The way you build and decorate an environment directly interferes with how you will behave – in a nutshell, whether you will be more or less happy. And this has less and less to do with subjective values like beauty, comfort and practicality, and more to the way the place stimulates our brains.
Today, more professionals in the segment resort to neuroarchitecture, in search of scientific explanations for solutions previously found by chance or based on intuition and empiricism. Recent studies indicate that the use of certain architectural, design and decoration features stimulate activity in various areas of the brain, favoring a sense of well-being.
“It is no exaggeration to expect from architecture a refuge not only physical but also psychological. Every time we come to our house, we complete each other, we meet psychologically. Intuitively, people organize the house with things they like, putting it on without thinking. This kind of architecture enhances this, in the way of organizing, making every detail of the environment thinking about your happiness, your pleasure ”, explains the architect Carla Felippe.
It is the Architecture of Happiness, a concept created by the Swiss philosopher Allain de Botton, author of a book and a documentary of the same name. Botton argues that a person’s residence should reflect both what he likes and what he lacks, should convey warmth and harbor his values and memories. In addition, it needs to reflect the time in which we live, our lifestyle, the interaction between technology and contact with nature. “The world has changed and architecture must follow its transformations,” he says.
It also means avoiding recreating ancient architecture, pastiche, that is, the “unconvincing reproduction of past styles”. He exemplifies with a case in Japan, where an entire housing estate with typical Dutch buildings was built, with no connection to the eastern past. In search for happiness The environments should be organized to provide safety, comfort and joy.
In a word, happiness.
And this feeling directly influences family relationships, social life and even professional productivity. Thus, it may not be the result of chance or subjective taste options such as heights of height, colors in the environment, shapes and materials of furniture, types and textures of objects, intensity of light, shape and size of windows.
These characteristics will generate the activation of different brain areas and, consequently, specific behaviors. For example, low and tight environments give the feeling of suffocation, creating negative feelings such as anguish and tension. The use of photos (families, friends, celebrations, travel) or even souvenirs (travel souvenirs) also help to arouse affective memory and, consequently, lead to the feeling of well being.
Acting together, neuroscientists and architects came to surprising conclusions by researching brain reactions in contact with different environments. Brain mapping, through magnetic resonance imaging and electrodes, reveals that some specific parts of the brain were triggered in different ways according to the situation: closed or very open environments; very light, dark or very colored; familiar objects, distant or even missing.
According to studies obtained by neuroimaging, the preference for curves is associated with affection, as it activates brain areas of emotional processing. There is also research that reveals an unconscious preference for shiny materials.
Research indicates that behavior, sensations and feelings change with the stimulus and this is related to the increase or suppression of certain hormones.
Architect Carla Felippe explains that the type and intensity of illumination can influence brain activity and, consequently, behavior. “Darkness is a requirement for us to produce melatonin, which is the sleep hormone. We only produce when it gets dark. If we do an exam, our cells have 3 to 10 times more melatonin at night. When humans lived in nature, that was normal. But with electric light, this changes, artificial lighting interferes with the body’s natural reaction. ”
In the early days, the evening light indicated to the human being the end of another day and the beginning of the period of relaxation and rest. With artificial light, this gradation stops happening and the organism is still under stimulation. “So when you get home after a busy day, you will want something soothing, you will not want rock and roll, full of strength, but bossa nova lighting.” She recommends not centering all lights on a single switch. “You have to turn on some of the lights.”
Sleep and melatonin
According to the architect, the difficulty of a person falling asleep may be related to the intensity of light. Intense lighting prevents the production of melatonin. “Decreasing the incidence of light starts producing melatonin.”
The quality of sleep interferes directly in the person’s mood the next day because it is related to the production of another hormone. “When you sleep all night long hours in the dark, it will produce a lot of melatonin. In the morning, when it gets sunlight, all the melatonin it can produce will turn into serotonin, which is the mood hormone. ”
In the middle of the night, to prevent a sudden interruption in melatonin production and thereby drive away sleep, she suggests installing “courtesy lights” in the residence. “When you wake up to go to the bathroom or go for a drink and not be exposed to a shock of light, and also do not risk bumping, tripping, falling into total darkness, it is good to put delicate points of light near the floor , some LED strips in the kitchen so you don’t stop your melatonin production. You just slow down and go back to sleep. If you turn on a fluorescent light in the middle of the night, you won’t be able to go back to sleep so fast. His melatonin thought: It has dawned.
Sunshine and artificial
The architect explains that the most comfortable lighting for humans is incandescent, because it reproduces the color of the sun. “The LED and fluorescent light make the look blink less often, it leaves the person alert. The choice of flourescent light in corporate environments is not just explained by the economics issue. It is a light that makes one more aware, increases production, but also causes more stress. Being exposed to this light eight hours a day is bearable, but then getting home and having it in all environments is too much, will cause irritability. ”
It indicates the installation of a lighting in the resting environment that allows the eye to blink more. “A weaker, dimmer light will make you feel more relaxed and also start producing melatonin.”
Nature The use of materials or resources that refer to nature tend to bring positive feelings. “In our DNA we have the information that nature is our environment. For millions of years, from generation to generation, this information comes. So, the choice of natural fibers, large spans that let natural light into the home, environments freer from so many tripping things, wood, landscaping, soft sounds. Sometimes you are far from the sea, but if you can put images of the sea will remind you of this. Plants give the feeling of time, watering, harvesting, changing. It’s a comfortable thing, ”explains Carla Felippe. According to her, there are studies that indicate that in natural environments, such as a forest, blood pressure decreases and increases the level of white blood cells, which are responsible for the body’s defense. Colors The choice of colors (and their intensity) also influence human behavior. “When we are exposed to red, our heart rate increases. No wonder, many people say that this color is aphrodisiac. But if you paint the whole room red, you are too exposed to this stimulus and subject to more irritability. To be pleasant, we need to peak at that feeling and then be pleasant again. ”
There are also relaxing colors such as blue and green. According to her, buying green dishes or a green restaurant are bad ideas, because this color decreases the production of gastric juice. “The pleasure of eating decreases,” he says. The colors yellow, orange and even red are stimulating this sense of pleasure. “Color is not decisive for starving, but it is something else. It’s like being all beautiful to go to a party and put on a perfume. It is completing a situation. ” She exemplifies with the case of Mc Donalds. “They use stimulating colors to buy on impulse, and they also use very uncomfortable, hard, fixed chairs. It is a stimulating environment to go and at the same time repellent, not to stay too long. It’s not a quiet place for you to talk to, it doesn’t have acoustic protection, a soft sound, none of that. ”
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