Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Interior Design

First Advisor's Name

Janine King

First Advisor's Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Philip Abbott

Third Advisor's Name

Sarah Sherman

Keywords

experiential, interior design, interior architecture, hotel design, hospitality design, meanings of place, place attachment, experience design

Date of Defense

11-9-2011

Abstract

People’s authentic sense of place is being overshadowed by less authentic experiences referred to as placelessness. Consequently, a demand for experiential interior environments has surfaced. Experiential environmental and place attachment theories suggested that the relationships between self, others, and the environment are what encourage users in creating meaningful authentic experiences. This qualitative study explored the roles of the experiential interior architectural features in affording users of hospitality environments higher-level needs, such as meanings of place. For the case study, ten participants stayed at a hotel for two nights. Participants were given a guided list of ten facets of an experience, which was insidiously structured by both experiential environmental and place attachment theories. The participants used photographs to document each of the facets on the guided list. The photos were then used during the photo elicitation interviews, which evoked additional qualitative information. Participants identified specific interior architectural features and described them using the themes associated to place attachment theories. The findings revealed that the interior architectural features might enrich the meanings a person associates with a given place. Possibly affording users higher-level needs. As a result, if an experiential interior environment allows users to foster relationships between self, others, and the physical environment, they may experience more authentic experiences and give more meanings to a place.

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