I want to create a space which allows you to calm down and relax. My personal experience is that meditation (in a totally rational way, not esoteric) can help you in many ways. For example as a self healing process mentally or physically. Or simply for calming down, sorting thoughts and in my case sleeplessness. Many apartments, workspaces and general public spaces don’t provide any places for relaxation. Although rest is an important part of life. (We are not made to be in a 100% work modus the whole time). Taking a break will help to regenerate.
What is meditation?
Meditation is known in a variety of cultures. Therefore the term can be interpreted differently depending on what your cultural background is. Generally speaking is meditation a state of mind. How you can achieve this, can have as many different approaches as there are people. Commonly most known and in everybody’s head right now, is probably a person sitting in the lotus position. But is not an act of doing or thinking: “I must think nothing now”. It is a state of awareness, in which you don’t ‘loose control’ but gain it.
What is a room/ space?
Seeing it from an architectural point of view, is space what you create, structure and design. To gain places which are designed for their purpose. This purpose can be indoors for generating rooms such as offices, entry halls, bedrooms and so on. Or to construct a public space in which you interact, such as cities, parks and streets. There are three categories of spaces: Private, semi-public or public. Private are all apartments and hotel rooms which are only open to the people who have access to it. Semi public are shared spaces with limited access like schools, museums and communal spaces. The public space can be used by everyone with no limited access.
This space I want to create isn’t meant to be my own, everyone should feel free to experience how meditation can be of help. Or maybe at least enjoy a quiet moment for themself. Therefore it is quite important to ask these ‘others’ what they expect of such kind of space. I started a small survey in my circle of friends, family and work to find out what people need/ want for a meditation or relaxation ‘room’. Because some people didn’t know right away what I was expecting of them, I wrote down some simple questions to get their motor running. During the time we talked I took notes and made sketches.
Think of a place or space. This place should help you relax, calm down and maybe also help you meditate. It doesn’t have to be a room or something that already exists.
How does this space look like?
Is it Indoor or outdoor?
Is it dark or rather light? Or maybe something in between?
What do you feel? Is there a certain element or thing which is important?
Are there different materials or structures? And of what kind are these?
After receiving all different kind of information I sorted them into two main groups.
Indoor: Meditational spaces which take place inside a room. For what I understood the resemblance is that all these rooms implicate a feeling of safety or security. They all have a window or something similar as a natural light source. Materials like wood and fabric where also a recurring topic. The general atmosphere was always quiet or no sound at all. I also like to mention that all the people I questioned wanted to be alone in the space, to successfully reach a meditational state of mind.
Outdoor: The Places which fit into the category outdoor always had a movement of some kind involved. Shadows of trees or fabric in the wind, but also movement simply through walking. I guess the ritual of ‘calming down’ through strolling around and then stopping at a suitable place, was quite important here. Even though all these are located outside the people wanted to feel warmth, mostly evoked through materials. Again ‘natural materials’ such as wood is the one most mentioned.
Trying out arrangements of shapes, sizes, structures and colours to create this space.
These pictures are all taken in Tokyo, Kyoto and Odawara and show relaxation or meditation spaces in public accessible areas. I hope I can transfer all the information I got in Japan into my project.#