Feng Shui Dictionary, Feng Shui Glossary
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 complementary 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.
Change The only constant is change, noticed Heraclitus in 500 BC. Heraclitus’s theory of flux suggests that we never step into the same river twice because the river has changed and we have changed in the process. The same applies to our homes. With space conditioning, we change it all the time. It’s a co-creating process, working both ways. The relationship with your home or workplace is the key to your resilience, especially in radically uncertain times. Is your home/workplace supporting you? Are you supporting yourself by co-creating harmonious and balanced working and living environments?
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 the people working there.
Bagua model In feng shui, different spaces 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 corners and patterns should be minimised.
Positioning How workstations are positioned in space can affect the performance of the workforce. Sitting in ‘a power/commanding position’ where one has the support of a wall and a 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.
Electromagnetic pollution A man-made radiation that can have negative effects on humans, according to a huge body of research available.
Geopathic stress A general term for describing geological abnormalities related to Schumann resonance that can affect health and performance. More on geopathic stress
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.
Locus of control In psychology, it is a personality construct and a general disposition to believe that things happen to you because of your own action and decisions (internal locus of control), OR they happen to you and you’re a victim of circumstances (external locus of control). Psychology suggests that it’s healthier to have an internal locus of control, to take control of your life, but sometimes things just happen out of the blue and you don’t have control.