Mindfulness through design

Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present in the current moment, without reactivity or judgement. When we are mindful, we observe what is going on around us and within us and often become aware of things that we might not otherwise notice, such as our feelings and emotions. Mindfulness has been shown to reduce stress, improve our well-being, and enhance our relationships with others.

The ability to be mindful is something that everyone possesses, but modern life can sometimes get in the way with our abundant technology and deadlines. However, the more you practice focusing your attention on the present moment, the better you get at it and the more benefits you derive.

One way to practice mindfulness is through design. As you engage with design objects such as furniture, home décor, and decorative figures, begin to see and feel the objects mindfully. The creator of each object had certain intentions for how and why they created it the way they did, and there are often interesting details that begin to tell a story.

For example, as you look back at the picture above, what do you see?

Do you notice that the chairs only have 2 legs, instead of the usual 4? Interestingly, the table legs have a similar slanted angle as the chairs, which gives a gentle balance and sturdiness to the three pieces of furniture. Keeping our gaze at the floor, notice that the wood panels are perpendicular to the wall, which draws us towards the wall and towards the furniture – almost as if we are driving on a road.

If you move your attention upwards, you see that the lampshades have a similar colour to the legs of the chairs. There is symmetry here, as the lowest aspects and the highest aspects of the picture come together. The lampshades resemble fingers, and it’s almost as if the lights are trying to grab the chairs with them.

Now look at the table, with all its intricate ornaments and vases. They tell their own story, despite being sandwiched in between the chairs. Why do you think the designer chose to put the things that way they are placed?

As you can see, a simple piece of design often reveals many hidden details that we may miss at first sight. By slowing down and being present, we practice being more mindful and appreciate more fully the beauty that is on offer.

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