How does something like silence relate to the concept of interior design trend? Let's start from the beginning...
If we think about it, silence is one of the most uncommon things in our times. Technology is beeping at us all the time, cities are noisy, our minds are filled with a never ending flow of words and images …in short words, there is just no space for silence in our days. Even at home, the diffusion of open spaces has made silence harder to achieve, with less doors to be shut behind us. Interestingly enough, we’re so not used to silence as a society that many people even need to have some background noise to concentrate, because pure silence just sounds weird.
Putting the interior design trend status aside for a moment, the effects of silence on our minds and bodies are pretty impressive:
- Increased production of brain cells
- Improved memory
- Stress reduction
- Better sleep
* Sources at the bottom of the post
Also, it is common sense to associate silence to peaceful and relaxing situations: a spa treatment, meditation, just to name a couple.
SILENCE AT HOME
If there is one place where we can control noises and achieve a moment of silence is home. This also comes back to what biophilic design would call a sense of refuge.
Home becomes an alcove, a place to regenerate after busy to-do-lists, meetings, errands, news. Ultimately a place to unplug our minds from the many noises of our days.
In this sense there are few areas at home that can become an oasis of wellbeing and provide us with relaxation and silence.
A SPA BATHROOM
When the rest of the home is full of people and noises, the time spent in the bathroom becomes even more precious. Besides being a self-care moment for our body, it becomes a regenerating time for our mind as well.
Check out the 6 steps to create a bathroom for wellbeing.
A RELAXING CORNER
Creating a relaxing corner somewhere at home is an effective way to enjoy some silence. And it doesn’t have to be big (think for instance at an armchair and ottoman situation). In fact, the very idea of dedicating a space to silence and relaxation will already create a sense of calm in our mind.
SILENCE AS CONCENTRATION
But silence can also be useful when we need to concentrate, say when working.
If you’re interested in knowing more about that, you can take a look at my e-book on home office design, where I go through all the aspects of a successful home office: from where it’s best to place it, to organization strategies, to tips on privacy and comfort.
SILENCE AS AN INTERIOR DESIGN TREND
And now to the big question: how did silence become a legit trend?
An interior design trend comes out of a study of the current society and the challenges it is facing. Over-information is with no doubt a challenge in our times, which reflects in the growing popularity of concepts like disconnect to reconnect and digital-detox.
Silence has also been the title and the theme of Maison et Objet's spring edition 2017. The Silence exhibition showed mute videos, paintings and sculptural design pieces, while guiding visitors to a moment of contemplation and – indeed – silence.
The curators of the exhibition also linked the rise of minimalism as a trend with the idea of silence. Simplifying and decluttering (other buzzwords these days) are indeed a way to eliminate the noise, the unnecessary, and allow us to concentrate on what is essential, both in our spaces and in our mind.
Silence is so scarse, precious and desired these days that it is even referred to as a luxury! And the amount of products that are coming on the market to help "create silence" are there to witness how silence is indeed becoming an interior design trend.
Have you noticed that acoustic panels have now become decorative?
A colourful acoustic panel decorates and adds texture to a wall:
Acoustic panels used in place of a large artwork:
Acoustic panels with integrated backlight:
Armchairs with a very high back (or enveloping chairs as I like to call them) are also becoming more and more popular as a solution to bring silence in open spaces.
See more examples of this type of chairs in the post where we talked about the refuge pattern in biophilic design.
Pendant lights are also often enriched with soudproofing qualities. A further evidence of how much silence is a requested feature!
Customizable pendant lamps with sound-absorbing top:
Recycled felt pendant lamp:
To sum up, it's fair to say that silence is indeed an interior design trend. Which actually fits perfectly in the overall trend of home as an alcove, a sanctuary of peace and wellbeing...a trend I actually like a lot!
- Imke Kirste, Zeina Nicola, Golo Kronenberg, Tara L. Walker, Robert C. Liu, and Gerd Kempermann. “Is silence golden? Effects of auditory stimuli and their absence on adult hippocampal neurogenesis.” Brain Structure and Function 220, no. 2 (2015): 1221-1228.
- Bernardi Luciano, Porta Cesare, Sleight Peter. “Cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and respiratory changes induced by different types of music in musicians and non-musicians: the importance of silence.” Heart 92, no. 4 (2006): 445-452.
- Address Your Sleep Issues. Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
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