Design -- General
Path to inspiration
Good Time to All,
I am not sure if this was a question that I kept in my subconscious, or if it was on the pages of Archnet...but the reason it came to me again was a question an interior designer brought to the round table discussion in the school I go to.

There were architects in the meeting. Both interior designers and architects need inspiration...sometimes more than others.

So, the question is: (and I don't want your answers to be out of dreams or too hypothetical)

How do you get inspiration?

Maybe just talking about an experience that you have gone through will inspire the rest of us.

I am looking forward your responses.

Zainab Nakshabandi
Path to inspiration
Inspiration is a blend of imagination and experience (both first and second hand). In essence, you can mix:-

(a)the known with a different known. (b)the known with an unknown. (c)the unknown with a different known. (d)the unknown with an unknown. :)))
Frank John Snelling
Path to inspiration
Take a stroll in a public garden to wipe the memory clean/meditate on site, constraints and functions to be incorporated keeping context clear, produce a few thumbnails, rest for some time and try to get the total concept on paper before retiring.
Dushyant Nathwani
Path to inspiration
Hi John and Dushyant,

Thanks for your responses. I think I should cancel the sentence that comes before my question and let it be an answer with the mix, dream and reality. They are truly both imagination and experience that inspire design.

This should leave a clean slate that we fly from. Now I am sure you'll have lots to talk about:)

Thanks for your great contributions.
Waiting for more.

Zainab Nakshabandi
Path to inspiration
The path to inspiration is divided between the mind, the intellect, and desire. To seek the clarity in imagination and then moulding it into form....inspiration comes from within, almost like a determined goal to be pursued. To me inspiration is when I can feel the product I am focusing on become a reality.
Shaheen Sultan Dhanji
Path to inspiration

The first part of your response is clear and very right, but what you call inspiration from within is it not called a response to inspiration. I think because of the nature of your work, being a journalism photographer, you are always in search of that great moment to shoot what makes you feel as if the inspiration is from within...great feeling. Always anticipating a different thing is by itself an inspiration. But I am talking about the inspiration that makes a poet produce that great piece, a composer of their wonderful music....a designer for an interesting and great design...

Frank, your words always have an insight in them that enlightens me, please do not hesitate to add more:)

Best Regards to all
Zainab Nakshabandi
Path to inspiration
Daniel Owen
Path to inspiration

Thanks for your posting. Muqarnas are very fascinating... definitely will keep it in mind for a future project. I bet they're a nightmare for a builder, but now I am thinking of the old artisans who made them with no blueprints, and even more about the designers who had no software!:O

Frank, just to let you know that I have put your first posting to work :) I am finalizing specifications for a courtyard design. Of course, you'll imagine terracotta tile with inlays (forgot to tell you it's for a Spanish-style home), but I thought instead to change that tile (known) because it just felt boring to repeat the same of what we know, to mix the known with unknown. Made me confirm my feeling to use Gold Noce (nice natural tough texture) instead of terracotta, with some cream color mosaics inlay. I am also using (naturally) colored mosaic tile around a arch. So, if you don't see this as a disaster, :) thanks again for that posting.

Zainab Nakshabandi
Path to inspiration
Flow of inspiration: when the intellect lets go of the dogmas of social and cultural parameters.
Ashrafali Kassam
Path to inspiration
There is no method to get inspired; it's like asking for the method to fall in love.
Shubhru Gupta
Path to inspiration

I had a BIG smile on my face when I read your words.
Very right...but poets keep finding reasons to fall in love to get inspiration:))).

Of course, a designer needs other ways, from talking to other designers, or seeing new things or even reading to get inspired. The problem happens when you get too much of these things so that it stops the magical effect on design. Not that I am at that point yet at all, in fact I am on the other corner.

People are different and so I am interested to know how different people think. I heard the saying that curiosity is the solution to boredom. There is no cure for curiosity? :))

Zainab Nakshabandi
Path to inspiration
Dear Zainab,

I did not wish to sound vain or preachy at all. Inspiration cannot be a concious effort. There has to be an element of spontaneity to it, which may be triggered by a conversation or a memory or even love!

It's also my personal feeling that you dont need inspiration to do anything and everything creative... how about that.
All the best with your search.
Shubhru Gupta
Path to inspiration

You are welcome. Can you post an image of this tiled floor?

In design terms, I paraphrase the four positions of logic (known / unknown):-

[1] A regular design on regular form.
[2] A regular design on irregular form.
[3] An irregular design on regular form.
[4] An irregular design on irregular form.

[1] An ordered design on ordered form.
[2] An ordered design on chaotic form.
[3] A chaotic design on ordered form.
[4] A chaotic design on chaotic form.

The bottom line here is that positions [1] and [4] are the extreme boundaries (Order on Order / Chaos on Chaos) and therefore are not design positions. Whereas design can be created when you use position [2] and [3].

This is a brief outline of my design theory and there is more, so if you are with me so far, I can say more.

Footnote: The Iraqi architect Basil Al-Bayati in his book on patterns, shows a similar diagram. Sadly, I have tried on and off for years to contact him, but without success.
Frank John Snelling
Path to inspiration
Intersting unfolding, at times logic-based and spontaneously magical, keep it up, everyone has a unique way to start with, what I find is that one needs to romance for idea to unfold, can we call that urge to unfold/manifest inspirational?
Dushyant Nathwani
Path to inspiration

You have a good point. Some designers are confined to "it is familiar, it's right," which I think kills imagination and is just and repetition of the same thing!
But some take this as a passport to creating something that has totally nothing to do with good taste.

I always assume good intentions unless otherwise noted :) I apologize for what my posting made you feel. I am totally open to different ideas and thoughts.

Zainab Nakshabandi
Path to inspiration
So your message is to do what you feel right, to be spontaneous. I needed confirmation - you said it clearer :)
I am feeling that my original posting may have had the wrong title, but it's good that it is making us think.

The floor has yet to be tiled, but the layout is to be "order on order," if I understand your system. The courtyard has some curves and angles. It is the color I am feeling strongly about (this is the spontaneous part!).

I'll show you some pictures of it later if you want. Now, can you tell me more about your theory? I am assuming you can use it in all aspects of design?

Zainab Nakshabandi
Path to inspiration
Inspiration can come from many directions for many different people. I feel that letting go of any concerns re: future criticism, by not trying to express one's ego, but rather by accepting one's role as the pen, then one becomes inspired.

Filled with the spirit of an idea that translates into a pure solution, these types of inspirations stand against the test of time and are often duplicated across all mediums and arts. For truly the greatest inspiration comes from recognizing the gift of creativity and its source.
Shabir Charania
Path to inspiration
I found Daniel Libeskind's words interesting: "the shape came to me as i flew over the Rockies," speaking about his Denver art museum, Colorado. For details, log on to
Dushyant Nathwani
Path to inspiration
Zainab, If you have a design which is "order on order" (probably geometric?) such a design would look like endlessly repetative patterns of wallpaper or carpet, but if you are varying / changing the colours in the design in a fluid + non-ordered way the design will come alive. :)

Yes, my design theory applies to all design. There are various concepts in my design theory. The basic concept is the tension or interplay between chaos and order. The fundamental principle is "if everything is ordered then there is nothing to compare against and similarly if everything is chaotic there is nothing to compare against. BUT, if there is a mix of both elements of chaos and and elements order then the design becomes noticable because of the contrasting differences." :))

For example: Either, you can have a background ordered design upon which you put one or more chaotic elements, or, vice versa, you can have a chaotic background upon which you put one or more ordered elements.

I could show this clearly with my most basic design diagram of the four sitations, but this is not my home computer. You could check the Archnet Forum library and ask to see a copy of my 1993 "IL" paper. :)))
Frank John Snelling
Path to inspiration
Dushyant, nice website. I added it to my favorites.

Frank, I could not get thte article in the digital library under your last name, is the forum library some thing else?
Zainab Nakshabandi
Path to inspiration
I am finding all of this conversation extremely interesting and at the same time very inspirational. I am a student of Interior Design in Toronto Canada, and I am always looking for influence and ideas. I have always found that my inspiration can come from literally anything: Looking at something, talking to someone, feeling something - physically and emotionally, dreaming, day-dreaming... the possibilities are endless. I try not to stick to one source of inspiration because I feel that if you are constantly looking to one thing for ideas, all your projects are going to turn out the same. For me, the key is diversity - keep things fresh and you will never produce the same thing twice.

I am really enjoying this discussion and this site, everyone here seems very intelligent and very focused. I have been on other discussion boards where it seems people's heads are just all over the place, however, the level of intellect here is refreshing.
Trevor Smyth
Path to inspiration

I'm a third year student in architecture and as far as I can remember, getting inspiration" and having a strong concept were always such problematic issues to me, because you never know how, you're not taught how, and there isn't a manual book for having inspiration before the deadline"!...

How to get inspiration makes me usually question myself: what do I see when I look to a building and I admire it/or hate it? How do I feel and how do I interact with what I see? And what do I expect from what I want to do (my building)?

So, this combination between your social, environmental and cultural "baggage", and what you are as an individual with all you complexity, your needs your desires, emotions, expectations, makes what you do so unique...

Karima Benbih
Path to inspiration
Zainab, Please check with Shiraz Alibhai of Archnet Forum. I did send a copy of my work and my work was posted somewhere, but this was several years ago, so maybe it has been deleted. :(

Currently, I use a a public library computer because my PC (and all of my belongings) are stranded in Turkey and I am in the UK. I do have my work on 3.5" floppy disk, but without the appropriate software I cannot access my computer backup files, either to send on the net or print.

Alternatively, try finding a copy of the 1995 publication "IL41" which are the 1993 conference proceedings for "Building with Intelligence" at Frei Otto`s "IL" (Institute for Lightweight Structures), sited on the campus of Stuttgart University, Germany. :)))
Frank John Snelling
Path to inspiration
Your living space is streaching:)) least you're somewhere safe...I hope you can return to your belongings soon!

I don't know how to get to Shiraz. I'll try the next option.

stay well..
Zainab Nakshabandi
Path to inspiration
Zainab, the topic you raised to discussion is very interesting. There are many things that we do in life involuntarily and others which strike us unexpectedly. I think that inspiration is one of these beautiful things that derives its beauty from its homogenous nature. Maybe if we try to theorize inspiration we'll be trying to grasp on something that is very undetermined.

You can be inspired by lots of things that are sometimes beyond your expectancy. A dream maybe, an image that tickles something deeply buried in your memory... It's a mysterious ray of delight that could even hit you through contemplation.

I'd like to see the tiles you mentioned. Looking forward to hear from you, regards.
Eman Lasheen
Path to inspiration
I admire your spirit's love for design and education despite what your situation!maybe,now you're in UK you can find AL-Bayati yourself. I have my ears open if I hear any thing i tried to search but all what I got so far are your attempts to contact him.

Eman...Thank you for your response...your words are interesting.

Here is the stone that made me wonder and also part of the court yard to give you a feel of the place.
Zainab Nakshabandi
Path to inspiration
here is the tile in the shape they should go on the floor.

Best Regards
Zainab Nakshabandi
Path to inspiration
Eman you know...yor words made me think about people who have a picture or experiences that are different than the clear, pure and serene experiences that you talked about. it could be not that nice that it affect their design and look to things. this could be dangerouse:)..we see some of those designs some times. and the surprising thing is that, also some, see it a nice expression:)
I like your picture better.
Zainab Nakshabandi
Path to inspiration
Zainab , thank you for posting the tiles' pics. they look nice. Ive seen people design things that are totally irrational or rather too naive claiming that it had a big inspiring story behind it. This is not what i meant to say. Although inspirational moments can occur in many unexpected ways that does not neccessarily mean they have to produce unexpected products :))This is the role of the designer and his greatest challenge, to interpret things approriately .and not to get carried off otherwise.It is dangerous as you said if the ideas are devoid of logical reasoning and are only produced through imagination , fantasy or any other form of inpiration. inspiration is only a seed not a grown up tree that can be planted just as it is.
Eman Lasheen
Path to inspiration
Inspiration is deep within our hearts.

What is beautiful to our hearts
inspires us and therefore permits us to let the Artist inside us flow.

One must be at peace with our inner self and in harmony to be able to create.

Your self esteem must be high not low.

Believe in yourself and you shall be able to find Inspiration.

One must have a conversation with our inner self and release all points of stress.

Believe in yourself and you shall find and inspiration as all Architects are Artist Unique Artist that create spaces.

If you feel you are not good enough Study on the Net seek ideas become actualize with designs and forms that have taken different shapes.

You are your inspiration.

Seek and you shall find it.

Intelligence brings Inspiration.

Relax breath in and experience the beauty of life.

Take a stroll pick a leaf from a fallen tree on Autumn delight yourself with it's colors.

Go to a creek hear the water navigating through the stones.

Hear the sounds of nature.

Hear the sound of your heart love yourself and you shall find inspiration.

Believe in your self.

You are a winner not a looser

Prof.Margarita casado Venezuela
Margarita Casado
Path to inspiration
Hello everyone,

May I add that I have found a great way and the ultimate (for me) to get inspired. Travel. You see different people, places, materials, atmosphere, everything is different. The effect is like recalculating and rebalancing the inner self. It is not quite like seeing photographs because you are there, seeing, touching,feeling.

Best regards to all...
Zainab Nakshabandi
Path to inspiration
One of the high registers,
Of the voice,
In speaking or singing,
Above chest voice,
Be aware of the existence of,
The central, innermost, or vital,
Part of something,
A state of uniform distribution,
Of energy,
Especially viewed as possible fate of,
The universe.
Serdar Anlagan
Path to inspiration
Ingeniously or ridiculously,
Over-complicated in design or construction,
In or into contact with,
The title of the,
Spritual leader of,
The Nizari sect,
Of Ismaili Muslims,
A person or thing,
That takes an active role,
Or produces a specified effect,
Having existed for,
A very long time,
Situated more or,
Less centrally in relation to,
A divine creative impulse,
Or inspiration.
Serdar Anlagan
Path to inspiration
A system or set of principles underlying,
The arrangement of elements,
In a computer or electronic device,
So as perform a specified task,
The theory that all propositions can be,
Analyzed into simple independent elements of meaning,
Corresponding to elements making up facts about the world,
A thing that is helpful or beneficial,
A curved flat piece of wood that can be thrown so as to,
Return to the thrower,
Used by Australian Aboriginals as a hunting weapon,
Deduce from evidence and reasoning rather than from explicit,
Treat with excessive kindness,
Feel a powerful desire for,

...salute Yeekee
Serdar Anlagan
Path to inspiration
Well, first thanks for the issue (A path of inspiration) you can not ever find out it because it is never had one shape.
It can be a word or music...anything in the world can inspire us, your question is like, how do you feel life?! And life is so big to feel it in just one thing.
Noha Mohsen
Path to inspiration
Noha, exactly......but how you feel life is different with each person....and it would be interesting to know all possible ways:)))...

Zainab Nakshabandi
Path to inspiration
Path to this big world there are different people with different background and different communities, different working styles, different tastes and you are looking for just a path? I feel inspiration is a start which has thousands and thousands of paths. A few get inspired by the voice, few by the touch, the smile, the vision, the cry, the light,our dreams, experience or even ourselves. Every individual has their own path for inspiration.
Deepti Goud
Path to inspiration
qoute: poets keep finding reasons to fall in love to get inspiration.

That is so true - as I find myself writing more when I think I am in love... hahaha however, that's not the same case when I am designing. mmmm

Quote: I heard the saying that curiosity is the solution to boredom. There is no cure for curiosity?

hahaha... I guess if a person is born naturally curious, the only thing that he/she will have to be aware of is that; Curiosity killed the cat.

Inspiration: a journey we search for the rest of our lives...
Maya Sanskrit
Path to inspiration
Dear Zainab,
the more you know about the world and life around you, the more you get inspired!
Example- if you don't know anything about organizational skills of bees you can't get inspired by them. Believe me , it's worth learning about it - they were inspiration for many project of mine. So - learn as much as possible about life, cultures, plants, animals etc... and you'll never be without an inspiration!
Jasna Varcakovic
Path to inspiration

One way to get inspired is by observation. It really depends what you are looking for because in my mind a designer can design just about anything. I get inspiration on concepts of building structures or 3D views or just simple patterns by studying nature. Take a closer look at a cut onion or aubergine.... visit this blog using the link below and you will know what i mean:
Omeima Beily


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