Aesthetic Spatial Parameters in the Designed and Built Environment

Allingham, P. (Lecturer)

Activity: Talks and presentationsTalks and presentations in private or public companies


A key question in Experience Economy has been how experiential concepts can be realized into concrete physical constructions that promote desirable positive experiential effects. In recent theories of experience it is agreed that the aesthetic qualities of physical design are decisive prerequisites if receivers of experiential offers are to be persuaded to accept the offers.

But what is aesthetics? A brief definition says that aesthetics has to do with the formal aspects of communication that can or may induce proximity, intimacy and experiential relevance. Within theory of communication rhetoric and stylistics have traditionally been attributed prescriptive knowledge of persuasive design, e.g. of how to create persuasive effects in speech and in writing. And within modern stylistics considerable knowledge of e.g. schemes and tropes have been compiled. However, rhetorical tropes also seem to be a very important aesthetic elements in the communicative power of three dimensional objects. Very often, our physical environments in which we move, live, work, consume, etc. are designed in order to promote special moods or ambiences that may inspire, create awe, pride, enthusiasm, joy, etc. It can be done and has been done in many historically specific ways.

In contemporary experience economy space has become a communicational parameter with an increasing strategic significance in both public and commercial communication. In connection with branding activities of corporations, spatial aesthetic devices aimed at appealing to the tastes of consumer segments are used widely. And likewise various performative and narrative devices are aimed at involving consumers actively by e.g. challenging their identities. Among prevailing aesthetic agents are found spatial metaphors and metonyms through which users may stage themselves or play out certain roles.

In my communication I intend to analyse spacial constructions in order to demonstrate how presentational aesthetics have been used in order to promote spatial experiences. The analyses refer to Roman Jakobson’s semiotic modes, especially the mode named “artifice”. Further, theories of “blending” and “mental space networks” from the cognitive semiotics of Gilles Fauconnier, Mark Turner, et. al. will also enter.
Period26 Sep 201128 Sep 2011
Event typeConference
LocationLissabon, Portugal