PLATFORM 4 | PERMAspace | 2019/20
This platform asks that participants speculate in a future context where wellbeing is held in policy, re-purposing and circular economic strategy are usual practice, the visceral, virtual and AI have found their calibration, cognitive consultants are part of the design team and pre-evidence is open source.
Wellbeing as a subject is as widely defined and challenged as that of interior design. To create an anchor, a checklist, a methodology, a sensibility, the platform is using PERMA to frame the work. (Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, Achievement) Developed by Martin Seligman who founded the School of Positive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and practiced as a therapy, this platform is interpreting the principals as a spatial practice. PERMA, often critiqued as shallow and excluding of anything other than the "positive" with it's snappy acronym belies the nuanced and radical inquiry of all potential intersections and network between the elements that is neccessary to create a meaningful activation.
The PERMA Space is an interior environment tuned to offer the conditions for wellbeing. Futures platformers are curious about finding resonant intersections and how by expanding their knowledge into unfamiliar subjects they can inform and inspire their design skills to manifest purpose-performing interiors and to stimulate a discussion about what the future of the design of the interior could be. What happens when we view design as a medium in systems thinking? How different will our design choices be? The materials, the spaces between, the programming within, if considered consciously with the intention to encourage us to flourish? Will interiors passively or actively heal us? What workflow processes can be used to allow “on purpose” outcomes? Working as a group and independently the platformers, through mostly cogntive science optics, are researching how environment influences us.
The site is Clerkenwell, where the feedback loop between past and present wellbeing interventions create a rich context for future re-purposing and intervention: 12th Century Knight’s Templar crusade to Jerusalem with 13 medicinal plants still grown in St John Square, Chamberlin, Powell and Bon estates, Clerkenwell Road creation after the Public Health Act 1875, Fleet River tunnelling, 800 year old markets, St Barts Hospital, Crossrail, Henry 8th meat eating clubs, etc.etc.
Each platformer has developed their Perma-space brief as an intersection between attitude, intuition, science, data and context. For some, tomorrow is the future and for some the dial is set 20 years ahead. All have created complex briefs that challenge their design skills to translate purposeful briefs into spatial, material and temporal experiences.