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Interior Navigation Analysis: Art Studio

Over the past few weeks, we have covered some of the fundamental concepts and principles of design and interior and learned more about some key terms and the basis of architecture. Concepts like form and space from last week article or the Perspective Drawing of Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci from the High Renaissance period have taught us how to think like a designer and approach complex architectural challenges and opportunities. In this article, we want to walk you through these learnings and put these lessons into work and analyze an actual floor plan of an art studio designed by bluebeige designs. We are going to discuss the thought process, creative process and navigation and flow analysis of the space and how bluebeige designs approached some of the key challenges and requests of this project. We hope that this analysis can develop a deeper understanding of these concepts for you and help you apply these practices into your own design process. 

The Element, The Whole

The first step in analyzing nearly anything is to understand the relationship of each element of the design (volume) to the whole (site). In the site plan Parti below by bluebeige designs, the volume and composition of the art studio is marked in the site it is located on to outline the main characters, shapes and elements of the site and a very important component of design, the orientation of sun compared to the building. The Parti clearly highlights the proportions, textures, shapes, volumes and relationships of parts to each other and as a whole. This is a very important step in interior design to build an interior that connects to its surroundings, the nature and its site.

The Navigation, The Flow

We discussed in one of our previous articles the rule of addition and subtraction and the Progressive Subtraction concept. We advised against designing a space room by room by adding walls but instead letting the natural rhythm and connection between the interior and exterior to define the space. Let's take a quick look at how bluebeige designs accomplished this in interior space definition of the art studio with the schematic first story floor plan below:

1. The key goal of the art studio design was to provide privacy in a public/private space and allow room for the artist to have a work space as well as public gatherings in the Art Gallery while utilizing the nature and surroundings of the building. So naturally the entire space is developed around this idea of public/semi public and private/semi private spaces. That immediately defines the location of the main entrance to the building for us which is a loop circular entrance behind the building- as shown in the Site Plan Parti in the first image above. Placing the main entrance of the studio away from the car pathway and the road creates an unconscious sense of privacy, focus and detachment while placing windows around the entire space enforces the connection with the lake and nature outside and strategically provides natural lighting to the entire space.

2. It was important to let the practicality and functionality of the space add another layer to the navigation design and flow of the room when defining the interior spaces. Placing the standard 5’ bathroom right by the entrance ensures access for all guests, nothing more and nothing less. Staircase was also strategically placed in the back (South wall) of the architectural space to provide access to the second floor. Stairs are a semi-private function of the studio and only available to guests or team members who the artist would invite to his work studio upstairs. As one walks down the very defined and simple hallway to access the staircase, they see at a glance the beautiful artwork hung on the curved wall of the Art Gallery. The simple wall placed between the main entrance and the main functions of the first floor (Art Gallery and Guest Reception) has no significant architectural purpose but it forces to create a universal pathway and sets the tone for guests entering the space to signal what is to be expected ahead.

4. The wall here is a very important element of this interior design and without it we can see how the space would have felt undefined and unfinished. First it helps define the space and separate unimportant and noisy functions like bathroom and entrance from the most important function of the first floor if not the whole building, the art. The wall adds another significant layer to the interior as it creates an experience and a contrast against the art as one passes through the empty entrance and towards the art. The emptiness of the hallway and the blank wall (the Ma) is the perfect negative space needed to give focus and highlight to the positive space, the art. The natural light source from the window across the main entrance attracts attention and slowly introduces colors and textures from the nature outside to our visual field to help prepare and develop the palette and the eyes of the guests for the change in colors, textures and volume that will be coming soon from the art as one nears the Art Gallery area.

5. Perhaps the most important of them all is that the wall creates a sense of belonging and community in the space which is the core concept and value taken from any art. We, the people, always want to connect and belong to a group. The wall creates a refined and limited aceas to the main areas of Reception and Art Gallery. Placing the wall there evokes an emotional response of belonging and exclusivity that can create a deeper attachment to the art pieces on the curved wall and as the result more meaningful and successful sale for the artist. So, you see the hallway had to be there and be empty for it to work. It had to be a positive space in the overall negative space of the atmosphere to provide negative space for the positive space, the art.

6. Art Gallery was important to incorporate a different shape and that led the way to a curved wall in the architectural space. The curve against simple geometric shapes and 90-degree wall planes in the architectural space attracts attention which as the result highlights the art pieces on the windowless wall, with nothing to compete or distract from truly enjoying the art pieces and paintings on the wall. As we discussed in the form and space and the colors articles, curves attract more attention and hold more energy than a straight line especially placed against one-tone angles, in this case all 90-degree sharp corners. The colors from the artpieces on the simple white curved wall are the first things our eyes perceive and our brains process as we enter the room from and out of the neutral color palette of the entrance, given that our palette was developed and a signal for the new function was defined with the first glance view from the window by the staircase as we entered the building. The curve here creates a sense of softness and signals the idea of a change in perspective which can help bring the art closer to the heart and lead the way to new beginnings.

Interior by bluebeige designs- all rights reserved

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