Bad vibes banished in the blueprints

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The Independent Online
ARCHITECTS and designers are increasingly turning to the ancient art of feng shui when creating new buildings, to improve the productivity of both workers and business, writes Colin Blackstock.

The practice, based on ancient oriental teachings which seek to balance the flow of energy around us, is growing in the UK, following its widespread use in the US. Previously applied in the home, it is now being expanded to mirror its uses in the East, where for thousands of years it has been employed to improve life and general well-being, both at home and work.

It is becoming so popular that architects and designers are beginning to develop buildings using a feng shui consultant, who helps to plan the layout of the project. This summer, the first such hotel will be opened in London. Designed by the CD Partnership, Sir Terence Conran's architecture and design company, it uses the skills of feng shui expert William Spear to create a "calm and tranquil" atmosphere.

A spokeswoman for the hotel said: "A lot of people call feng shui experts in, but William Spear is being called in on every aspect of the hotel. He goes much deeper in using feng shui than most people do."

Thomas Saunders, an architect involved in the design of a new office for Hiscox insurance underwriters, said: "The chairman wanted to try to eliminate all the negative energy that is created in buildings by things like electromagnetic fields, and avoid sick building syndrome which is linked to man-made fibres. All these things are being dealt with in the new building to get the best working environment. Part of the process is to design it along the principles of feng shui."

The success of feng shui has been highlighted by the launch of a new magazine, Feng Shui for Modern Living. The first issue sold more than 170,000 copies, far exceeding publisher Stephen Skinner's hopes. He puts the success down mostly to people interested in making changes in their own homes, but acknowledges the inroads feng shui is making into the business world.