How is Interior Design Different From Architecture?

This article will discuss how is interior design different from architecture as it relates to interior design theory, functionality, and materials used.

While we will be looking at differences in the use of space, lighting, materials, and aesthetic, the most significant difference between interior design and architecture is the ways in which architecture and interior design are applied.

Architecture focuses on the use of space to evoke certain emotions and reactions to architecture or interior design. Architecture can create emotional and powerful connections.

Architecture vs. Design in an example

Fallingwater House

fallingwater, pennsylvania, architecture

For example, the Fallingwater House in the United States and Les Eyzies in France are considered two of the most awe-inspiring masterpieces of modern architecture.

Their use of space for inspiration, design, and functionality is both remarkable and wonderful. Both buildings evoke the emotions that any human being can feel. They are designed to achieve the highest of design aesthetics and create the feeling of serenity or that you are truly in nature, among nature.

For example, when you enter Fallingwater, the first thing that hits you is the amazing sense of scale and proportion; it is designed so that the scenery extends beyond the windows in such a way that one feels transported into nature.

Les Eyzies

Les Eyzies

Les Eyzies, on the other hand, has such a remarkable design sensibility that it creates a sensory experience by creating connections and feelings with a space that is not static but dynamic.

Unlike Fallingwater, Les Eyzies creates dynamic connections between the users and the surrounding landscape by a series of stone ledges that lead you to walk or sit on either side of the house, effectively breaking up the large expanse of the landscape into smaller segments that are connected to each other and to the spaces between the rocks, so that all the users can benefit from the unique experience.

The way architecture and interior design are applied is extremely different.

Practicality in design and architecture

Architecture is designed and intended to be used. It can even be used in a wide range of ways without hindering or interfering with functionality, and in the case of interior design, it can be used with the limitation of intended purposes.

This is an important distinction that distinguishes architecture from interior design.

Aesthetics is the name of the game when it comes to architectural aesthetics. As stated by Shigeru Ban, the designer of the Toyota Tower in Japan and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, architecture is not only about the ability to provide shelter, but is also about providing a sense of belonging and a sense of comfort.

If one is in an environment that one is not accustomed to, such as the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Russia or the Thyatira Monastery in Turkey, this can evoke a sense of awe and amazement.

If you are in an environment that is not familiar or comfortable, the feeling can be akin to frustration or even utter despair and distain. So architecture and interior design are not exactly related, and they are different disciplines that require an understanding of space, architecture, and a unique aesthetic sensibility to bring them together to create a beautiful combination.

Understanding design elements in architecture

For many architects, one of the most important things to understand is that the best way to get better is to take on other people’s projects and see what they do. This is how they improve as architects, and this is what differentiates the best architects from the others. Often times, architects can become too defensive in their approach to designing.

Instead of exploring new materials, different angles, ways to get inspiration and improve their designs, they tend to become lost within the confines of their own ideas. This is why many architects would fail to get the job they wanted because they did not take other people’s projects into account and they believed they knew best.

Rules of architecture vs design

Architecture and interior design can be extremely distinct because of their respective sets of rules. It is difficult to design and build for both disciplines because one must consider the purpose of the space and not worry about aesthetics because it is secondary.

When designing, architects can use empirical and practical materials such as steel, concrete, and wood while architects can create interiors with soft furnishings and decorative items to make the space feel comfortable.

As a result, architectural and interior design are two completely different disciplines that each have its own set of needs and specifications, which is why they can be distinguished from each other.

So while architectural and interior design are two different professions that each have their own set of requirements, different rules and forms, and the ability to build a space that can be adapted to multiple purposes, the important thing is that the designers of both disciplines are able to come together to create an atmosphere that is as comfortable as it can be.

What are designers focused on?

Interior designers are more concerned with the environment and where you are in the room, whereas architects are concerned with how spaces function as part of a whole and with material design.

In other words, architects are more concerned with the development of spatial relationships and the ‘how’ of interior design. Interior designers are more concerned with how we experience space.

Achieving an integrated design

An integrated design (one in which the physical and non-physical) is achieved when a space achieves a balance between the physical and the non-physical. A ‘one-stop’ shopping experience of a space, in which the relationship between the physical and the non-physical is seen to be in harmony.

An example of an integrated design is the living area of a home. It is often seen as a product area of the home, a functional one where the emphasis is on the right amount of seating for a family or how you perceive the space. An example would be a living room and kitchen designed to maximise use of the space in which it is located. This not only leads to a well-designed home, but also to a functional and efficient way of using a home’s space.

Interior design is not about maximising size of a space, instead, it is all about designing it with the intention of maximising usability.

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