Interior Architecture: An Empathetic Approach.
This study explores the role of ‘empathy’ in commercial Interior Architecture design. Topics of phenomenology, sensory experience of space, and design representation are analysed to develop a design approach relative to brand identity and local vernacular. This includes key research preoccupations including reinterpretation and adoption of select precedents’ use of style, form, materiality, lighting and colour within an interior, in an attempt to ensure the final design outcome embodies a sense of ‘empathy’.
Each topic is researched through formal experimentation. This includes literature review, digital modelling and drawing. Design outputs are continuously analysed and recorded, framed carefully and clearly utilised.
The result presents a proposal for an interior fit-out for the clothing brand Zambesi, located at 107 Customhouse Quay, Wellington. The design revealed that an empathetic approach to designing a commercial interior ensures a stylistically informed atmosphere that successfully emotionally and physically connects with its inhabitants.
The result establishes that the most important variables within an empathetic approach are attention to the bodily and emotive response to the built environment, purposeful reference to local vernacular, and abstraction or reinterpretation of composition of architectural elements. This asserts the importance of design awareness and sensitivity, critical thinking, design communication and representation towards designing a meaningful space.
In conjunction with this, the outcome inverts our usual modes of spatial understanding and highlights the urgency for solutions to our current disposition of commercial interiors, as they lack any substantial attempt to create meaningful and connective spaces.