5 Elements Of The World Cultural Studies Essay

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Wood houses health and beauty boutiques and lifestyle stores which focus on personal well being, and this theme is reflected in the use of timber, hardwood and oriental plants.

Wood Zone Art Piece - Man & Mok use the worm trials in the sculpture "The Trails by Worms as a way of drawing people's attention to ordinary things in our environment and our rapidly developing city. They used organic lines and vibrant images to construct the artwork. The negative and positive spaces in between the two separated parts represent the feasibility and potential of imagination. It signifies the concept of the integration of heaven and humanity and invisible vitality.


Metal embraces decorations of fine steel and copper and features. Which is featured most prominently among the two-storey "indoor boulevard" of shops such as Mulberry & Tiffany & Co. and the broad corridors provide a special ambience for nobility and novelty .

Synthesizer of modernity and a consumerist nature.

Besides from the core mall structure, an essential constitution of the Metal zone is the Civic Square.


Fire focuses on entertainment, and the décor and foliage are vibrant and exotic to reflect the varied entertainment options on offer. With a high emphasis on contrasting colors and vibrant peripheral decorations.

Fire Zone Art Piece - "White Heat" is comprised of 10 pieces each measuring approx. 2.5 meters. Fire is constantly moving, yet going nowhere. It changes everything it touches yet itself remains unchanged. Its power, often in disguise, can be harnessed for both creation and destruction and it presents itself in myriad forms. In this sculpture, the artist has concentrated on the idea of white heat and all its implications; each purifying flame captured for one elusive moment in a three dimensional form.


Water encompasses unusual water features that enrich the environment in which delectable international cuisine and modern fashion can be found. Such examples are the artificial waterfall which extends the entire wall length on the exit of the parking lot and various sculptures featured in the zone. One of the most prominently presented is the six-meter tall artwork - Harmony.

"Harmony", looks like ten abstract mountains with water flowing down gently from the top. The water is collected at the bottom and pumped up again to the top of the pipes, forming cycles of constantly flowing water, which is a symbol of wealth beloved by the Chinese.


Earth Zone Art Piece - "Earth Dragon" is based on the exploration of the relationship between sculpture and architecture, a natural interaction between volume and space, light and matter, between society and individual, programs and fantasy. The artist develops here a new language articulated through the superposition of simple geometric layers. Those layers sculpted in black granite create a powerful and sinuous dragon of 20 meters long and 3 meters high.

Psychology of Element's Interior Design

Prerequisite Knowledge and Scope of Study

The core purpose of interior design is to provide an effective environment for the activities intended for the venue in question .

Regardless of how we define commerce, almost every shopping centre is selling something.

A successful shopping centre has a simple formula.

Initially, it must be accessible to everyone. It must be attractive and inviting.

Once inside, the customer must be able to move comfortably through the shopping centre and find the shop that so intrigues them. They must be able to examine the merchandise (or service) and get information about it.

Finally, they must be able to successfully complete a purchase or procure a service.

In the case of shopping malls, the intended outcome of the design would then be to compel visitors to consume within the premises and if possible ,acts as a landmark of the region which would in turns increases the volume of visitors .

To reach the desire results , interior designers often incorporate 2 main strategies in their designs.


Titillating Spatial Organization

Despite of the fact that both of the strategies above are vastly different in practise, they are common on the ground that they both relies upon the interception of subconscious thought of the pedestrians .

Ultimately the decision making process of a person falls down to the subjective reality formed from sensory data. All organisms are instinctively hardwired to respond to certain sensory signals. Through manipulation of such signals, the shopping mall design could then tap into the thought process of its pedestrians and be a puppeteer of the visitor's mood and desires. Hence , weakening the inhibitions(intellect) of the visitors and finally convincing their brain to commit to an action the shopping centre desired- to consume. [1] 

This section shall investigate how is such a principle put in practice in Elements with respect to aforementioned strategies.

Color Psychology and Theory in Practice

Pablo Picasso

"Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions. "

Color should be utilized as such it properly complements the central design philosophy and in the case of Shopping Mall designs. It should be designed as such it compels the pedestrian to consume.

A studied carried out by NeuroImage found that attention is captured subconsciously before people can consciously attend to something. Researchers looking at electroencephalography (EEGs) while people made decisions on color preference found brain activation when a favorite color is present prior to the participants' conscious focus.

As the test subjects are presented with a lexicon of colors ,the spike in brain activity is the most profound for their favorite colors or color that stands up from the ambient background. Such findings implies that strategic color placements on products can effectively seize pedestrian attention, before the person willingly looking at the product. [2] 

Thus effectively intercepting the consumption decision even before the pedestrian acknowledge of its existence.

Color conveys meanings in two primary ways - natural associations and psychological symbolism. For example, a soft shade of blue triggers associations with the sky and a psychological sense of calm.

Successful design requires an awareness of how and why colors communicate meaning. The source of these meanings can be quite conspicuous, such as those found in nature - red is the color of blazing fire and blood, blue the color of cooling waters and the sky. Other meanings may be more complex and not universal.

As a starting point, the communicative properties of a color can be defined by two categories: natural associations and psychological (or cultural) associations.

Occurrence of colors in nature are timeless and universal. fedex-2.jpg

For instance:

Green represents the color of vegetation and earthliness.

Blue represents the color of the sky and ocean.

Vibrant colors such as orange and red also carries strain of subliminal meanings to energy and speed.

FedEx's two different color schemes are the best examples of the "universal" symbolism of colors. Green communicates ground services; orange communicates the high energy and speed of air transportation.

For venues with a demographic of a wide spectrum of ethnicity and cultural background (e.g.: A shopping mall),colors that involves instinctive psychological response are preferred to colors with cultural association which may not provoke the desired response.

Colors with psychological association arises from cultural and contemporary contexts. As such, it is not universal and may be unrelated to its natural associations.

For example, green's associations with nature communicate growth, fruitfulness, freshness and ecology. On the other hand, green may also be symbolic of good luck, seasickness, money and greed - all of which have nothing to do with green plants. These associations arise from a complex assortment of sources.

Furthermore, color may have both positive and negative symbolism. For example, although blue is the beautiful color of the sky on a sunny day, it can be symbolic of sadness or stability. Idiomatic American English reflects these traits in phrases such as "singing the blues" and "blue chip stocks." Red is another example of dual symbolism. On one hand, as the color of fire and blood, it is an energizing, aggressive and bold color. In direct contrast, red is used for "STOP" signs throughout the world today.

Nevertheless , due to the immense variations in different cultures this report will not delve deep into the cultural implications of color utilization , instead the instinctive response to colors would be the main focus.

Function of Colors

Color must function successfully on several levels simultaneously.

First, on a technical level, the colors must be as accurate as the existing technology will allow, while, at the same time, heeding the rules of optics and lighting as in accordance to the lighting spectrum.

Second, once a set of colors has caught and held the visitor's attention they must succeed in conveying appropriate information.

Third, colors must function competently as the primary structural element in the store's design - the web page layout. In this capacity, color must create appropriate spatial and navigational effects on the page and the site as a whole.

Fourth, as the primary aesthetic tool, colors must create a sense of visual harmony, thus sustaining and enhancing the customers interest in the shopping experience.

Color of the Elements

Dominant Color:

As The Elements is a shopping mall with a clear distinction between each sectors and each of its core focus. Each of the sectors will be analyzed separately in relation to their intended use.

Notwithstanding, each of the sectors do bear a common feature - A heavy emphasis on neutral colors .

Neutral color by technical definition consists of white, gray and black but in decorating, neutral colors have a wider definition and encompass a large range of colors. Such as tan, amber , sand and titanium. In decorating, grays and blacks have either warm or cool undertones and typically fall into one of the two categories above. Neutral colors as the name suggests are neutral and thus will match almost any color. When compared with vibrant colors such as red , blue and green. Their psychological effects are significantly weaker .Howbeit , they do have their place in the playing field. For instance , white emphasizes purity and innocence. However, overuse of the white color will give a sense of monotony and dampens the indefatigability of the pedestrians. Hence was careful as to splice in more electrifying colors as necessary.


Focus of the Zone

Entertainment and Excitement

Desired Color combination effect

Raise energy level ,

Provoke social interaction

Color Palette in decor design

Warm Colors surrounding the Red Spectrum


In chromotherapy ,Red is associated with passion and energy, as well as being a bit racy.

Biologically , the color red triggers our dopamine release mechanism while suppressing our serotonin release. Its usage also has a direct positive correlation between the color and blood pressure and heart rate .Which in turns helps to increase the observer's strength and agility .Moreover it is also a color known for stimulating appetites and conversation.

Such an effect on the pedestrians will aid in their experience at the main attraction of the shopping centre - i.e.: the ice rink and the cinema. As a major social venues , the biological boost should in theory improve their experience and in turns produce a positive feedback cycle whenever the pedestrians thought of the Elements again. Referring back to the Decision Making Model (fig.1) , this would then become an imprint on the "Thoughts" of the individual , automatically linking the Elements with positivity and satisfaction. Therefore increasing the likelihood for consumption within the premises of The Elements.

However , it should be noted that there are complications with the liberal usage of the color red.

For tasks that requires precise motor skills and mental clarity (i.e.: Deciding whether or not to make a purchase) , exposure to the color has been proven to be counterproductive .Such a biological phenomenon has been put to use by the architects of The Elements. As the inhibition of the consumers decrease the tendency of pedestrians engaging in impulse based purchases increases exponentially , and thus most of the upper-middle class luxury goods vendors (e.g.: Prince Jewellery and Pearls , GODIVA Chocolatier) are located in close proximity to the fire-themed decors.


Focus of the Zone

International Cuisine and Modern Fashion

Desired Color combination effect

Entice Appetite

Association with trendiness

Color Palette in decor design


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As true to the elements water , the color cyan is used extensively throughout the sector .

Blue is the favorite color of all people regardless of ethnicity and cultural background.

Attempting to explain such a phenomenon .On a pure evolutionary standpoint ,it is found that blue is rarely seen on edible vegetables and fruits. The presence of the color blue is usually a tell tale sign of an item's poisonous or spoiled nature. Some weight loss plans even recommend eating your food off of a blue plate. The scientific reason of why the color blue is preferred remains as a mystery until today. However ,its cultural association and psychological effects on one's behavior is well understood. Blue has one of the most diverse meanings of any other color.

Dark blue: trust, dignity, intelligence, authority

Bright blue: cleanliness, strength, dependability, coolness

Light (sky) blue: peace, serenity, ethereal, spiritual, infinity

In The Element's case , the color blue is used to portrays a sense of tranquility ,order and quality. With the dominant color band inclining towards the light blue spectrum. As a zone with bountiful number of sitting areas and small cafes. It can be seen that the architect intended this section of the mall as a resting place for the shoppers. A place where the pedestrians can slow down their pace within the mall and relax .

There are 2 sides to this color scheme selection.

By making the water zone a comparatively more pleasant zone to be , pedestrians will tend to linger within the perimeters. Coupled by the cultural association with trustworthiness shoppers would be trusting towards vendors' advice and more vulnerable to their sales tactics. Hence fulfilling the purpose of facilitating trade between the

However as previously stated the color blue .The color blue abrogate sensations of hunger and appetite. Thus , the placement of restaurants such as Boulangerie Bo-Lo`GNE and lppei-an Higomonzu(RAMEN & KUSHIYAKI) is rather ill-advised .

As according to Gary Blumenthal of International Food Strategies

"Color and the appeal of various foods is also closely related. Just the sight of food fires neurons in the hypothalamus. Subjects presented food to eat in the dark reported a critically missing element for enjoying any cuisine: the appearance of food. For the sighted, the eyes are the first place that must be convinced before a food is even tried. This means that some food products fail in the marketplace not because of bad taste, texture, or smell but because the consumer never got that far. Colors are significant and almost universally it is difficult to get a consumer to try a blue-colored food -- though more are being marketed for children these days. Greens, browns, reds, and several other colors are more generally acceptable......."58_photo.jpg

Nonetheless , such an effect is also acknowledged by the architects of The Elements. Consequently , most of the blue decors are situated on the ceiling and indented false ceilings which would normally fall outside the peripheral vision of the shoppers. Making the naming of "Water Zone" more of a nominal effect than actual practice.


Focus of the Zone

Health and Beauty Boutiques

Wellbeing Lifestyle Stores

Desired Color combination effect

Conveyance of

environmental friendliness

Color Palette in decor design



The Wood zone is the home to one of the largest anchor tenants in the sector -ThreeSixty, Hong Kong's Largest Organic & Natural Foods Store.

As a natural color that is common to the ancestral habitat of humans-apes. Color surrounding the palette brown provoke instinctive association of home and security. Such an association extends toward the cultural meaning of wholesomeness and earthiness.

While usage of brown in a shopping mall might be considered a little on the dull side, it also represents steadfastness, simplicity, friendliness, dependability, and health.

As seen in The Element's case The color brown and its lighter cousins in tan, taupe, beige, or cream make excellent backgrounds helping accompanying colors appear richer, brighter. Brown goes especially well with the color green. They are often used in tandem to convey the concept of recycling or earth-friendly products.

Hence , effectively complementing the nature of the shops and its merchandise offered . Although it may not necessarily lead to a heightened state of desire for the aforementioned products , it does gives those who enters a clear idea of what is offered in the zone.


Focus of the Zone

Upper-class Fashion and Jewellery

Desired Color combination effect

Conveyance of Nobility and Prestige

Color Palette in decor design

Precious Metal

Metal embraces decorations of fine steel and copper and features luxury brands such as BVLGARI, Cartier, CHAUMET, DAMIANI, GUCCI,HERMÈS and Prada. The zone's interior is, in fact, a potpourri of leading European mall designs. The two-storey "indoor boulevard" of shops such as Mulberry & Tiffany & Co. and the 37m broad corridors provide a special spacious ambience for relaxed, leisurely shopping.

As the zone is orientated towards the upper class or consumerists looking for prestige and glamour in A sense of nobility and conservatism must be presented. Due to the fact that the selection of shops , people who actively approaches the region usually are willing and ready to spend . Thus the main focus on the color selection would be the atmosphere buildup.

The metal zone color palette is not as consistent as those seen in other zones, it can be split into 4 palettes , Ivory , Beige , Metallic.

For the metallic colors , namely silver and gold . Both of them conveys a sense of earthy, naturality or sleekness and elegance. They symbolizes riches, and wealth. Silver can also be used as a symbol of glamorous and distinguished achievements.

As for the Ivory , the ivory tusks of elephants have long been prized and used in jewelry and the decoration of housewares and furniture. Pearl and opal, shades of ivory, are also precious stones.

It can be seen the surface of the decors have been acid treated and the lighting is comparatively dimmer than other regions. All in all creating a calm and royal vibe to the already stunning lineup of luxury brand names. Which in the end serves the purpose to building up the atmosphere and preparing the customers for the grandeur inside the shops.


Focus of the Zone

Trendy World Fashion

Gadgets and Male-targeted perishables

Desired Color combination effect

Conveyance of Masculinity and modernity

Color Palette in decor design

Amber and Cream

Earth houses trendy world fashions in an ultimate garden setting. On ELEMENTS' Men's Street, men with taste will find not only classy fashions but also lifestyle accessories from coffee to cigars to audio-visual technology. All of which within the visual cone of those who approaches.

Although the kneejerk reaction towards such a theme would be "LETS USE BROWN!" . However ,the instinctive response may not be the one that is most appropriate. Instead , the architect has used warm buttery colors such as amber and occasionally ebony. These colors are radiant and cozy. Because warm colors seem to advance, they make small rooms appear smaller and large rooms more intimate.

On the contrary to the cooler white of the other zones . The white is Earth tends to be warmer. White has long signified purity and cleanliness, and this color still gives off these vibes today. Soft, warm whites, which will have a more yellow undertone, tend to be more relaxing than cooler whites, which will have a blue undertone. White can calm a busy space or room and give visual "breaks" in the eye, creating a sense of rest.

When we considering the goods on offer within the sector such as those of Pandora , Broadway , HUGO Boss , TOUS and more. The price range of the goods on offered tends toward the upper medium. Generally speaking ,people wouldn't actively walk into such shops to browse but instead already have a goal in mind. However , by raising the intimacy and coziness of the zone . It compels people to linger within the zone . Not just visually but as also olfactorily due to the strategic placement of coffee shops within the sector , radiating a strong aroma of freshly brewed coffee to all corners of the zone.

The main purpose of such a placement is not to arouse but to soothe . A comfortable and relaxed consumer is a consumer ready to make a purchase. Thus effectively raising the desire of consumption for the pedestrians.

Reference : http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11747-010-0245-y





Gruen Transfer

The Gruen Transfer is a psychological phenomenon which strikes people in certain environments, making them more susceptible to making impulse buys or purchases which they might regret later.

The classic signs that someone is experiencing Gruen Transfer are a dropped jaw, slightly glazed eyes, and a hazy, confused feeling; many people also begin to walk more slowly as this peculiar mental state sets in. Some psychologists have described the Gruen Transfer as an almost paralytic state, where the mind ceases to function because it is experiencing too much input.

Modern mall and store designers are well aware of the Gruen Transfer, and they deliberately create spaces which are designed to trigger this mental state, as many visitors to malls have noticed. Many malls are deliberately very difficult to navigate, with exits and routes obfuscated so that consumers often wind up back in a store when they mean to be leaving. Individual stores also have layouts which promote longer stays, and arrange enticing items very deliberately so that people are urged to pick them up on impulse.

As the Gruen transfer is incorporated as a general design philosophy instead of a part by part basis . 3 notable examples has been chosen to illustrate how this is put in practice.


The mall circular layout

Crisscrossing elevators

Central Attractions Exhibitions

Protuding exhibits

Wood zone: wood sculptures and seats, restaurants used wood as main style.

Green area for amusement facilities.

Fire zone: flaming red wall, large glass curtain wall and French windows for the customers inside can enjoy the scenes of Western Kowloon Cultural District and Victoria Harbor.

Water zone: There are 10 metallic water pipe located in the courtyard of the zone and spray water continuously. It becomes a featured spot in where lots of visitors take photos of.

Earth zone: Mainly male orientated zone