Layers of Communication in Physical Spaces

Every space communicates through multidimensional layers of sensory information.

When creating a professional space, there are many variables to attend to so that the space is a clear, coherent space that is aligned with your professional intention. These elements are all the variables that impact our senses. They range from light, to sound, to visual harmony, to the service we receive. Many of these same elements impact the experience of your home environment.

When you go to a restaurant or office where every level of the experience exceeds your expectations you know that someone who is highly gifted is coordinating the multiple layers of the experience. This person is attending to the effect of the lighting, the qualities of the acoustics, the kinesthetic experience of opening the door, the appropriateness of the seating, the harmony between the colors and art for the walls, the quality of the food, and the service the staff provides.

Each person absorbs information with emphasis on different sensory input. This means that each person may register different information. One person might notice the music in your restaurant and another might appreciate how perfectly the chair supports his or her back. One person might be so appreciative of the excellent service that the mediocre food is irrelevant. For another, the quality of the food is all that they register.

When we encounter a physical space we are absorbing numerous layers of visual information and other sensory input. It is extremely challenging to take the time to focus on all the layers of visual communication that exist in a space. Often, the visual layers of information in a space are not congruent with each other. An example would be colors that don’t work together or proportions that are incongruous between pieces of furniture.

Even when you take the time to consider the infinite number of visual layers in a physical space, you might forget to think about lighting, or the quality of sound, or ease of access to the house.

When working in a physical or interpersonal space, the most helpful approach is to focus on different layers of information, one at a time. As you address the themes at each level, you can then address where these layers of information overlap. An example would be that you pay attention to how colors interact with each other in a space and once you have addressed this issue, then you examine how the pieces of furniture relate to each other.

In interpersonal spaces, each person has a mental, emotional, physical, energetic, and spiritual dimension of awareness. Information is both conveyed by and absorbed on all of these levels. Each person’s unique development determines which dimensions of information are most impactful. The more levels of information someone is aware of absorbing, the easier it is for them to be disturbed by incongruence between the layers of communication.

For instance, if someone goes to a spa and expects a rejuvenating experience that is visually and auditorily peaceful, they may also expect to have a positive experience with the staff. They may be put off by the tense and unfriendly receptionist.

When one person encounters another, there is an overlapping field where each person’s energy interacts with that of the other. The best way to imagine the complexity of information in this space is to visualize a Venn diagram comprised of interconnecting spheres. In any interpersonal space, each person communicates information in all these dimensions. At the same time, each person is receiving these dimensions of information from the other person. This does not mean that either person has any awareness of these transactions.

Individual temperament means that each person will process and respond to information differently. One person may be more analytical or emotional than another. Personal histories and perspectives will color each person’s interpretation of what he or she is experiencing.

It is easy to see how flat our political, social, and emotional considerations tend to be. As a culture we don’t value, or take the time to develop, the attunement to the layers of information that are always within the spaces of our lives.

However, the more layers we are able to consider, the more aligned and effective our communication and decision making can be.