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Interior Futures

Liming Huang

Originally from Hebei, China, Liming Huang is a spatial designer passionate about Interior architecture, Narrative space, Design for wellbeing and Interdisciplinary design. Before coming to the RCA, she graduated from East China Normal University as an 'Outstanding Graduate' in Shanghai, 2019. She has participated in design practices like retail designs, residential design, exhibition design and lighting design.

She prefers working with mixed media like videos, collages, 3d modelling and writing. In the Interior Futures platform, she was obsessed with how neuroscience and psychology work with spatial design to create PERMAspace for wellbeing.


Degree Details

School of Architecture

Interior Futures

The epidemic severely challenged our balance between digital life and physical life. When the epidemic is over, will we return to the previous balance between digital and physical? I assume that people might appropriately expand the proportion of digital in their life since the digital platforms have been upgraded while the physical haven’t. Therefore, what self-reflection and suggestion will the physical environment carry out? How can we spatial designers intervene to help the physical recovery?

In this project, I was looking at how to reactivate/reuse the general office tower in the post-covid context and how spatial design can intervene to promote wellbeing and encourage human flourishing. My working method is to research wellbeing and site respectively and then apply both the research results into practice. 

The project, ‘EE-scape’ is a science-inspired urban landscape that is parasitic in the existing building and consists of a relaxation zone and an energy zone that provides workers and nearby residents with additional spaces to meet, take a brief rest from the digital-dominant life and embrace the recovery of physical experience.



The video is the research archive of the project 'EE-scape'. By studying the construct of 'Environmental Enrichment' and how we sense and perceive the environment, some programming test and sensory experiments are conducted to help propose the design approach that reflects the physical experience after the pandemic.


Medium:

Film

Size:

00:04:48
Site Reading
The 'Served' and 'Servant' Space — The cores reminded me of Louis Kahn’s idea of "served and servant spaces”. The “served” spaces are those spaces in a building that are actively used, “servant” spaces being those spaces that serve the utilised. Louis Kahn's sketches of the Scottish Castles were a strong inspiration for later works. The existing servant spaces of the building are mainly designed for our basic physiological needs. What about servant spaces for wellbeing?

Medium:

Diagrams
Design development based on the research

This construct of Environmental Enrichment gives me an idea of the connection between space and its inhabitants. I thought about what ‘enrichment’ means here, and I summarised them into two aspects, diversity and empathy. Diversity refers to how many different states the inhabitant can experience in space. Empathy refers to how deep each experience connect with the inhabitants.

In the research, I found that the sympathetic and parasympathetic autonomic nervous systems cooperatively modulate internal physiology to maintain homeostasis. The sympathetic nervous system corresponds with energy generation. and the parasympathetic system promotes calming of the nerves to regular functions. So the questions I mentioned before can be divided into these two categories, need relaxation, which means stimulating the parasympathetic nervous or need energy, which means stimulating the sympathetic nervous.

So I want to insert two servant spaces in the existing building, a relaxation zone and an energy zone. They offer places for the office worker and the nearby residents to connect with themselves, or connect with others or connect with the planet. And each of them will have a new entrance by the street that could create more direct connections. Also, I was wondering what will happen if the two new zones meet the existing volumes and programmes, and what will happen if the two zones meet each other.


Medium:

Diagrams
Relaxation zone sensory experience — 00:00:20 SIGHT - green, water, natural light, canalside scenery, sunset, birds. HEAR - bird chipping, wind, water sound, people chatting in low voice, yourself breathing, city noise far away. TOUCH - materials, soil, plants, water. SMELL - material aroma, fresh plant, fresh air.
Energy zone sensory experience — 00:00:22 SIGHT - bright colours, others doing physical activities, others working or meeting, visuals moving fast. HEAR - body movement sound, people chatting and laughing, heavily breathing. TOUCH - materials, your skin. SMELL - material aroma, sweat, fresh air.

Medium:

Videos
The Journey Film
The Script

Music credit: Danying Yu

Sound effects credit: BBC sound effects

Medium:

Film

Size:

00:01:37