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How Your Environment Can Help You Design Better

By Maria Lorena Lehman — Get more articles like this sent to your email HERE.

Image Credit: © Photographee.eu | Fotolia

Your environments are an extension of you. They can mirror your emotional state, can prompt you toward your next activities, can calm you down when you need tranquility and can help you to socialize when you want interaction with other people. But how can you use the environments around you to actually help you design better? Can environments trigger behavior change that helps you to reach your goals — thus, helping you to achieve what you may not have otherwise accomplished?

Everyday Memory that Inspires

Within the places that you frequent everyday (like your home or office), you keep items there that matter to you. These items often hold memory or aspirations that are very personal to you. If you think about it, even everyday items are within your environment because they help you to do things better. Just imagine writing with your favorite pen on a beautiful piece of paper…is that not inspirational to you? By surrounding yourself with meaningful items within your environment, you can actually better “visualize” your past successes and future accomplishments — and this will help you to work toward your goals, by taking action on them at just the right times. Be mindful of what goes into your environments because you see these items everyday, and these items can impact your thoughts, emotions and behaviors. Use your surroundings to inspire you through “everyday memories” of the past and future to help uplift your inspiration, knowledge and design process.

Use Your Environment to Fuel Your Curiosity

I often help architects to be more innovative with their designs. And a great first step toward accomplishing this is to follow your curiosity and your drive toward experimentation. By using your environment to help fuel these activities, you will feel more inspired, motivated and compelled to explore your architecture from new dimensions.

For instance, what view do you have (if any) while working? Does it incorporate something beautiful and inspirational that uplifts and motivates you? Also, what items do you keep near your work area — amazing books, models, drawings, or even tools?

Environment as Incubator for Breakthrough Ideas

It is important for you to also have the “space” to work. While within the midst of a project, sometimes space becomes hard to find within your environment, but without space cleared for new ideas, new explorations and new design concepts —- how can you take on new challenges that lead toward great innovative breakthroughs?

Use your environments to fuel your curiosity, which in turn, fuels your drive toward innovation. And keep in mind that your environment is “teaching” you everyday as it reinforces what you love, do or have not changed. To make a positive change, alter or add to your environment to promote the habits, thoughts, emotions and behaviors you would like to achieve. This can affect aspects like your ability to generate new design ideas, or even the way you engage with your design process.

Your environment surrounds you. It mirrors you. It expands you. So, be sure to create a space where your ideas and designs can thrive. Wherever you are, your environment informs you — thus, you should capitalize upon this and help it help you to achieve your design aspirations.

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Maria: I came across your website through a reference in today's Architect Weekly ezine and am delighted I did. I'll bookmark your site and check back often. I read the first article and then the second and thirty minutes later realized how much time had passed. I've been practicing for thirty years and have always missed the stimulation of academia. I find each of your brief dissertations sort of like a day in design studio. Thanks for the inspiration.

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Dennis McLaughlin
McLaughlin Architect
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Maria Lorena Lehman is a multi award-winning visionary author, designer, and educator from the United States. Maria holds a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors from Virginia Tech and a Master in Design with Distinction from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. CLICK HERE to learn more.

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