The designed environment is defined by the ideas it wishes to convey and also by those that are unintended.
Designed environments make use of physical space as a storytelling medium. Companies and organizations can leverage design to better communicate their ideas, as well as their identity, mission, and values, in physical spaces. The built environment is particularly valuable for evoking emotions and perceptions that more subtle or even elusive than the ideas that come through text and imagery. Everything from colors and finishes, to natural light and space planning can convey values, identity, and ideas in ways that feel natural and unintended to the visitor, despite being quite intentionally employed to inspire, motivate, and delight. Take, for example, the findings of a 2012 design research study which found that people were more likely to enter a space filled with curvilinear elements than a room filled with rectilinear forms, when given the choice between the two. They even reported more positive and welcoming feelings toward the former space than the latter. A space can be deliberately designed to affect behavior and perception, and to convey ideas and values, like welcome, and feel totally unforced, natural, and even delightful to visitors.
Dazkir, S.A., & Read, M.A. (2012). Furniture forms and their influence on our emotional responses toward interior environments. Environment and Behavior. 44(5), 722-732.
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