Architecture that grabs us? It’s on the supermarket shelf!

When I saw this box on the store shelf, I had to get one!

The cottages seemed warm and welcoming, as if waiting to see me, suggesting a cozy community. What could be more inviting in winter? I honestly felt happy picking out that box. It also shows a walking path between buildings – that is car-free – no traffic congestion here, in fact, no cars to speak of.

No wonder I went for the tissues, even though I hadn’t initially planned on buying any. Who wouldn’t want to be in a place like that? It shows a charming space where people implicitly feel safe; and what more do people really want in a home or community?

I soon learned that Kleenex, from multinational Kimberly-Clark, based in Irving, Texas, (valuation $44 billion), isn’t the only brand using charming and historic architecture to get us to shop. Check out the plastic bag and box below.

This new item (both the box and plastic bags inside) from IKEA, founded in Sweden, known as the world’s largest furniture retailer (valuation $21 billion), feature Stockholm’s famous 19th-century-and-earlier architecture, where tourists gravitate today.

And when you use these bags, put sandwiches in them, say – it does feel special! No wonder, they use the same timeless patterns that make us feel most at home in a place, and secure in a space, no matter where we’re from.

It’s fascinating to see how billion-dollar retailers seriously consider client feelings in the built environment – including ones not widely acknowledged, like the power of car-free streets and old architecture to make people feel safe and happy – to drive sales of things that have nothing to do with buildings at all.

Retailers know the strength of our attachments to place, and how these feelings are powerful enough to spill over to anything – including a box of tissues or plastic bags.

It is time for that knowledge of our hidden human behaviors to be better understood by developers, designers and planners today, to make our future environments healthier and happier. (It’s why we created this blog!)

Let’s use the appealing designs, sketched on tissue boxes, in the real world to create a public realm we can care about. Feelings, after all, do matter. Future generations will thank us.

This entry was posted in Architecture, Biology, Design, faces, Health, Patterns, STEM, Walkability. Bookmark the permalink.

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