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The feng shui discipline

Live in harmony with the environment

The Feng Shui design

Feng Shui is the ancient traditional Chinese science that teaches us how to live in harmony with the environment. Deeply-rooted in Chinese culture and in Taoist philosophy, this discipline studies the flow of energy (Ch'i) in the universe and our interactions with it. For the Chinese, the Man, the Earth and Heaven are one single entity, this means that the man is inextricably linked to its environment. The Earth is the mirror of the man and their destinies are deemed in common. If the environment is in harmony with nature, man also benefits from it as well as will suffer if harmony is interrupted. The presence of feng shui in modern Asiatic cities is surprising. Long-time Asian designers with the collaboration of the expert feng shui during the various stages of the project to ensure that the building and its occupants enjoy health, prosperity and good luck. Even architects and Western companies who are called to build in Asia should refer to the principles of feng shui before a building is completed.

In an interview, architect Norman Foster recalls: "When the bank called us along with other architects, they said they would take into consideration feng shui as an important element in project evaluation. When the meeting was over, all the architects left, but we decided to stay. We agreed that we had to get our feng shui man. He designed the first project. He decided the corner of the building where we had to place the main and at least 2-story high entrance. He also set the guidelines for structural design and for the arrangement of the interiors."

The architect Ieoh Ming Pei during the construction of the Bank of China said: "I was aware of the belief of the Chinese against feng shui, but I did not seriously considered it. As soon as we made public the project, we were fiercely attacked. For example, they were against our building because it had too many sharp corners which are like the blades of a sword that would cast bad luck to the neighbors." Today, feng shui is applied to megalopolis with the same principles used in ancient time. The building, whether it is intended as a home, office or any other place of work, is analyzed in relation to the surrounding environment including access roads, right location within the lot, shape, color and interior design.

Feng Shui Etymology

Chinese architect Ieoh Ming Pei highlights the importance of feng shui when you consider that it finds its roots in "the interpretation and evaluation of nature for the location of a site and for the study of building's shape." He also states: "When you make a project in Hong Kong you have to consider feng shui. There are geomancers who advise architects where to place the building, its location within the site, the shape and the interior layout that the building must have."

The architect Paolo Portoghesi (1999): "In a mood similar to the one some Indian-American tribes have, who refused to cultivate the land not to hurt their mother, the Chinese have a sacred respect for the environment and argue that in order to introduce something new, you must avoid "to stick a thorn in his flesh" and instead design a shape that flows with the rhythm of the Earth."

Pierre Alain Crosette (1989) writes, referring to the architect Gino Valle: "The obsession with the theme for the bedrock of architecture, also fueled by the reading of Abercrombie's work on feng shui, crystallizes in a natural metaphor: the building must be born as an outgrowth of the land. According to this metaphor, the pillar becomes the most expressive constructive element which Valle understand as a pile of dirt."

Tiziano Terzani, journalist and expert of the Asian continent, gives this definition: "Feng shui means the forces of nature". Despite its magic, what is interesting in feng shui is that underlying principle: constantly reestablish the harmony of nature. For the Chinese, everything has to have a balance. The world stands, reproduces, worries and lives within the harmony between the diversity."

Sir Patrick Abercrombie (1925) writes in an article dedicated to the practice and to the experience of feng shui: "The Chinese have always regarded the farmland as their home. This is why they have always tried to harmonize human interventions with natural characteristics in order to create a new and composite landscape, a complex fusion of art with nature."

Stephen Skinner (author of Manual of Feng Shui on living in harmony with the Earth, Astrolabio, Roma, 1985): "feng shui is the art of living in harmony with the Earth and to take greater benefit, peace and prosperity from being in the right place at the right time. The feeling we experience when we "feel" a "place" as good or bad, is called feng shui by the Chinese".