Essential feng shui glossary terms, concepts for architects, interior designers, environmental psychologists
Feng shui A discipline that studies the relationship between people and environments (similar to environmental psychology) with the aim of optimising working environments to boost focus and performance as well as job satisfaction and reduce stress and staff turnover among other things.
Energy flow Energy and energy flow is the key concept in feng shui. Human attention and focus is attracted and moderated by physical elements such as paths, focal points, shapes, colours, plants, lighting and so on.
Yin & Yang Yin and yang is about balancing complimentary elements on every level and avoiding too much of anything. For example, angularity should be balanced with curvilinearity, warm colours with cooling colours, natural daylight with artificial lighting, open spaces with closed spaces, hard surfaces/textures with soft surfaces/textures, etc.
Five elements According to oriental philosophy there are five elements: water, wood, fire, earth and metal which are based on seasons and have corresponding colours, shapes, directions and materials. The aim of feng shui is to have a balanced combination of all the elements in any workspace depending on the needs of people working there.
Bagua model In feng shui, different space can represent different aspects of business such as clients, partnerships, collaboration, innovation, projects, legacy, teamwork, wealth and profits, expertise, success and reputation and so on. Depending on the needs of the company these areas can be energised to boost the corresponding aspects.
Shapes Research suggests that people have a preference for curvilinearity vs. angularity. Adding round or oval shapes will naturally balance angular environments. Sharp corner and patterns should be minimised.
Positioning How workstations are positioned in space can affect the performance of workforce. Sitting in ‘a power / commanding position’ where one has a support of a wall and clear, diagonal view of doors is preferred. Sitting with one’s back to the door or opposite the door or with a window behind can instil feelings of insecurity, stress and even anxiety. For example
Workplaces as metaphors and semiotics Feng shui works through energies, symbols, metaphors, affects, sensations, narratives, anchors, images and expectations. Semiotics is a study of meaning-making and is a very useful tool to help not only to elicit people’s perceptions of any workplace but also to manage those perceptions.
How people perceive their workplaces will affect their performance, work satisfaction, staff retention and so on.