We like being in environments that meet our functional needs, where we feel comfortable, valued and secure. This is why well-designed brick and mortar spaces stand out and hold special places in our hearts. They speak to us in a deeply personal way. We perceive our surroundings through our senses, engage with it through embodied cognition and imbue them with meaning. These meaningful moments transcend time, and become an intrinsic part of the story of our lives. Memories are linked to spaces

booth seats in restaurant
Booth seats are comfortable and offer a level of protection

Where we live, work, and the informal public settings we frequent outside those two are also known as first, second and third places. In recent years, modernity and technology gave rise to multivalent hybrid places. We’ve built our identities around these settings and their designs shape our experiences. Some of these elements influence us more than others. Beyond ergonomics, places scaled to the human body are also intended to work with the human mind. Patterns, derived from symmetry or materiality, create rhythm and coherence, while guiding occupants through a space. Gradual shifts foster moments of discovery. This “patterned complexity” captures our attention and imagination. Cycles, compositions and changes in the natural world are good examples of this feature. Moreover, carefully chosen and skillfully crafted metaphors enrich the atmosphere of a place. Towering hundred year old cathedrals punctuated by light shining through stained glass windows embody an aspiration to be closer to the heavens. One feels connected with a divine, higher being inside these sacred spaces

cathedral
A high ceiling in sacred architecture

When we’re aware of the impact our immediate environment has on our well-being, we become more mindful of what we surround ourselves with. Places matter because we’re always in one. And yet, some essential ones are without physical manifestations. They color our perceptions and we take them with us wherever we go – our headspace and heart space

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