How Design Can Enhance the Human Experience

The purpose of design is to enhance and elevate the human experience. Through our practice, we have always tried to create human-centric spaces, focussing both on the functionality and ergonomics of space and its emotional impact on users. The spaces that we create communicate with users, not just on a visual or intellectual level but also on a psychological and emotional level.

Beyond styles and trends, understanding the influences that various materials and design elements can have on their users is an integral part of the process of conceptualising a space. These influences can be played upon to develop a sense of positivity and belonging.

For instance, on entering a building for the first time, as humans, we subconsciously register the materials used, textures, colours and lighting, because of the feelings they evoke. Tones of wood bring forth a feeling of warmth, while grey hues induce a feeling of calm and stability. A combination of various such elements works to stimulate the senses.

At the SMR Jaipuria School, Lucknow, we employed several strategies to introduce vibrance and a sense of community to the existing building. A large, straight flight of stairs in striking orange breathes life into the previously disused courtyards, thereby converting them into the centre of interaction for the students. Built-in seating and planters in the courtyard enable community building between children of all grades. The walls around are animated with drawings by the students showcased on a display system made of wood along with low-level chalkboards. These interventions transform the area into a playful and energetic space, redefining the conventional institutional typology to create an environment that is inviting.

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At the Mehra Residence in New Delhi, the driving intent behind the home’s design was to make the most of the site’s vistas overlooking the Delhi Ridge. Through the interior scheme, we reinforce this intent in multiple ways. We use multiple large openings that create a seamless connection between the inside and outside. The interior palette features warm and neutral tones that allow the framed views to act as the focus of each space. The subtle tones also create a perfect base for the multigenerational family to customise as per their preferences. The use of materials like marble and wood, juxtaposed against the ample natural light that floods the home, lends the home a serene and peaceful ambience.

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We see design as a tool that can be leveraged to transform spaces from mere surfaces and walls to evocative environments for their users. The most successful designs are those that speak to their users on an emotional level and have a story to tell.

Shubhra Dahiya, Partner, team3