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Albert Fuglsang-Madsen

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How do we optimise our surroundings for a positive subconscious effect?

I've been thinking about it, and it seems that music, colours, images and wallpapers have a positive effect on our minds, and makes us more "happy" so to speak; well the effects have a positive impact as for our moods. And I was thinking, how do we make the perfect environment in our rooms, apartments, houses? Perhaps we could make each room a specific atmosphere?

- All I would like to know is, if I want my subconsciousness to indirectly effect my brain to a happier mood, perhaps I should add specific colours to my room, make sure the posters contain nature pictures? Or play specific music or something? How can we use this "science" to help us have a more healthy mentality?

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    Feb 23 2012: Albert, great idea regarding putting a design focus on mental health within homes and public space. For both indoor and outdoor environments, I think the most crucial element for me is lighting. While colours do have an impact, the colour temperature of the lighting fixtures used (warm/cold), how the light is bouncing off walls/ceiling, and how hard/soft or bright/dim the lighting is play an important role in our subconscious perception of our surroundings. Think of the flashing lights in clubs, the cold off-while lighting in office buildings, and the warm candle light in romantic restaurants – all of these projects very different mental states of being: fun, attentive, or relaxing. This also applies at home, as I’ve put an effort in redesigning the lighting in my home office so I could always work in a relaxing yet productive mood – the colour of the room, presence/absence of music etc. are actually secondary. The presence of streetlights also plays an important role in urban design as they give a better sense of security (and in fact research do show that areas with brightly illuminated sidewalks have lower crime rates). Lighting is often neglected or perceived as solely fulfilling ‘functional purposes’ but perhaps we should consider its critical role in social psychology, mental health, and spatial/urban design.

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