Post 354 – by Gautam Shah
Enrichments are personal interventions in an interior space. These are extras over the nominal functional provisions of space planning. Enrichments are used by professional designers as well as lay occupiers of the space. Professionals use it to enhance the thematic concept. These efforts, however, often lack the conviction for the actual occupier of the space. For lay persons enrichments evolve with the familiarity of space and mature over a long period. Enrichments are a subjective involvement of the user, reflected in the selection and placement of the enrichment. The selection follows traditions, taboos, customs, instincts, experience, perceptions, daring, suggestions and compulsions. The enrichments become a matured style of the locality or a group, an ethnicity of an era or a geographical identity.
Enrichments are selected for their own quality or appeal, and also as fitment to a given situation. By placing an element that is personal and familiar, there is an attempt to alter the scale, complexity and alienation of the space.
Enrichments are expressions that reduce the alienation, loneliness, and the incidence undesirable or severity of abnormal behaviours.
Personalization through enrichments occurs by many routes. Enrichments may not have a precise definition or explanation, but over a period gain an identity. The identification is achieved by confirmation to an ideology, expression of abstracted messages, display of authority, and being part of hierarchal structure. Enrichments represent cultural affinity, affirmation to a social cause (e.g. green spaces), a diffusion or concentration of an ideology, spiritual experience, history, continuity, or desire for contrast or diversity. Presence of some enrichments encourages the group dynamics with a sense of belonging. Enriched spaces have safety, security and assurance of performance.
Enrichments are means of personalization of a space. Installation or removal of the enrichments does not affect the utilitarian value of a space. Enrichments do serve a decorative and metaphoric purpose. Enrichments are extremely personal and frequently replaceable, so are transient entities. Some functional entities like bolsters, cushions, dusters, etc. are items of comfort but are accepted as enrichments. Enrichments are items of expression through their shape, form, scale, colour, texture, patterns, composition, symbolism, position or location, relationship with other objects.
- Objects that can be savoured from many sides and contexts, such as vessels, utensils, statues.
- Surfaces like paintings, murals, wall pieces, posters, mirrors, glass, patterns, that enhance the floors, walls or ceilings or become partitions.
- Furniture to aid postures, task supports, storage entities, space intervening objects, furnishings like carpets, bolsters and curtains.
- Hangings to fill up a space, mark a location, add dynamism, movement or change the static, reflects the ethereal or non-physical.
- Fittings and Fixtures that add to functionality of architectonic elements.
- Signage and Graphics to convey messages, indicate layout, symbols.
- Sensorial effects such as Illumination, odours, deodorants, textures, climatic effects (heating, cooling, moisturising), colours.
The schema for enrichments originates through several sources like media, inter-personal interactions, print media, TV, cultural heritage, caste, religion, locale, region, pride, leisure time, motivation and competition. It is also supported by desire to add on the convenience offered over industrially produced standard goods, love for artistic intervention or crafty manipulation, experimentation, innovation, improvisation, upgrade, repairs, etc.
Enrichments are added by a person, members of the family or leaders and members of a group. The theme, as a result inevitably has one or singular ’authorship’ and consistency of concept. This reflects in the unified effort. There is a continuous thread of concept, form, colour pallets, patterns, placement, symbolism, etc. Occasionally enrichments that are radically different also occur in such spaces, but over a period of time, odd things get accommodated. Even where a next generation inherits the space entity, their responses are nearly consistent, and something of the past survives or is consciously continued. When a person or family migrate to new environments, the new place carries the imprints of the old. In many instances (for example Asian-Indian homes in USA) transmit it more intensely. Where space designing is outsourced to professionals a new vocabulary of enrichment arrives, but these too get domesticated or personalized. Such personalization occurs through re-siting, re-orientation, and new contextual composition. In few instances it may awaken new lifestyles, but something of the past always reappears.
Enrichments affect the behaviour very mildly but persistently. The cumulative change over a period of time is far greater in content and extent. The enrichments reflect the personalization, so are very comforting and assuring. It represents the author and an age, and reminds the contribution of the author or the era. Enrichments add to the micro levels of comfort without destroying the standard scheme of the space. Enrichments customize a space circumstantially, according to local environmental needs, personal choices and tasks. Enrichments are self created and installed so their repair, alterations and replacement are within the personal ambit of skills and time management. Enrichments are demountable and transferable, so remain personal assets.
Enrichments are extensively used by retail outlets that rely on brand selling, and corporates who thrive on image making. Automobile showrooms flourish with superfluous space enrichments, because by the time some mature integration occurs, a new set of entities arrive. Compared to this corporate offices and hospitality spaces have well-integrated schemes. Other public spaces like museums, law courts, halls, etc. use enrichments very judiciously disguising as graphics or signage. Religious and political functions and processions use enrichments pretentiously to show their large following.