Feng Shui is an ancient system of laws which dictates spatial arrangement and orientation in relation to the flow of energy (qi), and whose favourable or unfavourable effects are taken into account when siting and designing buildings. To ensure you’re getting the most bang for your spiritual buck on that next holiday, here’s some things to look for in villa Feng Shui design:
#1 Make an Entrance
“The door handle is the handshake of the building” said Juhani Pallasmaa, but according to Feng Shui, the entire entrance is of pivotal importance for harnessing some good qi energy. Contrary to many modernist villa designs, to usher in good energy and fortune, the front door should be visibly unobstructed with a smooth, meandering path leading up to the entranceway. Squeaks are a no-no, and the colour of the door should reflect the element of the direction it is facing. The size of the front door should also be in proportion to the rest of the villa, so the bigger the villa the bigger the door. Once inside that front door, the entryway should be airy, welcoming, open, and directing qi within the house. We think Villa Saan in Phuket kind of nails it.
#2 Just Add Water
In Feng Shui, water is the symbol of wealth and prosperity, so introducing some (an infinity pool works well) is one of the easiest ways to harness some good qi. Fountains also work and amplify certain energies depending on where they are placed. Placing water in the East focuses energy on health and the family; the Southeast on wealth and money; and the North on career and path in life. A water feature in the South is ill advised as this is the direction of the fire element and creates an energy conflict. If your seeking points in the wealth and prosperity department, check out Villa Aqua in Bali which has no south facing pools (yes plural).
#3 Go Green
Because Feng Shui is all about flow, indoor/outdoor spaces are ideal, as is bringing inside live plants, fresh air, and pieces of the five elements. Full height windows, accordion doors or open-air kitchens and bathrooms help positive energy enter and negative energy leave. A bad energy trap to watch out for is that dead space above many kitchen cabinets where energy can stagnate. If you find the kitchen has this, adding some plants helps to bring new life to the space and clear the air. Let it all in at Villa Beige in Samui…oh those pivot windows!
#4 The Bathroom Sucks (Energy)
There are three main energy areas of a villa that should be considered as equal in importance: the bedroom, the kitchen, and the bathroom. The bathroom is always a challenge in Feng Shui as it is the place where energy is drained from the space. Good Feng Shui helps to mitigate this drainage. Like many tropical villas, an open-air bathroom is one of the best ways to combat drainage as it encourages flow. If the bathroom happens to be enclosed however, enhancing the water element can help, but that’s not an issue at Villa Infinity in Canggu.
#5 Sleep Right for Your Type
A fun thing to know is your Gua (or Kua) number which is based on your Chinese zodiac birth year. For guys, add the last two digits of your birth year and keep adding them together if the number is above 10. Finally, deduct that number from 10. If you windup with the number 5 it becomes Gua 2. For girls, add the last two digits of your birth year and keep adding them together if the number is above 10. Finally, add that number to 5 (and add those digits together if the number is above 10). If you windup with the number 5 it becomes Gua 8. So for example, if a guy was born in 1984, 8 + 4 = 12, 1 + 2 = 3, 10 – 3 = 7, Gua 7. Knowing one’s own Gua number will define your personal element, season, colour, energy focus and direction to avoid.
Gua 1: Element: water Season: winter Colour: black or blue Life Gua: North Direction to avoid: Southwest
Gua 2: Element: earth Season: beginning of Autumn Colour: yellow and ochre Life Gua: Southwest Direction to avoid: North
Gua 3: Element: wood Season: spring Colour: deep green Life Gua: East Direction to avoid: West
Gua 4: Element: wood Season: spring Colour: light green Life Gua: Southeast Direction to avoid: Northwest
Gua 6: Element: metal Season: autumn Colour: white and all metallic colours Life Gua: Northwest Direction to avoid: South
Gua 7: Element: metal Season: autumn Colour: white and metallic colours Life Gua: West Direction to avoid: East
Gua 8: Element: earth Season: winter Colour: yellow and ochre Life Gua: Northeast Direction to avoid: Southeast
Gua 9: Element: fire Season: summer Colour: red Life Gua: South Direction to avoid: Northwest
Much like astrological signs, a whole host of personality traits are associated with one’s Gua, and serious Feng Shui masters will get much deeper into the design of a space based on this number, including ensuring your bed faces in the optimal cardinal direction. That’s not an issue at Ani Villas in Sri Lanka, which has 12 bedrooms to choose from and all Gua numbers covered.
Whether you believe in Feng Shui or not, at its core, it just kind of makes sense for what makes a healthy atmosphere. Good light, air quality, incorporating nature and taking advantage of the outdoors are universal principals in what makes a welcoming and comfortable space.
You had me at flow.
Image credit: Main