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Is Deliberate Chaos Ever Good Design Expression?

Sometimes it's hard for people to understand how chaos can have meaning in design – it can be like looking at a Jackson Pollock and saying, “My five-year-old could do that,” in response to the famed painter’s dots, drips and drabs.</br></br>To ask what art <em>means</em>, however, is to lose the more important aspect of how it makes us <em>feel</em>. There’s a technical way to break down Pollock’s method, but the deconstruction may not help a person connect to the work.</br></br><strong>Evocative Interior Design</strong></br></br>The same could be said of interior design. We often describe rooms that make us feel “cold” or “warm,” but these are just familiar emotions that are easily accessed and referenced. It doesn’t define the limits of our emotional bandwidth.</br></br>If you think about it, you can probably remember a time when just the look of a room made you feel happy, sad, at peace or afraid – consider the difference between a doctor’s office and a spa lobby.</br></br>This might provide a clue that can help us achieve greater interior design, perhaps even by using chaos ... or at least appreciating it.</br></br><strong>Memory, Nostalgia &amp; Expectations</strong></br></br>As we move through life, we gather experiences and memories, and they end up shaping our expectations. And, in a nutshell, that’s why many of us feel anxiety when we visit the doctor’s office, or face a chaotic mess.</br></br>It’s usually not very fun, which is why we try to avoid letting those design motifs creep into our homes.</br></br>We can take advantage of this when we approach our own interior design schemes; by considering our shared experiences, we can balance our desire for uniqueness against what we expect people to feel in the space we’re designing.</br></br><strong>Chaos vs. Calm</strong></br></br>So, how do we apply all of this to chaos in design?</br></br>Most of us would assume that calmness is preferred over stress, and science tells us that <a title="Psychology Today" href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/high-octane-women/201203/why-mess-causes-stress-8-reasons-8-remedies" target="_blank">chaos does in fact cause more stress</a> – but maybe not always. Maybe it all depends on a person’s expectations.</br></br>There has been a subtle movement lately, spurred by books and social media conversations, that we must “embrace our messy lives,” which of course extends far beyond interior design. But, design is certainly part of it.</br></br>And, as we’ve come to find out, <a title="Elite Daily" href="http://elitedaily.com/elite/psychology-behind-messy-rooms-messy-room-may-necessarily-bad-thing/708046/" target="_blank">a mess is not always a bad thing after all</a>. Chaos can promote creativity and a sense of self, although one of the catches may be our awareness of the mess – and that could be a feather in the cap for deliberate chaos in interior design.
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