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  • the shrine vs. the temple

    shrine  SHrīn/ noun

    1. a place regarded as holy because of its associations with a divinity or a sacred person or relic, typically marked by a building or other construction.

    temple  ˈtempəl/ noun

    1. a building devoted to the worship, or regarded as the dwelling place, of a god or gods or other objects of religious reverence.


    For the sake clarity of this small piece of writing of mine, please allow me to  temporarily suspend our common definition of the word Temple so that we may use it as a simplified juxtaposition of two congruent concepts.  I am intentionally using the two terms for their similarity in meaning and implied scale.  Yet for the time being, I would like us to think of  a temple as something more akin to a cathedral.  Both the shrine and temple being manifestations of the same initial reverence,  but the latter as an exaggerated expression.  Where the shrine is a humble place constructed out of personal devotion, the temple is constructed to impress upon others that same intent...

    When I set out to write this piece, I felt as if the words would effortlessly pour out onto the page but once I began to write I realized that the idea I am trying to convey, while internally straight-forward within my thoughts, was rather abstract and going to take some fineness in conveying.  As I have embarked upon this journey as a designer I have noticed two types of motivation behind the beautification of one’s space: that is the creation of a shrine and the creation of a temple.  It might be hard to separate the differences as we are all so influenced by one another and at some level our self expression seeks some form of recognition.  What I think separates the two is not just weather it is ego driven but where exactly the intended audience is seated.  Some people are comfortable shopping at a thrift store or flea market. You might be able to afford a four thousand dollar lounge chair.  You might be both.  Where this desire for adornment and beautification beyond functionality arise is the point of interest for me.  Are you doing it to impress others or inspire yourself?  It is a question worth asking.

    Through my experience, I have seen the effect of a changed space on the lives of people who claim to not “care” about interior design.  They may have set things in place to facilitate what they consider the most functional use of their home while unknowingly inhibiting the space’s potential or their own.  Only once things have been adjusted to accommodate things beyond their own interaction with the space do they begin to realize things like: the way the dining table was placed was not conducive to having guests over for dinner or the way the bed was positioned in the room made it unwelcoming to potential partners.  I have also seen the opposite: people that are so keenly aware of their surroundings that improvements and additions become a never-ending endeavour. While investing in and improving your space is an important and valuable pursuit it can easily become a never ending cycle of acquisition and dissatisfaction.  Creating a settled home can and should take some measure of time to be an authentic reflection of us and our uniqueness.  More often than not, we have most of the pieces of this puzzle in our possession, only needing some adjustments to create a clearer picture.

    At its core, the industry of design is similar to fashion, that it must relentlessly cycle through trends and innovations to provide consumers with seasonal changes that outgrow their previous counterparts.  While some designs strive for “timelessness” ultimately other creators seek new ideas and looks to upset the status quo.  Where do find ourselves on this spectrum of consumption to find personal identity and expression?  With an endless supply of options these days it’s no wonder that we might seek out the guidance of professionals to help us navigate all the choices.  It’s important where we set our intents and what we seek out to be authentic.  Give yourself freedom to grow and molt but seek to make lasting decisions. Whether you create your space yourself or with the help of a designer, consider the intention: are you building a shrine to honor your higher, creative self, or constructing a temple to impress others?