Custom Furniture for an Executive Office – Case Study (Part 4) – Applying Feng Shui to the Design

In my previous post I discussed the process of finalizing the custom furniture designs for JLT’s office.

Because of my personal interest in some of the world’s older civilizations and traditions, one of the disciplines I occasionally like to integrate into my design process is an ancient practice known as Feng shui.

What is Feng shui? In simple terms Feng shui is an ancient art and science that first developed in China over 3,000 years ago. It is a complex body of knowledge that provides guidelines on how to balance energies in any given space to assure the health and good fortune for the people inhabiting it.

Feng means wind and shui means water, and in Chinese culture wind and water are associated with good health. Thus, good feng shui has come to mean good fortune, while bad feng shui means bad luck, or misfortune.

Feng shui is based on the Taoist vision and understanding of nature, particularly on the idea that the land is alive and filled with Chi, or energy. The ancient Chinese believed that the land’s energy could either make or break the kingdom. With that in mind the theories of yin and yang, as well as the five feng shui elements, are some of the basic aspects of a Feng shui analysis that come from Taoism.

Although the actual process of determining whether a given space has good Feng shui is rather complex, there is a list of parameters that are considered essential to optimizing the positive flow of Chi in a modern executive office.

First, on the design of the desk itself a kidney shaped desk is considered to be ideal, since the rounded corners are most conducive to the free flow of Chi.

The desk should be positioned in the corner farthest from the entrance to the room, thereby giving the person sitting at it a “command” position of the space;

When sitting at the desk you should not be in direct line with the door, as you will be in the path of negative energy;

DO keep your back toward a corner or a wall for support. If a post protrudes from the corner or wall, either reshape it to hide the protrusion or correct it by covering it with a hanging plant’s draping foliage;

DO sit with a tall building behind you to provide the support of a “mountain” if your back is to a window;

DON’T face away from the door if you are conducting business from home. Business will symbolically come to you through the door, so don’t turn your back on it;

DON’T arrange your workspace so that you look straight out into a corridor or see the stairs, storage rooms, closets, elevators, escalators, or toilets;

DO put your computer in the North or West area of your office to enhance your creativity. Place the computer in the Southeast if you use it to generate income;

DO place an aquarium or tabletop fountain in the East, North, or Southeast. A small aquarium with black or blue fish in the North area of your desk or office will activate your business and career success. Guppies or a single arrowana are ideal for an aquarium made of glass and metal;

DO place a safe, which is usually constructed of metal, in either West or Northwest, which both represent the metal element. The safe symbolizes the prosperity and financial security of a business;

DO have a good balance of yin (female) and yang (male) energies when decorating your workspace. Balance light and dark colors, soft and hard surfaces, and smooth and rough textures in your choice of window treatments, furniture, and flooring;

DON’T have any mirrors in your office, as they can reflect negative energy from clients to other people in the room. You should always maintain control over the energy in your office;

DO treat the files in your office with respect. They represent your past, present, and future business;

DO keep the cords to your office equipment well hidden. This elimates clutter and allows for the free flow of chi;

It was early in the discussion phase of the furniture design process that I suggested to JLT that he consider his space from a Feng shui perspective. Although he acknowledged and seemed politely receptive to the idea, I didn’t sense enough of an interest to pursue it further – so I let it be.

Nevertheless, as the design of the space came together I remained curious as to how “balanced” it was shaping up to be from a Feng shui perspective. What I discovered was pleasantly surprising.

On the basis of the 14 simple “DOs” and “DON’Ts” listed above, the initial design of JLT’s office is consistent with 13 of them. The only element missing for a perfect score is having an aquarium or fountain in the space.

With that in mind I began to wonder if a Scotch Bar could be interpreted as a fountain, or water feature – especially if it had a seltzer bottle contained within.

It was just a thought….

Next: Custom Furniture for an Executive Office – Case Study (Part 5) – Let the Furniture Making Begin!

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