Lisa photo

Nature is evoked by the use of reclaimed wood, earthen-look walls and what seems like a starry sky dripping from the skylight, calming the mind and therefore the body

“Ontological design is the design discipline concerned with designing human experience. It does so by operation under one essential assumption: that by designing objects, spaces, tools and experiences, we are in fact designing the human being itself.” — Daniel Fraga, The Manifesto of Ontological Design, May 27, 2020.

I have always been fascinated by science, philosophy, and metaphysics. Of course, it is natural for me to look at this field of study through the lens of designing interior spaces. Home and office have been mostly separate places for most persons. However, 2020 showed us all a “new reality” as the coronavirus pandemic swept across the planet. Suddenly our homes became multipurpose spaces for work, schooling our children, and our usual home sanctuary where we recharge and refresh each evening and morning preparing us to face a new day of challenges out in the world.

This sudden shift caused many to take a more curious look at how they use and feel in their homes. It is clear in our interior-design industry that this examination of home has generated a lot of business on many levels, whether you are a DIYer or someone who hires an interior-design professional. What this says to me is that as people are spending more time at home they are realizing that HOME is not fulfilling their needs!

In basic terms, the way our spaces are designed is designing us! The basic model for cognitive and emotional well being as broken up into four main categories are: Mind. Body. Relationships. Environment.

The quadrant of Environment accounts for the predominant aspects of our daily experience: the quality of the air, the lighting in our homes, the rest and sleeping quality afforded by our home environment, the aesthetics of our home and finally the capability to engross ourselves in as much nature as possible within our home environment. There are technologies available to enhance our home environment that many persons employ; some of them are quality natural bedding, water- and air-filtration systems, and full-spectrum lighting.

Our home environment is and has been the foundation for a healthy life, but may have been underappreciated until recent events caused us to home in and examine it more closely. Prioritizing the organization and function of home is critical now as we embrace a multifunctional space for living and working and maybe even teaching or supporting the learning. Aesthetic beauty can positively enhance our living and supply us with a foundation for health.

My encouragement to you, the reader, is to consider what enhancements could be made to your designed environment to enhance your overall well being and in turn inspire a new reality for you.

“Just as you grow into the world, the world grows into you. Not only do you occupy a certain place, but that place, in turn, occupies you….”

—Costica Bradatan

Lisa Samuel ASID, IIDA, is a Santa Fe native and principal of Samuel Design Group, located in the heart of downtown Santa Fe. She is an award-winning interior designer known for creating unique interiors imbued with warmth and elegance. Lisa ( is passionate about good design that supports well-being.

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