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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Forster

How we really make a difference

The ability of design to influence how we experience life is profound and herein lies the challenge of how we use our design skills and what should our aims be. My interest is how spaces impact on a psychological and emotional level and how, as designers, we can positively influence the experience of users to support their health and wellbeing and influence behaviour.

A focus on trends and ‘getting the look’ has its place as long as we are able to decode the components and select materials, colours, and finishes and shape and manipulate the journey and transitions through spaces with an acute awareness of how the experience will make people feel.

This model of truly human centred design applies equally to interior spaces and exterior spaces that form an intimate relationship with their users and with this toolkit we can tackle the issues, for example, of how do we make a new student feel at home in their accommodation, how to stimulate creativity in the workplace and how to reduce bullying and vandalism in schools.

I’m asking designers to understand the true impact of our design decisions and then have the ambition to tackle the pressing issues that impact the way we feel and our ability to function as human beings. The end result being beautiful and practical spaces that support happy and healthy people.

This image, created by 3rd year student Mia Lawson is an early development visual exploring spaces that can tackle the issue of loneliness. The concept of OUR LONELY FIGURES is used to as a campaign for loneliness. The word OUR indicates it’s our problem as a society, as humanity. Her aim is to create an installation in order to not only help combat loneliness but to start the conversation about it.

“It is a very hard topic that not many individuals like to speak about but is present among all of us at stages in our lives. With covid, it has made individuals feel lonelier than ever without the possibility to meet up with friends or with the potential of moving to a new city and not knowing anyone. I strive to create an impact with this concept in order to create change and spur the conversation.”

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