AS FOUNDER OF SO FENG SHUI DESIGN, SIMONE OSSWALD HAS ALL THE COMPONENTS YOUR NEED FOR A HAPPY, HEALTHY LIVING ENVIRONMENT.
It’s a new year and what better time to think about refreshing and revamping your home? Instead of just re-decorating why not explore deeper options that will create an all-round more positive living environment? Simone Osswald is a Feng Shui Wellness Designer based in The Middle East. With a unique concept Osswald combines Feng Shui, interior design and wellness to advise and create interior spaces that are in harmony with their residents and guests. This means a more positive living environment and good energy within your home as a result of carefully chosen interiors, colours, positioning of furniture and much more.
After years of working in the design industry Simone found a unique gap in the market that required the influences of the ancient Chinese concept of Feng Shui to help build a happy home. Feng Shui is a concept that uses energy to harmonise individuals with their surrounding environment. The concept studies and analyses the interaction between people, buildings and their surrounding space and allows for many improvements to be made by modifying living environments. This energy is said to be determined by shapes, materials, colours and mood. With her company So Feng Shui Design, Simone Osswald takes this concept and applies it to the home or workplace. She looks to find the harmonious balance of space and energy through the most suitable allocation of rooms and the arrangement of furniture and objects. To create a relaxing and positive space. In order to achieve the right balance Ying and Yang energies need to be equally present and the five elements; fire, earth, metal, water and wood nurture each other. We talk to Simone Osswald to find out what it’s all about and the simple ways you can achieve harmony in the home.
What is the role the Feng Shui can play in detoxing and refreshing our living environment?
Feng Shui advocates decluttering as a major home detox at least once a year, just as you do spring cleaning. We all have too many things in our drawers, bookshelves and wardrobes which hinder the Qi (chi) flow through the space. My rule is, don’t keep items in your home that you haven’t used for the last 12 months. Give them away or store them outside your home. Regular checks of fresh air supply, water quality and A/C cleaning and disinfection are crucial factors for a healthy environment.
Why Feng Shui?
Feng Shui adds a level of well-being that no other discipline does. In ancient China it was used to help people with social or existential problems. Feng Shui works on our consciousness but more often on our unconsciousness. This means it’s creating harmony deep inside of us simply by creating a Feng Shui friendly environment.
What are the ways we can clear bad energy from our homes?
Bad energy inside our homes can be caused by various factors, and depending on those, Feng Shui offers different effective remedies. If the negative energy is caused by fractured mirrors for example, or furniture with sharp edges with so-called Sha-Qi (or ‘poison arrows’) we can simply exchange them with Feng Shui friendlier versions. With formulas and calculations, a Feng Shui practitioner can detect other negative energies throughout your home. If the negative energy is located in a bathroom, this means it is being washed away by using the bathroom, hence it is not affecting the residents and does not need a remedy. However, if the negative energy is found in a bedroom, one can use the ‘salt water cure’, which is the purifying of the air in a room through the chemical reaction of salt, water and metal.
What are the things you look for when you visit someone’s home to highlight the good and bad points of the space?
As a classical Feng Shui practitioner, it’s the home’s surroundings including the arrival experience, building, entrance pathway, garden and entrance door. Sometimes the home owner’s health or financial issues can be a result of negative energy in these areas. For example, the entrance hall is an indicator for the financial situation. Inside a home I use all my senses to capture the space. I look for good lighting and an easy walkabout of the space, I spot clutter and sharp edges, I smell the air and touch materials. Bedrooms and kitchens are two important focal points for good health. However, any physical assessment needs to be accompanied by thorough Feng Shui space calculations, taking into account building features and the resident’s birthdates.
Which colours would you suggest for a positive environment?
In Feng Shui all colours can create a positive environment. Colours represent the five elements of fire, earth, metal, water and wood. Each room needs one element more than another to create the best energy. Depending on the required energy, the colours are chosen accordingly. If a room needs the energy of wood, green and blue tones support positive energy. If the room requires metal, all pastel colours, grey and metallic hues are most beneficial to create positive energy.
What about materials and fabrics – are there any you would suggest?
I always recommend natural materials over man-made ones. Real wood or marble for instance carry powerful energies and therefore leather, cottons or linens are also materials I always prefer over polyester, polypropylene and any other synthetic mixtures.
What about types of chairs – are there specific types that encourage positivity?
Feng Shui friendly chairs are solid and made of as much natural material as possible. Comfort is another important factor, which translates in a backrest, armrests and good ergonomics for best posture.
What about shapes -are there any that will help us achieve a sense of calm in the home?
All shapes that occur in nature are calming shapes. Nature is the most calming space around us and nature’s shapes are flowing, soft and smooth with circles, ovals and waves.
Can you explain a little about the WELL Building Standard?
The WELL Building Standard® is a system for measuring, certifying, and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and well-being, through air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and mind. Buildings can be certified with this standard if they comply to their business specific percentage of 102 features. In my Feng Shui Wellness Design® consultation I incorporate specific features to maximize the wellness factor for corporate environments.
What about the work environment – what small changes can we make to improve our desk space?
There are indeed a few tips that can instantly improve your performance and health. Electronic pollution is the most important aspect to look at. Make sure to surround yourself only with electronic devices you really use frequently. If you don’t use them on a regular basis, place them further away to reduce the immediate radiation. Latest models of electronic devises emit less radiation. Declutter the desk and keep only on the desk surface items that you are currently working on; store all other documents, stationery and other items in drawers or cupboards. A plant on the desk can help absorbing radiation and adds calming energy. The best desks are made of natural wood.
What are the secrets to a happy home environment?
In Feng Shui happiness is the ultimate state of good health. The basic principle is that through good health we promote clarity of thought, which in turn leads to success and confidence, and eventually interpersonal skills and harmony and therefore happiness. According to Feng Shui good health starts with a good quality sleep. Indeed, the bedrooms are the most important room in any home. Soothing colours, fresh air and fresh linens made of natural materials are crucial. Electronic devices, sports equipment or any work-related items should be banned from the bedroom. Create instead a calming wellness heaven with not much else than the bed and side tables and it’s best if you use the room only for sleeping.
Which interiors trends are you except about for 2019?
I fully embrace the trend for more of a wellness factor in interior design. Biophilic design was a big topic in 2018 but will be more important in 2019. Biophilia, or the implementation of elements which connect the residents with mother nature can reduce stress, enhance creativity and clarity of thought, improve our well-being and expedite healing. Circadian lighting, which controls the colour and intensity of light during the day according to our circadian rhythm (our inner clock) is another trend that goes absolutely hand in hand with my mission for wellness design. I also welcome the trend for more natural and sustainable materials such as wooden floors and jute and clay accessories. It adds more grounding energy into homes and makes us feel more in touch with our roots.
What is the décor in your own home?
I like decorating the interiors of a home in a style that goes with the exterior of the building. Here in Dubai we live in a contemporary style bungalow with high ceilings and lots of bright light from full height windows overlooking the garden and pool, so I decorated our villa in a contemporary style that matches the exterior colours of nature with lots of plants and very comfortable furniture pieces. Our classical home back in Europe in contrast is decorated with lots of 19th century pieces matching the 260-year-old exterior. I keep accessories to a minimum but I am a big cushion lover and I change them regularly with the seasons.
What is the first thing you do when you get home in the evening?
I change my clothes, swapping my work clothes (that carry the energy of the entire day) and put on a set of fresh comfortable clothes.
What is your motto in life?
Find your purpose, trust your gut and follow the signs.
When you are feeling down how do you find positive energy?
I have learnt that allowing and accepting any feeling is a natural way of achieving harmony with oneself. We can’t always be happy and positive. And feeling down is not necessarily a negative thing, it is regenerating. So, I don’t force myself to be positive when I feel down. I simply acknowledge it, because I know the next day I will naturally be in a better mood. It’s the ying and yang of life.