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Intersection of Design and Art in the Eyes of Interior
Funda KURAK AÇICI1, Firdevs KULAK2
Design is an artistic fact on its own. To design requires a special creativity. Being creative is all about a person’s different
perception level and an exclusive talent. This fact shapes itself with an artistic perception talent. Design constitutes most of the
professions’ basis. Among them, there are interior decoration creativity that includes interior design, aesthetic beauty,
functionality, spatial organisation, graphic design and industrial design, which reserve many features in itself. Design is important
and special because it includes these qualifications. Interior architecture is different from the other kinds in terms of both art and
functionality. Indoors can provide artistic value and it can also be resolved as only functional. However, they must have artistic
sides in terms of their uniqueness. Indeed, all of the designed things like place, element, shape and fiction can be considered as an
artistic value. Perception format or type of expressing what is perceived can change for each person. There can be lots of reasons
behind this. Among the most basic ones, current conditions, life styles, customs, spontaneous change of mood and expectations
can be taken into account. Differences for each people take shape within a very ordinary time span. In this research, the questions
of whether a notion provides different meanings for each people and within the concept of design, how the same notion can be
performed and for what purposes it is applied. Based on the research models conducted with 1 st grade students in Black Sea
Technical University who took the first step for being interior architectures, expressing the artistic dimensions from a notion is
aimed. With the help of this research, by examining the models, concepts of design and art are evaluated
© 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Peer-review under responsibility of Academic World Education and Research Center.
Keywords: Design, Art, İnterior Design, Design Education, Boundary Concept
In life, there exist some concepts with which things are given the meaning and coded. Things can have different
meanings according to people’s perspective, their lifestyle and cultural background.
Every person makes their style by combining their frame of mind and world-view with the things they are new
to. All these things make a whole to form their own truth.
This situation may be more complex especially for the students that are in a design-focused period. This process
makes them feel strange in their first year for they come with different backgrounds and emotions. They struggle
with the difficulty of getting used to a new place and learning design/art as well.
The best part of this process is that they learn a lot from each other for they have different backgrounds and
cultural richness. In this meaning, concepts related to design and art is the focus of the education for students.
1.1. Design and Art
Design is an artistic fact on itself. To design requires a special creativity.. Being creative is all about a person’s
different perception level and an exclusive talent. This fact shapes itself with an artistic perception talent.
Design constitutes most of the professions’ basis. Among them, there are interior decoration creativity that
includes interior design, aesthetic beauty, functionality, spatial organisation, graphic design and industrial design,
which reserve many features in it. Design is important and special because it includes these qualifications.
Art is a fact which has always put a question mark in the minds because of its different definitions and arguments
in each and every period of time.
In his book, ‘’what’s art?’’ Tolstoy says ‘’Arts has emerged from people’s need for expressing their feelings for
other people to feel as well by means of motion, , sound, drawing, colour or words.’’ (Aydın, 2008, 3).
1 Karadeniz Technic University, Architectural Faculty, Interior Architecture Department, Lec. Dr
2 Karadeniz Technic University, Architectural Faculty, Interior Architecture Department, Ress. Assis.
In the most general sense, art appears as an expression of creativity and imagination. Throughout history, people
have always had different ideas about how to name art and within this time, there have existed some restrictions and
new definitions. Today, art can be used as a very simple and clear concept by many a person while in academes it is
still open to discussion how to define art or whether it is a definable concept. The thing which is certain that it has a
universal value for mankind, and it can be seen in every culture even it is restricted in various ways. (Aydın, 2008,
Design and art is essential to form a basis for interior architecture education system. For this reason, it is
necessary to define art and design education and process.
1.2. Design and Art Education
The aim of art education is to bring up individuals who are powerful in visual perception, express themselves by
artistic ways, knows the culture in which they live, learn, protect and take responsibility to pass down this culture to
other generations, respect cultural heritage, creative and constructive. Art education should available at every level,
continuous and appropriate for all levels. (Buyurgan, Buyurgan, 2012).
Art education is important for an individual’s general education. According to the general view, art education is
not a luxury just for those who are talented. It is necessary for everybody. The aim of art education is not to bring
up artists, but educate individuals through artistic way. It’s an activity that allows people to discover their creativity
and form their personality. (Gençaydın,1990: 44). Suut Kemal Yetkin says ‘Art is a kind of moral education’ and
expresses how art education is important for bringing up individuals and on their personal development. (Yetkin,
1962: 61) (Buyurgan, Buyurgan, 2012, 9).
Architectural design education is a system which gives reference for design in global terms while it develops
high behaviour in cognitive terms. (Oxman, 2001). It makes it easy to learn these behaviours and helps acquiring
necessary knowledge and abilities for a professional life. Beside all of other features, design education helps an
individual to switch from starting point to skill level. (Ketizman Önal, 2012, 49).
Interior architecture contains both art and design on its own. Design is an artistic fact on itself. It requires a
process. First of all, it is important to achieve a way of thinking, formal or conceptual search, an artistic element
emerging within a concept or reference point. The process includes all designs and designers from the very
beginning to this age, artistic flows reflecting different eras and schematic components.
Art and design education which has a lot in common involves a practical process. The process also enables
people to shape their sketches by putting pen to paper. The product emerged in the process of sketch is raised
through model technique and it is meant to be perceived as three dimensional.
Works and artistic pieces emerged in design and art education is the result of a whole course of education.
In interior architecture education, which involves art and design education, designing takes form and turns into
end product after students set a model. This process is described in detail and end products are evaluated.
2. Studies by Students : Setting A Model, ‘’Boundary’’ concept
In Interior Architecture Education which is shaped within a design-based process the aim is to raise creativity
and improve it. In this meaning, students are introduced new topics and concepts, and as a result, they are supposed
to express these concepts with the meaning in their minds. This experience is firstly possible on a two-dimensional
plan and a paper, then two-dimensional works are raised to three- dimensional platform with the help of model
technique. These practices enhance students’ creativity and their visual-mental perception. After this process,
students are reached the art and design-oriented education level which is different from that of high school in their
first academic year.
On the basis of this education, improving creative thinking and three dimensional perceptions is only possible
through setting a model. Model is necessary for students to see the objects and shapes that they imagine and design.
In the late years, it can be possible through computer programs which give real-space effect. In their first year,
model technique which is very traditional is used as a very effective means for students to make them think
2.1. Defining ‘’Boundary’’ as a Concept
In this study, students learn a lot of concepts and they are supposed to adapt it in third dimension as they
perceive. In this study conducted on first grade students at Black SeaTechnical University Faculty of Architecture, a
boundary to design a space is mentioned. ‘’Boundary’’ is a concept which exists in nature, philosophy, architecture
and all other fields. This concept which can have different meanings for each person and make a different
perception for every design was explained in detail and practiced with examples.
Boundary is a significant concept for students in their first year education because it is necessary to boundary the
design and space. It is beneficial for them to learn how to boundary and which criteria to use at the very beginning
of their training process.
The meaning of the Word in Turkish Language Institute Dictionary, 1. noun. An abstract and general design of
an object or an idea in the mind, notion, idea. 2. Philosophy A general design which includes common features of
objects and events and bring them under the same heading, an idea, notion. 3. Colloquil language Cluster, handful
(Akalın, 2009, 1111).
According to philosophy dictionary: 1. Ottomon (1. Os. Mefhum, Tasavvur, Fehim, İdrak, Fikir, Mana, Mahiyet,
Külliyat, Vukuf; Fr. Concept, Al. Begriff, Eng. Conception,It. Concetto
2. Ot. Malume, İlim, İlmi iptidai, İlmi müktesep, Tasavvur, Fikir, Marifeti müktesep, Tasavvur, Fikir, Marifeti
müktesebe, Mefhumu mücerred, Manayı mücerred, Mefhum, Malumat, Marifet, Vukuf, İrfan, Ittıla, Mana, Makul,
Mahiyet, Mahiyeti makule; Fr., Eng.,, Notion, Gr. Gedanke, Vorstellung; It. Nozione) It is something that can be
got through thinking.. (Hançerlioğlu, 2008).
When it comes to the definition of ‘’boundary’’, the perspective is very narrow. However, in the architectural
meaning, it is a concept which has lots of meanings and connotations. More than its basic meaning, it is effective
when we look at connotations.
The meaning of this Word (Turkish. sınır) in dictionary is the line that separates two countries or states. In a way,
it is a line that separates the land of neighbour district, city, village or people. Besides, it is the last line or point
which something spreads. (Akalın, 2009, 1755).
Wilde says ‘’To define is to limit’’(Wilde, 2010). This definition is valid for all fields. It is very obvious that it is
impossible to work without boundaries. It is a measure to make all definitions and define the field of work. Without
this concept, everything exists endlessly. The more the things become narrower the easier to command. (Kurak
Açıcı, 2013, 3).
Space, as a concept, varies from large scales to very small fields. This variety is defined and designed according
to the space which is covered. To work in well-defined fields on the basis of architecture profession, so it is
beneficial for student to meet boundaries at the beginning of the training.
3. Setting a Model
Firstly, the concepts were described through a presentation for students’ practice. After the presentation, students
were given one hour to express the concept ‘’boundary’’ on an A4 paper. While defining the concept it was
emphasized that there is no limit and they were free to express how they like. The fact that there is no boundary
makes students confused. The purpose here was that students should write down what they understand from this
concept without any boundary or directives because the concept has lots of different meanings and connotations.
In fact, the paper itself is a boundary; however they were able to write down what they perceived without any
boundaries. They could express their perception within their ability to express.
After student wrote down what they understood from the presentation they were supposed to pass on three-
dimensional platform as homework. They were supposed to set a model to express the concept ‘’boundary’’ on a
20*20 platform not to exceed 10 cm. In the next lesson, every student made presentations and explained why they
formed such a work. In this part of the study, the concept was interpreted in the light of design and art.
Students verbalised the concept in two ways as abstract and concrete. Some of them interpreted it with abstract
concepts while others do it with concrete meanings and spaces. The concept with abstract and concrete meanings is
as following :
Table 1. Abstract Meaning of Boundary Concept With Models
1st Grade Student’s Interpretations of Boundary Concept Abstract Meanings With Models
In these tables, 40 papers out of 70 are available. The concept was interpreted with 20 abstract expressions in
Table-1. In these expressions, students completed their ideas, thoughts and feelings and they turned them into three-
dimension. In concrete meanings, students transferred their work by using urban, spatial elements or objects.
Students were limited to use different colours. Colour is a very useful tool to boundary the concept and students
were not introduced using colours because they were in the first term. Thus, they could just use three colours. These
colours were grey, black and white. They were warned not to use black too much because it is very intense and they
needed to bring their work into the forefront. As a result, they formed their works by using mostly grey and white.
Table 2. Concrete Meaning of Boundary Concept With Models
1st Grade Student’s Interpretations of Boundary Concept Abstract Meanings With Models
4. Last Word
Interior Architecture education; is a system in which design and art education is blended together. In this
process, after a theoretical information part, an artistic element is produced with the help of studies for practice and
production. After a hard and busy work, every experience which is turned into product helps student to put
themselves in a different place because they become aware of their productivity. In this process, it is obvious that
students are in a different kind of training. They are open to production and they try to solve the problems in
creative, intuitional and aesthetic ways.
Design education is always open to discussion as design’s itself and it is carried out when students acquire the
knowledge of design. Design includes an ever-changing and ever-growing process. Every student has a different
perspective and interprets it according to their understanding. The product at the end of the process is perceived as
an artistic element and students are proud of what they did if they believe that they completed the process
It is known that interior architecture progresses with a design-oriented process. Design or designing includes a
process which helps making creative, aesthetic, functional and ergonomic products. Every product shows itself with
its artistic value. Art and design education have similar processes. In both of them, creativity, productivity,
originality and awareness is the case. The different part of design education is that the product is functional as well
as aesthetic, which makes it useful as spatially. Thus, design education includes a more complex knowledge and
experience process in that it makes liveable areas.
In this education, art and design are engaged. It is impossible to refer design without art. Throughout the process,
the aim is to help students widen their horizons and make them equipped to produce new things.
At the end of the process, students can have a chance to see concurrence of art and design after expression of
their sketches three dimensionally. With their products, they prove the success of the process.
Akalın, Ş. H., 2009. Turkish Dictionary, Atatürk Culture, Language and History Higher Institute Press, 10. Edition,
Aydın, G.R., 2008, “The relationship Between Artistic Object and Designed Environment’’”, Mimar Sinan Fine
Arts University, Institute of Social Sciences ,Master Thesis, İstanbul.
Buyurgan, S., Buyurgan U., 2012, “Art Education and Training”, Pegem Press, 3. Edition, Ankara.
Hançerlioğlu, O., 2008. “Philosophy Dictionary”, Big Ideas Series Remzi Kitabevi, 16. Edition, İstanbul, 371-372.
Ketizman Önal, 2012, “A method to use to search the effects of Student’s Cultural Schemas on Architectural
Design Education” ITU, Institute of Science, Phd Thesis, İstanbul, 49.
Kurak Açıcı, F., 2013, “Boundary Concepts In Relation To Indoor Spaces”, BTU Institute of Science, Phd Thesis,
Oxman, R., 2001, “The Mind in Design: A Conceptual Framework for Cognition in Design Education, in Design
Knowing and Learning: Cognition in Design Education”, pp. 79–124, Eds. W C Newstetter, C. Eastman and
W.M. McCracken, Elsevier Science B.V.
Yetkin,S.K.,1962 “Artistic Issues”, De Press, 61.