There was a time when no office design consultant could move an inch without stopping to consult the flow of their chi or tripping over a money frog. While Feng Shui may well be better known to you as the non-stop buzzword of the 90’s, some of the aesthetics of that early movement still carry on today. Giant Leap today takes a good look at this trend, and what you need to know.
What is Feng Shui anyway?
Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese school of thought which emphasises shaping your space to encourage the clear flow of energy [‘chi’] and minimize bad luck or misfortune. It hinges on principles such as the balance of yin and yang, use of the 5 elements theory, and other schools of thought very important to the Taoist understanding of nature. Part of this hinges on reading the Bagua ‘map’, or sectors, of the building and allocating each space a specific life meaning. Inadequacies in any area would be believed to have a knock-on effect in real life unless the area was reworked or cures added to combat the imbalance.
The glitzy heyday
Feng Shui rose as a design trend throughout the nighties, rooted in the glitzy-glamorous Hollywood lifestyles of Florida. While space organisation was an important part of this Eastern revolution, the initial heyday ventured far more deeply into the mythological aspects of Feng Shui then you will see in modern office design, bringing in sometimes jarring elements like traditional Feng Shui statues and items, Feng Shui ‘cures’ for missing sectors and other ‘detrimental’ areas, and sticking to a set range of ‘safe’ colours in each space.
The modern take
Shorn of all the mythical distractions, however, the roots of Feng Shui actually promote fantastic office design. It hinges on key concepts like the fact that flowing, open and clutter-free spaces promote mental wellbeing and make one more productive; and that natural sounds and great light promote a feeling of well-being and a more positive mindset. It’s possibly the first design trend that emphasized that a comfortable, happy person is a good worker, and that colour can be skillfully used to evoke mood. While it’s highly unlikely that you will see the squatting money frog as a serious design element in any modern office without regard to culture, a wider and more holistic view of the office space lingers, in part thanks to the early boom in Feng Shui design, and many of the core principles of space design it imparts are now viewed as key in a well-designed space.
If you’re keen to de-clutter and rectify your own office space, why not let the Giant Leap team guide you to your perfect office today?