Defining the subject

Something I learnt in school was to begin an essay by properly defining the scope. So I’d like to start by doing just that. The theme I drafted for this blog was to discuss the impact of images on creating better living spaces. What are images? What are living spaces, and what can be judged as better?

Images, to me, represent visual representations of space and time. I wouldn’t constrict the definition to photographs. As a friend of the liberal arts, I hope you join me in the thought that paintings, drawings, scribbles, even temporary physical installations constitute the world of images. If constricting the notion of images to simply photographs, I feel it’s too one dimensional. You look at a picture and say, “OK, that very nice” leaving little room for imagination or interpretation. By expanding the idea of images, you begin to see what is beyond the scene. Images used for creating better living spaces need to do more than just represent a scene visually. They need to speak to us emotionally; they must convey the taste, sound, movement, touch, and smell.

So what are better living spaces then? I suppose it depends on who lives there and what the anticipated problems of that space is. There is no perfect place for any living species to live. Humans, like plants, are adaptable. There are areas in which we thrive, and perish in others. If we don’t define and thoroughly understand the circumstances we are designing for, then all the effort will go to waste. As a trained Industrial Designer, relating to the subject on a holistic plane and connecting with it through empathy, is text book practice. In some ways, better living spaces could be measured against worldwide resolutions for human rights. We all have the same biological needs and they are applicable to our habitat.

In some ways, we judge living spaces according to Abraham Maslow’s theory of hierarchy of needs. The coolest and best places I’ve visited are the ones where I reach self-actualization. In such places, I go beyond the experience and into a state of transformation. It moves me, captivates me, changes me. What more could you ask for from your surroundings? However mind blowing they might be, they are rare. What’s your place of transformation (besides the gym)?

So, think beyond photographs and consider the subjectivity of living spaces. Next I must tackle the means for using images to create better living spaces. Stay tuned, I have some very inspiring examples of how designers have used the power of images to investigate and conceptualize living spaces in the hope of changing the circumstances for the better.