Mr. Grey, an interior designer specialized in “happy kitchens”-a design philosophy that focuses on bringing emotional, physical and psychological well-being into kitchen planning- explains: Mood-enhancing décor—color, textures, shapes and art—are essential finishing touches; luxurious materials like Carrera marble, oiled oak and Ancaster stone are de rigeur, adds the designer. Custom-made cabinets are curved at a precise radius—where possible, a table should “follow the sun’s arc.” Design faux pas are anything that induces feelings of stress. Sharp corners, a hemmed-in work surface, or jutting cupboards can all trigger the release of cortisol, a hormone related to panic.
John Ziesel, a San Diego-based neuroscientist at the Salk Institute, meanwhile, is researching what he refers to as measurement-based design, which shows how spaces can shape our behavior. He uses everything from hormone studies, brain scans and targeted psychological experiments to foster his research. “A kitchen is a space loaded with emotional and behavioral cues,” he says. “Neuroscience can help us understand what goes on behind the shiny surfaces and layout of kitchen cabinetry.”
He points to the increasing reliance on neuroscience as a happiness index in politics, education and the workplace. “Academics and politicians alike increasingly emphasize the value of the happiness quotient,” Mr. Ziesel says. “Our surroundings inevitably impact our well-being, and the kitchen, where most of us spend most of our time, should induce those primitive feelings of sociability and comfort.” for more source