Different people see the Chinese practice of Feng Shui in different ways. For some, it is pseudoscience, or worse. For others, an essential part of architectural design. However, whichever side of the fence you sit, the principle of designing the living environment to meet the needs of the users and to support their daily activities is a sound one. The underlying beliefs about Feng Shui may differ, but the ultimate practical goal is often the same.
The designers at HBA Bangkok know all about Feng Shui, as would be expected for a company operating in Southeast Asia, where the Chinese influence is strong. “We believe in the reasons and psychology behind it,” said Armon Praphavorakorn, Director of HBA Bangkok, and Nakhan Kaewkao, Creative Director, whose work often incorporates some of the key concepts underpinning Feng Shui, either at the behest of clients, or simply because so many of the ideas make such good sense.
Consider some of the main ideas which can show what good or bad Feng Shui might look like, and then think about the underlying psychological factors which are involved. Here are four great examples for starters.
In some of Hong Kong’s famous skyscrapers you can see big holes in the middle of the buildings. Not all the buildings of course, but certainly in some of the ones that are positioned between the mountains and the water. These holes are dragon gates, said to allow the dragons to enjoy safe passage from the mountains to the sea. According to the Chinese, blocking a dragon is a foolish endeavor, and brings nothing but misfortune. To an architect, blocking the wind can be similarly unwise, causing unwanted stresses upon the building. Much better to let the wind pass safely through than to fight nature by creating an obstacle.
The Chinese believe that certain elements, namely water, wood, fire, metal and earth have particular relationships with each other, and are associated with certain colors, directions, shapes, and seasons. This idea can be extended to govern the positions of these elements with buildings: for example, wood is associated with the East, while water has a positive influence upon wood – hence it makes perfect sense to place a fish tank on the East side of your house. From a more practical perspective however, it is common in Thailand for houses to be built facing North. While it is debatable whether this brings good fortune, it is not in doubt that it makes the house cooler by avoiding direct sunlight.
Within hotels, Feng Shui might dictate that the headboard of the bed is not placed in the direction of the bathroom, since this can lead to sickness. In practice, it will lead to disturbances from the noise of running water leading to a poor night’s sleep.
Feng Shui practitioners warn firmly against having mirrors in the bedroom because mirrors have the ability to suck out energy. Some add that mirrors which reflect the bed can cause nightmares. The explanation for this is that when we sleep at night, the soul leaves the body – and upon catching sight of its own reflection it becomes alarmed. What might be more likely, however, is that upon half-waking in the night in an unfamiliar hotel room, guests might catch sight of themselves, and become equally alarmed. I once stayed in a newly renovated suite in a beautiful hotel; I don’t believe in ghosts or anything like that but I woke in the middle of the night for a bathroom visit and saw my shadows on both sides reflected in the mirror and quite frankly it freaked me out to open my eyes and see scary dark shadows dancing all around.
Big Roads Towards Buildings
When a road goes directly towards a building, it’s considered to be bad Feng Shui, bringing bad energy to the occupants. One example of this would be the Palace of Versailles, where the road heads directly for the palace. From the psychological perspective, a small house with a main road heading directly for it would cause the residents to feel at least a little insecure. HBA Bangkok offer one caveat, however. The problem can sometimes be solved by proportions – so while Versailles might be rather badly aligned, the building is so big in comparison to the road that the problem is insignificant. So if your hotel is unavoidably position so that the main road heads straight for your door, the best thing to do is simply make your building much bigger.
HBA Bangkok has worked with clients who practice Feng Shui devotedly, clients who half believe, and those who never give it a second thought. However, HBA Bangkok believes that whatever the reasoning behind a particular design, the creations themselves should always bring joy and comfort to the owners and residents.
“If you believe that having peacocks in front of your doorway brings you good fortune, you should most certainly be able to do just that, but first consult with your designer so they can incorporate the design. Instead of having peacock sculptures, we can look at having peacock patterns ingrained in the design to add an element of style and practicality,” said Armon Praphavorakorn.
Whether you trust in fortune or take it all with a pinch of salt, it’s hard to argue with thousands of years of Chinese design and wisdom.
Learn more about designs visit https://www.hba.com or Call +662 068 3161