Is Feng Shui a Common Practice for Commercial Interior Designers? + Exclusive Tips from Our Designers

We have had clients who considered the principles of Feng Shui as important to their project in one way or another. But is it a common practice for Interior Designers, especially when working with commercial outlets or business settings? In this article, we will dip our toes into this philosophy and hear some thoughts from our experienced designers. 

 

What is Feng Shui?

“Get that good energy going”

 

​​Feng shui is an ancient Chinese philosophy that seeks to find balance and harmony between elements. The term consists of ‘feng’ meaning wind and ‘shui’ meaning water. Often referred to as the art of placement, Feng Shui involves the process of placing elements to maximize the flow of energy. 

Incorporating Feng Shui goes beyond the Western notions of comfort or aesthetics. Through positive energy flow, the emphasis is placed on physical and mental well-being, success, and successful relationships. 

The use of Feng Shui in preliminary design concepts can also result in better use of space and more welcoming, positive layouts.

 

Jean de Lessard brought Feng Shui into Montreal Pharmacy | Image © Adrien Williams

 

The 5 Elements

Feng shui principles focus on the five elements: earth, metal, water, wood, and fire. 

Wood

Symbolizes growth and vitality

Associated colours: deep brown, green, light blue

 

Fire

Symbolizes passion and energy

Associated colours: red, bright / deep yellow, pink, purple, orange

 

Earth

Symbolizes stability and balance. 

Associated colours: light yellow, sandy/light brown, beige

 

Metal

Symbolizes precision and intelligence

Associated colours: White and metallic

 

Water

Symbolizes wisdom and abundance

Associated colours: dark blue, black

 

Is Feng Shui A Common Practice For Commercial Interior Designers?

After a quick Q&A session with our team of designers, the answer to this question is… NO! Even though a majority of them do believe that Feng Shui works, all were leaning towards ‘No’ when asked if it is commonly incorporated. Some added that it is mainly based on the client’s request and relatively more common for residential projects than commercial ones. 

Katie Li – our interior designer, has shared her experiences and insights on one of our previous projects that was heavily influenced by Feng Shui – Fresh and Hot Malatang.

3D Render | Fresh & Hot Ma La Tang Central Park | Interior Design by Vie Studio

We are proud to be the design team behind all branches of Fresh and Hot Malatang across Sydney. According to Katie, the design elements and details were based on the idea of engaging more positive energy by incorporating ‘fire’ elements with warm tones of red, orange and yellow palettes that go hand in hand with the restaurant’s name itself. This was because our client, the restaurant’s owner, strongly believes in Feng Shui and its benefits in generating luck.

3D Render | Fresh & Hot Ma La Tang East Village | Interior Design by Vie Studio

Katie expressed that it was such a great opportunity to participate in a project that incorporated Feng Shui, something rarely being addressed in commercial projects. 

Yet, it was not easy for our team; She pointed out that since one of the branches is within a shopping centre, the RDM (Retail Design Manager) requested the use of cooler tones to balance out the overall warmer ambience, which was against the client’s Feng Shui. After some back and forths, our team suggested a contrasting brick tone and cooler floor material to  the Central Park store, resulting in a not so overpowering presence while maintaining the required Feng Shui elements and colours.

Fresh & Hot Ma La Tang Central Park | Interior Design by Vie Studio

Katie also walked us through the designing process. She mentioned that the design plan was passed through to a Feng Shui master, which he later pointed out areas that should be brightened in order to engage better energy.

She mentioned a curated list of furniture, lighting options and materials such as tiles and timber that played significant roles in the whole design. 

Lucky Cat Graffiti Art and Wall Graphics | Fresh & Hot Ma La Tang Rhodes Central | Interior and Graphic Design by Vie Studio

The wall art of the ‘lucky cat’ was added based on the client’s request, as it’s one of his lucky elements. The team decided to step on an innovative route with the graphics by incorporating hip-hop elements that gave the brand an elevated and approachable image for the local demographics.

 

Exclusive Feng Shui Tips From Our Designers

It goes without saying that we are no Feng Shui masters here. Still, based on our designers’ past experiences, the team suggested a few points and areas worth paying extra attention to if you want to up your Feng Shui game and enhance the overall energy of your space. 

Elements/ Areas:

  • Entrance
  • Lighting 
  • The use of dominant colour

What to avoid:

  • Open ceiling with exposed overhead beams
  • Consulting with a Feng Shui master after securing/signing a property or listing is another no-no. 

 


Get in touch

design@viestudio.com.au | (02) 9550 5268

Design Strategies to Increase Walk-ins For F&B Outlets

While some people like to search for online reviews first before deciding which restaurant they will choose, the majority of the rest simply ‘trust in their guts’ and enter the one that appeals to the senses and whet the appetite. 

Design has a critical impact on decision-making; It is one of the first factors why someone decides to enter an F&B (Food and Beverage) outlet within seconds. That is why we highly recommend discovering these design strategies to increase walk-ins for your business. 

Attractive Facade

“The face of your business.”

A captivating shop front design for restaurants and cafes does more than looking good, it excites people’s curiosity and gives a visual clue that hints at what to expect by conveying your brand message. 

Yakiniku Yokocho Japanese Restaurant Shop Front
Yakiniku Yokocho, Sydney | Interior Design and Branding by Vie Studio

Unique businesses take their facades up a notch. Imagine having a hard time deciding what’s for dinner until you see this vibrant yet mysterious restaurant that screams vintage. The overall design subtly tells you that the restaurant serves authentic Japanese cuisine, at the same time, intrigued to enter in order to explore more.  

Eye-grabbing Signage and Props also play significant roles in completing the whole design of your business exterior. It’s like the ‘accessories’ to complete your everyday look. 

Signage should be distinct and easy to read in order to grab people’s attention, especially at night. Props are more than just decoration, they are a way to reflect the desired persona of your business — whether it’s fast, casual, fancy, or a hybrid. Plants or custom made sculptures are some of the popular choices. 

Scultures at Roji Monster Sydney
Custom Sculptures at Roji Monster, Sydney | Interior Design by Vie Studio

Our Tips:

  • Walk-in customers love to “window shop” F&B outlets, it is a good idea to avoid any exterior clutter so potential customers can have a peek at the overall ambience and what is being served (unless you are aiming to create a private and exclusive setting). 
Sushi Hotaru shop front
Sushi Hotaru, Sydney | Interior Design by Vie Studio
  • Another way to increase traffic is to put a few seats outside such as sidewalk café tables, these seating will act as a “living billboard.”
  • Your signage should be clear to read and use contrasting colours to prevent the text from blending with the background.
  • Avoid overcrowded display of your props. 

 

Welcoming Lighting

“Extra lights, Extra Shine”

Lighting is one of the most important facets of interior design and as the options are endless, you might want to navigate it down by identifying the overall mood you want to accentuate. For instance, you might opt for low lighting to create a more laid-back mood or bright lights to encourage a lively atmosphere. 

Lighting at Japanese BBQ restaurant
Lighting Design at Yakiniku Ryoma BBQ, Sydney | Interior Design by Vie Studio

Lighting also depends on the theme of your brand and should never be overlooked. Speaking of lights, neon signs add extra ambience and is a great way to showcase your business’s personality and creative flair. 

neon lights, Thai restaurant shop front
Neon lights at Thai Riffic, St Clair | Interior Design by Vie Studio

Our Tips:

  • Take into consideration how your lighting will look in both daytime and nighttime, as dimmed lights might be a problem when it is dark while lights that are too bright are a bad idea when the sun is up. However, this also depends on the location of your outlets and whether natural lighting is an option. 

 

Is it Photo-Worthy?

“Camera eats first”

With the burgeoning popularity of social media, many businesses put lots of thought into design elements that could tap into the love for photography and moment sharing of their potential customers. We got impressed at how the little details like a romantic quote on the wall or a hanging light could be the reason why people step in that door. 

Photo wall at Machi Machi tea shop
Machi Machi, Sydney | Interior Design by Vie Studio

Our tips: 

  • Do some research on what clicks for your target customers. 
  • Avoid overcrowding your space with photo-worthy spots. 

 

Learn more about our previous projects or discuss in-depth design strategies that will help boost your walk-ins today with one of our professional designers.

Get in touch

design@viestudio.com.au | (02) 9550 5268