29 March, 2010

There’s No Place Like Home

By LuAnne Silvia
Last year I heard a speaker at International Market Square who discussed her book which I found to be a very interesting topic. The event was centered around the design of your home. They unveiled the Home of the Month selections for the upcoming year. The Home of the Month program is a partnership between the Star Tribune and the Minnesota chapter of the American Institute of Architects featuring architect-designed homes. We got a sneak peak of the homes through a slide show. There was also a guest speaker, author Dr. Toby Israel, who challenged us to examine our notions of home. Her book, "Some Place Like Home: Using Design Psychology to Create Ideal Places" delves into what she calls Design Psychology. Dr. Israel defines it as the "practice of architecture, planning and interior design in which psychology is the principal design tool." Meaning our childhood experiences of place influence our choice of where we live, our design philosophy beliefs and our design work. We either unconsciously replicate, rework or reject what we knew.
Toby led us through an exercise of putting descriptive words to what we remember about our childhood home.  Dr. Israel created "My Environmental Family Tree", similar to the family tree we are all familiar with in which we record our ancestors. On each branch we listed words that included describing the style, space, location, and our feelings about our rooms, backyards, and neighborhoods of our home and the homes of our closest relatives. The result is a detailed personal look at your relationship to the world. An experience of emancipatory design - design of depth and connection between self and place.
This week the designers of LiLu Interiors will examine their own childhood homes and relate them to our current homes and design philosophies. For more information on Dr. Israel's book, check out her website at www.designpsychology.net

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