The Canvas of Us

Our spaces say a lot about who we are

Space has always been the canvas through which design was seen and interacted with.

At a spiritual level, we notice that the creation story starts with the demarcation of space, followed by the occupation of the same. This is not tied to Christianity alone, every major faith speaks of space being created before it was filled. Long before architectural arts, space was defined by its utility before its design; A place to eat, a place to sleep, and a place to work. A quick browse of any old house styles and designs would reflect this. Over time men gathered into villages and villages grew into cities. With this growth, once communal utilitarian approach to design and building switched to a more individual aspect. This individual aspect is reflected in Modern living, creating the idea of space being an extension of the person, an external expression of the individual. While previously Man shaped architecture, today architecture shapes man. This is nowhere more visible than in the space of a creative whether professional or the creative at heart. From colour to choice of furniture to layout, creatives are stamping their brand of crazy and personality in all the spaces they live, work, and play in. Since the Covid 19 Pandemic that saw lockdowns instituted in 2020, more and more people have been forced to stay and work from home. However, these home spaces that once served one purpose must now be tweaked to serve many functions. The importance of space, one that serves both the needs of the worker and leisure citizen, has become the focus.

The focus on individual space has several built environment trends driven to create spaces that are both pleasant and productive to allow all to keep creating.

However, there is a darker side to this. According to a BBC article one in ten regret COVID purchases, items acquired for activities done during the lockdown. This buying spree while welcome by some retailers also highlights how poor buying and planning with no regard to the future can be detrimental. The number of items being thrown out and clogging landfills post lockdown is testimony to that. Our place in the larger context, the world that we live in, the space that we all occupy and carve out for ourselves begs the question, how do we maintain balance need, and sustainability. watching the world grind to a halt as global interdependent systems slow has shown how no one operates in a vacuum, our actions and habits have an effect on many miles away. a symbiosis that has been at play since the first man built a shelter. The many reports of drops in pollution, the resurgence of wildlife, and green show how if we really wanted to, we could help reverse some of the negative impact of man's built space on the natural environment. Just as well conceptualized and designed space is a boost to creativity and creation of art, our well-intentioned purchases can have an effect years to come both good and bad. To tie it back home, design practices that focus on renewable and sustainable practices from both the individual and corporation are a step in the right direction. Architecture and built environment practices that seek to pay forward benefit to us today and the planet tomorrow have never been more critical and urgent.

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