In built environments, flow can mean many things. It’s the way people move through the space, how places connect to each other, how rooms accommodate activities, how visual links tie different areas together, or even how energy flows through a space. Our experience of a place depends on how well its elements work together. Ease of movement depends on the location of entry and exit points, hallways, staircases, lifts, equipments and furniture. We can accomplish tasks more efficiently when a space supports our bodies and meets our functional needs. When details, materials, colors and textures connect to each other, design flows and qualifies as cohesive. Patterns and recurring features also evoke rhythm and motion. All of these can be achieved through efficient space planning, application of appropriate design principles and careful construction.

Mass and energy are both but different manifestations of the same thing

Albert Einstein

In 1948, Albert Einstein said that “mass and energy are both but different manifestations of the same thing.” E = mc² means (E)nergy and (m)ass are interchangeable, through a (c)²onversion factor. Quantum physics also teaches us that energy is all around us. How energy flows through a space and its effect on occupants are part of a holistic approach to interior design. From ancient China to the modern world, feng shui harmonizes occupants with their environments by improving the flow of qi, a universal life force which connects and permeates everything and everyone. Though several schools have developed through the years, some elements remain constant. These include: a well-defined and functional entryway, clutter-free areas, visibility of the door from the bed, desk, stove; use of mirrors, care of house plants, and symbolism.

spaces that flow
Outdoors flowing into an indoor space

Stagnant energies reside in clutter. New opportunities, including career and relationships, are not made manifest as there’s no room for growth

Sophia Calima

In feng shui, qi enters our space through the entryway. If it’s disorganized or impeded in some way, qi cannot flow. Stagnant energies also reside in clutter. New opportunities, including career and relationships, are not made manifest as there’s no room for growth. The bed, desk and stove represent relationships (with the self, one’s health, and with a significant other), career and wealth, respectively. It’s important to be in a commanding position while using these pieces of furniture. A desk facing the door (without being directly in line with it), and a solid wall at the back means being in command of one’s career. Mirrors magnify any attribute, expand a space or pull something back, depending on what’s needed. They work best when they reflect beauty and abundance. Plants increase productivity and add vitality to a space. In the five element theory, they represent wood, flexibility, growth, new beginnings, harmony in the family and kindness. Cultivation of plants attracts these positive qualities into one’s life.

desk
In feng shui, desk represents career

When it comes to imagery, it’s best to be surrounded by photos, objects and artworks which inspire, comfort and empower because the built environment works like a 3D vision board. What we see everyday can either motivate us toward our goals or remind us of missed opportunities. Be mindful of what you surround yourself with 🕉

Sophia Calima

Feng shui is also rife with symbols which appear to be universal. Some people consider the color red auspicious, while some don’t. Truth is, responses to these representations are deeply personal as they are influenced by culture and experiences. When it comes to imagery, it’s best to be surrounded by photos, objects and artworks which inspire, comfort and empower because the built environment works like a 3D vision board. What we see everyday can either motivate us toward our goals or remind us of missed opportunities. The bed, for example, relates back to the self, one’s health and a partner. Ideally, objects in the bedroom should convey tranquillity and rejuvenation. When dealing with affairs of the heart, avoid any kind of single imagery where possible. Items around the bed, including night tables and artworks, should be a set of two or at least portray a happy couple. Lastly, and perhaps my favorite because of its simplicity, opening windows clears out stale air, helps a room come alive by allowing air to flow!