Free Trial

Safari Books Online is a digital library providing on-demand subscription access to thousands of learning resources.

Share this Page URL

Chapter Two: Being > Design for Well-Being - Pg. 76

Rimini Convention Center, designed by GMP Studio, Rimini, Italy. Designed to showcase, house, and facilitate the movement of hundreds of people, this easily accessible and differently detailed void space pro- vides a change of shape, form, ma- terials, and experience. When stan- ding in the middle and below the rotunda with its contemporary wood detailing, the quality of light and sound envelope the body in a starkly different manner to when moving through the wide (yet low-ceilinged) corridors or the extra tall major art- eries which form the primary circu- lation axis. This kind of intentional change of experience is essential for sustained human attention and sensory satisfaction. part of a balance of opposites: we can only understand it by experiencing its absence in any form. Human nature exhibits consistent duality. For us to survive, the state of opposites ­ such as the private and the public ­ is a necessity. The element of contrast is rarely seen in terms of stabilizing counterparts, and within most foundational art and design education it is commonly and fundamentally discussed only in the context of visual balance; this needs to be expanded to include a broader range of experiences. Design for Well-Being The promotion of human well-being is the end goal of design. We realize well-being in design through careful consideration of qualitative criteria ­ a person's innate, cultural, and specific needs ­ which, when implemented, result in the optimal environ- ment for the individual in question. While the instinct for survival forces humans to find the means to live, attaining a state of well-being promotes efficiency, pro- ductivity, and satisfaction across society. This optimal condition elevates human behavior, inspiring people to do, and become, better. When people experience well-being they come together with more dignity and a sense of pride within their designed environment. But to foster this, design must promote intangible factors such as trust and respect. Successful design, therefore, does not rely only on artistic elements but also on factors that help to define the individual's place in the world at large. Clearly, most design does not achieve this end. One reason for this may be the extent to which it is still preoccupied with formal or stylistic effects, on creating beauty with no consideration of how an environment supports the user. Beauty is integral to, but will not alone produce, human well-being. The Fluxus artist Robert Filiou stated the problem cryptically yet correctly: "Art is what makes life more interesting than art." Put another way, art is a part of life but is not sufficient to sustain us. Joy and satisfaction, those foundations of artistic pleasure, can be expe- rienced only alongside the equally critical sensations of security and comfort ­ factors that design must address comprehensively. Another gauge of total well-being could perhaps be explored through the ultimate measure of the user's sense of happiness, which also is a measure of successful design. Since we cannot aspire to be continuously happy, not only because this is impossi- ble but also because happiness is experienced in contrast to our emotional valleys, the built world must mimic life's contrasts, whether it does this in terms of the inside versus the outside, darkness versus light, or loudness versus silence. We can only enjoy fugitive moments of happiness in an environment of sus- tained well-being, one characterized by elements that promote both psychological and physiological health. Well-being is therefore not simply an internal measure, but is 76 Chapter Two