As the focus of my MA is on the effect of colour in the environment on the mental, emotional and physical state, i have found myself also looking quite deeply at pattern on walls, and the effect it has on me. In my final year of my BA i had a go at designing wallpaper and i remember thinking how much harder it was than designing patterns for fabric. A successful wallpaper design is one that can be pasted on all four walls and looked at and enjoyed day after day, week after week, even possibly year after year….where as we don’t usually spend anywhere near that amount of time ¬†gazing at the material our clothes are made out of – we may gaze at our soft furnishings more – but we certainly dont usually paste the fabric all over the walls and then try and live with it! ūüôā

What i realised very early on is that when looking at wallpaper the eye instantly tries to find a visual path through the pattern, as our eyes need to find a place to rest during the process of collecting information. Possibly it is because of my Irlens syndrome, but i find a vast amount of wallpapers make me feel uneasy – they are too overstimulating, and some of the designs i feel would be best used on stationary or on fabric as there is just too much information within the design. Others will cause me to gaze deeper and deeper as i try to work out the pattern, and my eyes set off on a journey throughout the design.

But as well as looking at wallpapers i have been looking at any sort of pattern and design that is wall based and is big enough to have an impact on us. I went to the Westfield Centre in Derbyshire a few weeks ago to see my son, and the first thing i noticed (possiby even before the design) was the wonderful feeling within the building, relaxing, friendly, open and inviting – not at all what i usually experience in these places….

I took a fee pictures of the designs on the walls and also on the mood changing lighting that was around the restaurant and fast food area – i found it quite mesmoric..

Lighting and wall patterns at the Westfield Centre Derby

Lighting and wall patterns at the Westfield Centre Derby

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I came across some other really interesting walls today and this time the pattern was on the outside of the walls instead of the inside, and even more fascinating was the fact that they were on the walls of a school building in a little, out of the way town in  North Wales.

Contemporary patterns on a school building wall in a little town in North Wales

Contemporary patterns on a school building wall in a little town in North Wales

The designs were subtle yet very effective, their contemporary style blended well with the more traditional buildings around it, and as the light hit the building you could really appreciate the vastness of the pattern.

The scale of the pattern on the walls was breathtaking

The scale of the pattern on the walls was breathtaking

Again i noticed that the patterns design was very much based on flowing, making me think of water, and it was extremely calming and relaxing to look at. The pattern seemed to journey from left to right, following the path our eyes take to read it – but then on the side walls changed to horizontal. I am starting to wonder if we find a pattern more relaxing if we can read it in the same way as we would read a book – from left to right, and if the pattern is uncomplicated, with the lines only running in the one direction at a time?

But what a lovely surprise on a dark and gloomy winter night, to come across such a beautifully adorned building!

 

 

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