Minimalist or maximalist?

Elegant simplicity is the code to the zen decor philosophy; minimalism. The notion of minimalism is originated from the traditional Japanese zen interiors united with minimalism to design a harmonious and peaceful atmosphere for living, where it can initiate with the peace of mind we all hope to acquire.  Adapting geometry and monochromatic colour schemes such as solid black and white imply the relinquishment of materialism we appear to hold onto. The design is to spiritualise the humankind to further their admiration of the essential things of living as more people are admiring the interconnection between human and nature. The sole purpose of a minimalistic design is to clear the mind and soul of all negative emotions for a more peaceful and harmonious atmosphere (, 2017).

The merge of layered patterns, bold colours, oversized and sculptural shapes, objects and artwork are the foundation of maximalist interiors. A maximalist designer’s only limit is his/her imagination. A famous designer known for her inimitable style and her “bigger is better” motto, Kelly Wearstler’s an international inspiration to all those with an eye for artful clutter (Mather, L, 2017).  “There is a joy in designing a space without limitations and restrictions, where excess is encouraged and unlikely pairings create beautiful and unexpected harmonies.” —Kelly Wearstler. The celebration of different objects coming together give life to any interior space that has no limits as to minimalism or traditional designs. A maximalist room allows space for self expression and that’s what a good design is all about (The Style Guide, 2017).


KELLY WEARSTLER- Signature interior design

There is no right or wrong when it comes to choosing a minimalism or maximalism design. It’s all a matter of personal taste and preference. Therefore, if a person believes that their home or workplace should reflect peace and harmony, then a minimalistic design is the way to go. But if you believe in confidence and self expression, a maximalist place suits you best!


Mather L, ‘Top Designers Debate Minimalism Vs. Maximalism | Architectural Digest’ (Architectural Digest, 2017) <; accessed 15 January 2017

‘Designer Kelly Wearstler’ S Signature Interiors’ (The Style Guide, 2017) <; accessed 15 January 2017

‘Minimalist Interiors – Zen Decor: Philosophy Or Magic’ (, 2017) <; accessed 15 January 2017

Favourite Blog-

When it comes to reading a blog post about architecture or interior design, I normally refer to Dezeen Magazine online. Their wide range of topics always assist me in finding just what I need when researching a specific topic, when i intended to gain more knowledge on Architects around the world or simply when I have a little free time and wilful to read a few posts about the latest trends in the world of architecture and interior design.

A reason I enjoy surfing Dezeen online is that each post is written by a different writer therefore each post has its own tone, mood and character. Each writer has his own style of writing and translating what they see in the design reveals their expertise on the subject they talk about, and accordingly, using their methods in writing and using similar topics as an inspiration to my blog posts should aid in showing my interest in architecture and interior design.

The online magazine not only talks about design, interiors and architecture, but informs their readers on technology, movies and also allows the readers to state their opinions in a section specifically made for that. The wide range of topics are always of help to me when I’m researching inspiration for my Spatial Design projects. Although some topics may not relate directly to my project, sometimes, things as simple as the materials used in a design could assist me in taking my initial concept even further.

Overall, I believe that Dezeen online magazine is always a great source to rely on when looking for inspiration or looking for a specific topic, as it is constantly being updated with whats new in the world of architecture and design, it always is helpful to me as it feeds into my love for architecture and design!

Definition & Example of Palimpsest

Palimpsest can be simply described as a document or piece of writing material thats original writing has been effaced to make space for new writing, still bearing visible traces from its earlier form. In architecture, palimpsest can be used as a metaphor to describe a space that has had a layer superimposed onto it, resulting in a unprecedented structure (, 2016). The Natural History Museum can be described as an example of palimpsest. The construction of The Natural History Museum began back in 1873 and as mentioned earlier, modified in 2002 then 2009.


In an effort to preserve a historical structure, and enable the continuum advancing of architectonics, the architects of Darwin’s Centre preserved the natural state of the 1881 Victorian building, creating a story between the past and the present for the world and to allow the ability of remembrance and understanding to what has been the cause of the immense change in history, and for what the building stood for at the time and what it stands for today; a monument to Sir Richard Owen’s vision, an ingenious natural scientist who left his role as curator of the Hunterian Museum that not only took charge of the natural history specimens collection displayed at the museum, but convinced the British Museum’s board of trustees that a separate building was needed to house these national treasures. As the mid-nineteenth century was known for the wealthy few that could afford visiting a museums, Sir Richard Owen changed how a museum was forever seen, and chose that the Natural History Museum should be free and accessible to the general public (, 2016). The Natural History Museum is the reflection of an evolution itself, evoking the pasts experiences associated with it, also stands as a striking work of art for its interior and exterior design and undoubtably vast natural history specimen collections, would forever be housed in the memories of the humankind’s fragile bodies, in the books of time and space and the belief and hope for a fantasised change thats to happen to the world.

Lines from my essay-

Perceived as cultural symbols and as a work of art, physical structures are the product of planning, designing and constructing. Architecture, extends far beyond a physical structure, into its functional, technical, conceptual, perceptual and aesthetic deliberations (Ching, 2007).

Architecture has gone through a drastic evolution since the first structures assembled by humankind in the prehistoric times. Those structures included thatch and mud as well as stones, reeds and rocks to build homes (Craven, 2015).

The mere sole of a building is not only to provide temporary protection or shelter for the humankind; but resides in our memories, dreams and restive minds. In addition to that, a man made structure, represents the pasts cultural social order and enables the preservation of human establishments (Pallasmaa, 2009).

Structures, landscapes and objects all have a relationship between them, mainly the transformative process of time and history. Surveying the environment around us, it is easy to spot evidence from the past, whether it was part of what nature provides us with, or the structures that lived on for decades.

During the period 527 to 565 AD, the domed roof was invented. In addition to the dome creation, Byzantines used bricks instead of stones, carefully arranged mosaics and classical styles (Craven, 2015). This period further introduced dark tones to buildings with low sun impact to provide a more peculiar mood (Rymer, 2000).

800 to 1200 AD was known as the Romanesque period. During that time, the style of Rome made its way through Europe, presenting sturdy buildings with rounded arches, thicker walls and heavy piers for castles and churches (Craven, 2015).

The architects also incorporated detailed elements to their structures which gave them notable uniqueness, using arches, domes, entablatures, columns, pilasters and pediments.

The baroque period, which is a highly misunderstood period given that it’s nickname is lost in obscurity, dates back to the time when architects began to put an end to the pedantic rules (Briggs,1913).

Art Nouveau architecture was known as the New Style which extended though the years 1890 to 1914. The style included fabrics and graphic design that had a great effect on the style of architecture and furniture.

Formal designs and symmetry identified the Beaux Arts architecture, or known as the Classical Revival period that dates back to 1895 to 1925.


Letter to my family

Dear family,

With my deadlines being less than 6 days away, my stress level is increasing by the minute, although I’m almost done with my projects and essay for CTS. Today’s CTS class was more interactive than usual, we had a new lecturer named Andrew, who gave us an easy task to take over. We had to go through his blog and answer a few questions about what he writes, where he situates his writing, how he writes, and what his voice and position is. When we completed the first test we were assigned another blog, and had to answer the same questions. Towards the end of class, we had to compare and contrast one of Andrews blog posts and one of Mikes, the other blogger.

Although it sounds a little challenging, it was really easy to analysis and spot the differences and between both styles of writing. Andrew liked to give more information and feedback, while Mike went straight to the point. The differences between both blogs were expected, as no one has the same style or tone in writing. That was an important lesson to me, as I’m always reading blog posts by bloggers and trying to benefit from their different techniques and ways of communicating their ideas ignorer to use their ways in my blog later on.

What made this CTS lesson different than the other days was the Tutor, Andrew, who came in for the day to give us a lesson about blogging. He was full of energy and charisma which made the lesson pass by so fast. There was no powerpoint for this class or note taking, and that helped me put aside the stress of the essay for a while and gave me a fresh, energy boost. The lesson came to a quick end, for all the talk and writing we had to do.. it was a good start to my day.

RIBA-The Life Of Clay

RIBA- The life of Clay

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) on 66 Portland Pl, Marylebone champions better buildings, communities and the environment through architecture. Founded in 1834, RIBA’s soul objective is to provide standards, training, support and recognition to help with the advancement of architects primarily in the United Kingdom and overseas – reach the peak of their profession.


The life of Clay, came as a disappointment as my first interpretation of the building was that its fairly vast and the Life of Clay exhibition was smaller than I expected. The exhibition curated by Guan Lee and Eleanor Morgan, brings together the clay works of Grymsdyke Farm, from finely glazed ceramics to intricate 3D printed screens. Although the size of the exhibition wasn’t up to my expectations, there were pieces i found to be exceptionally interesting such as the screen component from southern China, slip cast and glazed from the late 19th century, the hand moulded tiles, kiln and rake fired, Grymsdyke clay, 2015, and the pinwheel tiles, CNC milled positives and glazed white earthenware and porcelain tiles, 2014.


Upon entering, the stillness of the space provides the first experience and gives an overall feel of what the exhibition will be like, the objects were organised on light wooden tables along the walls with a few large pieces that were among the exhibition stood out, balancing with the different sizes of coloured objects displayed rather exceptionally on wooden tables which contributed to the perceptual experience of beauty as the exhibition held divergent finishings and objects from around the world.


The experience of The life of Clay could be described as enthralling, for all the objects were contrasting one another. Though, not everyone would enjoy such visiting such exhibitions, as the objects displayed would seem fairly small and monotonous. Visiting The life of Clay as a Spatial Design student, the exhibition was exceedingly useful to me, as I’m required to support my work with models, the objects and different materials used in the exhibition gave me different ideas for how I can build and present my models. The exhibition may’ve seemed small, but the exceptional pieces made the visit worthwhile.

Natural History Museum

The experience of visiting the Natural History Museum for the first time was enthralling for all what the museum had to offer. Upon entering, a remarkable giant cast of a plant eating Diplodocus, a huge herbivorous dinosaur captured my attention. The Romanesque architecture and ceiling manipulates the feeling of the space and gives a dramatic effect to the vast range of specimens from various segments of natural history, some of which include, the Botany collection, Entomology collection, Zoology collection, Palaeontology collection, and the Mineralogy collection. The museum was mostly visited by families and school kids when i went in to explore on a Friday morning. What stood out the most for me was the Palaeontology collection as the variety of specimens was vast and for the attractions that drew kids to immediately. My favourite attraction out of the entire museum was the Tyrannosaurus Rex (T-Rex) show. It was a main attraction not only for the kids but for adults too. The sound effects and lighting controlled the atmosphere and made the T-Rex come to life.


The museum has more to offer than just specimens to those not entirely interested. A Cafe Bar is open daily and offers refreshments, snacks and tasty meals for visitors to enjoy and a great souvenir and gift shop that offer many gifts for reasonable prices. It is also great to visit the Natural History Museum at this time of the year especially for the Ice Rink and the carousel ride that both adults and kids can enjoy till late night.

Carousel Ride outside the Museum

I was highly captivated by all the dinosaur specimens and used it as a source of inspiration in one of my projects. All the pieces were carefully placed together to preserve the structure of the dinosaur which is really fascinating. I think it is definitely worth giving the Natural History museum a visit as it has much to offer to all age groups.

What is referencing?

Spatial Design- CTS

What is referencing?

Nada Al Alawi

27 October, 2016

Word count: 561

Harvard Referencing system is a form of referencing, primarily used by students doing higher education studies to cite and identify the words of another author or publisher (Dhann, 2001).

“ The system traces back to when eminent zoologist, Edward Laurens Mark (1874-1946) published a landmark cytological paper on embryogenesis of the common garden slug, Limax campestris. On page 194 of that work appears a parenthetic author- year- citation accompanied by an explanatory footnote” ( Chernin, 1988 ). There are two types of citations, the in-text citations and the reference list. There are a few different variations a student can use to reference information, but it is compulsory to include the name of the author(s), year published, title, city published, published and pages used(Harvard Referencing: Guide, no date), in order to avoid plagiarism. This essay will address the different ways a student can reference his/her work, the importance of citing a persons work, and how to avoid plagiarism.

Citing the work of a writer may vary according to the resource of information. For example, citing information obtained from a book that shows the publishing year and writer’s name in an in-text citation would have the author(s) surname(s), year of publication and page number, e.g. (Dhann, 2009, p. 95). Often times, when citing information from web pages, the publishing day may not be shown, in that case, writing the authors name followed by, no date or n.d in brackets is the correct method in citing that information. In other cases the author’s name may not be given, so the title should replace the name of the author (What is referencing?, no date). The in-text citations are linked to the reference list, which is a list located at the end of the work stating the sources that have been cited in the text.  (What is referencing?, no date).
It is vital to reference work within academia, and to show the reader where the information was obtained from and where the idea’s of another writer was used in the essay. Failing to do so, or to reference properly in an academic community would be indicated as cheating and plagiarism, since the information written was not by the student and there were no credits given to the original writer(Dhann, 2001). The consequences of plagiarising in most higher education studies would result in suspension, receiving a zero. In extreme cases or repeated cases, a student’s enrolment at the university might be reviewed(Dhann, 2001). Often, plagiarism may be unintentional, as some may think that paraphrasing the written text into their own words isn’t considered plagiarism. For that reason, some students may find that they received a zero for plagiarised text. In simpler words, any idea taken or is inspired by the work of another person should be referenced in order to avoid the consequences of plagiarism (Harvard Referencing: Guide, no date).

In conclusion, it is vital that each student correctly references all direct quotations and paraphrasing using the Harvard referencing system rules when submitting a piece of work to a course teacher and to follow the basic requirements of adding the authors name, the year of publication, title, page number and other relevant information listed above, in the in-text citation and reference list at the end of the work in order to avoid plagiarism and to allow the reader to gain knowledge about where the information was found.

Reference list

Harvard Referencing: Guide (no date) Available at: (Accessed: 26 October 2016).

Dhann, S. (2001) Referencing – the Harvard system. Available at: (Accessed: 24 October 2016).

What is referencing? (no date) Available at: (Accessed: 26 October 2016).

Chernin, E. (1988) The ‘Harvard System’: A mystery dispelled. Available at: (Accessed: 26 October 2016).

What is authorship?

Authorship can be described as the ‘state’ or ‘fact’ of being an author/producer/creator of work. In our interactive contextual and theoretical studies, we learnt about voices and authorship. In a world with quick access to different mediums of social media, there are lots of ways to obtain information regarding a specific topic, for example, through blogs, online newspapers or magazines and even tweets. But the accuracy of the information obtained from such mediums are not always true. Some might be bias against that topic or some might just state false facts as a result of poor research.

The interactive activity started by splitting us into groups of four, and were asked to arrange the different forms of social media by their accuracy of information. Most groups chose newspapers as the most accurate, and tweets as the least. Then, each group was given an article about Pussy Riot, either as a newspaper article, magazine article, book, or blog post. The articles talked about a  Russian band, named Pussy Riot that were jailed because of a stunt they pulled against Putin in 2012. We were all asked to read the articles we got and answer some questions about the author’s background, what the article was about, whether the information was relevant, whether the topic affects the author, ect. The reason why we did this activity is to understand that each author has a different approach when it comes to informing people about a certain topic. Some may be bias and others may not have sufficient information and some may actually have the right information and are not bias.

After we were done reading and gathering information regarding the band, we were all curious to see if the information we had gathered were going to be similar. While we all talked about the same band, each group had slightly different information, and that was not surprising. This was a valuable lesson in my opinion, as we were taught that we shouldn’t rely on one source of information and should look into the background of the author and the sources he/she got the information from.