Environmental contextualization in defining eco-aesthetics of interior components

Magdalena Celadyn


The paper analyses a concept of interior architectural design called Design for formal and physical minimalism DfFPM derived from environmental contextualization. It is to accomplish the sustainable design strategy of resources’ effectiveness and to identify the attributes of eco-aesthetics of indoor environment. The analysis is based on the comparative case studies of interiors of commercial spaces completed recently. It is intended to juxtapose primary and complementary functions of components, their forms, methods of completion, as well as selected sustainable design strategies to comply with. The main purpose of the paper is to present restraints in the quantitative selection of materials for interior components, as a stimulating factor to define the features of ecological aesthetics, and thus to confirm the potential of Design for formal and physical minimalism in shaping of sustainable indoor environment.

The recognition of the environmental context in the formation of interiors and their components is confirmed by: 1) consideration of multidimensional impacts of interior components, understood as spatial and functional structures shaping the indoor environment on natural surrounding with emphasis on every phase of their life cycle; 2) respect for the interconnectedness and interdependency of indoor and natural environments; and 3) prevision of the consequences of relationship between designed and natural environments to minimize the negative results of this coexistence, and to create interiors of high environmental performance.

The possible implications of environmental contextualization in the design methodology for interior components, being mostly promising in terms of sustainable interior architectural design, combine the following: 1) shaping of the components of interior spaces as environmentally oriented function components; 2) adjustments in the existing behavioural model, as well as stimulation of pro-environmental schemes among the occupants of indoor environment with interior components as specific design tools to achieve it; and 3) development of criteria defining the eco-aesthetics of man-made environment and interior architectural design methods. The questions proposed regarding the latter involve: 1) accomplishment of the biophilic concept in the environmental integration of interior components and natural surrounding; 2) development of interior architectural design to comply with the adaptive reuse concept, in its physical and semantic perspectives; and 3) inclusion of restraints in formal solutions and physical aspects of designed components, as incentives for the innovative design methods and outlining of eco-aesthetics.

The question of control over the quantity of resources, and its influence on the development of an environmentally-related aesthetic category, are enclosed in the concept of interior architectural Design for Formal and Physical Minimalism, discussed in this paper. This design scheme, realized through the restricted usage of resources, presents the design strategies for sustainable interior components in defining of eco-aesthetic features. Design strategies comprise dematerialization and deconstruction, both directly related to the requirement of effective management of resources, as well as the model of multi-functionality of interior components. The latter refers to the question of optimization in the use of inner space and reduction of used building materials and products. The eco-aesthetic features assigned to interior components comprise: essence of usefulness and final appearance; intended lack of precision in workmanship; honest materiality; structural honesty; formal integration of structure and finishing; rawness; roughness. Design techniques and tools applied by designers offer the observers a strong experience of artefacts’ materiality, tangibility, texture and weight. These multi-sensual experiences endorse the pro-environmental statement enclosed in the components of indoor environment and stimulate changes in behavioural models of end-users’. The aesthetic occurrence of environmentally sustainable interiors and their components is defined by their experiential perception based on the users’ engagement in denoting of objects’ forms, structures and physical properties. Thus, the multi-dimensional, emotional, sensorial, as well as intellectual effects on the occupants of interior spaces reveal the inclusiveness of eco-aesthetics.

Keywords: interior components, eco-aesthetics, sustainable design, environmental contextualization, interior architectural design