Physical Environment for Design Teaching: The Sustainable Influence of Space Factors in Interior Design on Students' Design Creativity

Dai Zetian, Ren Shumin


Although the influence of the physical environment on creativity has been examined many times, the actual effect of space factors on users' creative performance has been controversial. This study examined the changes in 25 interior design students after design activities and studying under five kinds of spaces using the methods of quasi-experiment and semi-structured Interviews. The study used a mixed method. For the quantitative part, the Consensual Assessment Technique (CAT) is a tool for measuring design creativity in this study. For the qualitative part, semi-structured interviews were used in this study. The study noted that space factors primarily influenced participants' feasibility and originality, partially reflecting social and interpersonal relationships. Some of them, which have more significant effects in the short period, show the opposite results in the long term. The space has an appropriate mix of private and open areas and clear functional partitions, which is far more conducive to the long-term cultivation of creativity than the free-stretching super-order space. In the short term (one week), a more open and flexible layout is conducive to creative development, while in the long term (four weeks), the layout with clear activity boundaries and functional partitions is more conducive to design creativity development. Moreover, we found that some space factors became apparent only when interacting with time. This effect is sustainable and subtle, overlooked in many previous studies.


Keywords: creativity, space factors, interior design, physical environment.

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