I love modern interiors. But as I look at photos I’ve saved, I can see a difference between warm and cool, between modern comfy and modern austere. Warm and comfy make me feel good; cool and austere, not so much.
Here are some examples of what I am talking about. First the warm.
Then the cold.
Too be frank, the one on the right above isn’t actually that cold. But it sure is busy. In either case, not for me. It does not make me feel good.
I am very curious about what makes the spaces we live in harmonious or discordant and the effect of that visual experience on our well being.
Turns out, I’m not alone. There is some serious work being done in this general area by the neuropsychologists, neuroaestheticians, and the neuroarthistorians.
Neuroarthistorians? What, you’ve never heard of it? Neither did I, but yes, it’s a legitimate field. It started at Cambridge University. Can’t get more legitimate then that!
There is lots of work being done all over the world about how we perceive, how we experience art biologically (in our brains) and how the artists and the beholder interact from the perspective of what was the intention of the artist and how we “see” that intention. I use “see” in quotes because the act of seeing/perceiving turns out to be a lot more then the relatively simple path from our eyes to our brain.
I am just finishing reading a very interesting book about this, The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconsicous in Art, Mind, and Brain by Eric R. Kandel. Kandel won the 2000 Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology for his work on memory storage in the brain. He is also a fabulous writer and the book is clear and comprehensible about a complex subject. He knows a ton about art as well, particularly art from fin de siecle Vienna — Klimt, Kokoschka, and Schiele. Great review of the book here.
I’m gaining some insight about we “see” things and how our perception effects our experience. So, watch this page for more about the effect of harmonious vs discordant interior design on our well-being.