The Architecture and Interior Design of various Asian cultures

Architecture Apr 5, 2021

Today I wanted to jump back in time and take a look at some magnificent architectural and interior elements of the various Asian cultures. For those of us in the West, we are often surrounded by minimalist styles of clean cut lines, and reduction of ornamentation in the name of frivolousness. So, I wanted to take this opportunity to appreciate all the wonders of these buildings that poured energy and soul into the details.

A quick history on the relationship between Architecture and Interior Design

Architecture and interior design have always been inextricably linked. In fact, prior to the 20th century, if you were an architect you were typically in charge of designing both the exterior and interior of a building! The first uses of "interior designer" came about in the early 1900s, with increasing evolution and definition of the new role.

These days, there is a more clear delineations between their roles and responsibilities. Architects are typically concerned with the science and engineering of building construction, site plans, weatherproofing, structural design and stability, and the likes. Interior designers construct the interior experience thinking about furnishing, materials, floor and wall coverings, and lighting. Where the two come together and require collaboration is in defining design decisions impacting building structure such as floorplans, elevations design, and electrical and plumbing pathways.

As a product designer, I have felt a parallel between the relationship of architects and interior designers, to the relationship of designers and engineers: though you may each handle a distinct part of the process, neither can succeed without tight collaboration.

Now, let's take a quick trip through Asia!

East Asia

Exteriors: Hip-and-gable roofed temples

Byodo-in Temple in Japan

Interiors: Tranquil interiors designed with a practice of Fen Shui in mind.

Southeast Asia

Exteriors: Khmer and Buddhist inspired temples

Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia

Interiors: Richly colored interiors, drawn to nature

South Asia

Exteriors: Domed top exteriors

Interiors: Decor using natural materials and earthy colors

West Asia

Exterior: Archways and domed tops

Interiors: Geometric patterns and bold colors

Central Asia

Exteriors: Highly detailed and blue-toned exterior artwork

Interiors: Showcasing of beautiful textiles, and low to ground seating

Pacific Islander

Exteriors: Multi-culturally influenced architecture

Interiors: Spaciousness and openness of indoor spaces

...and many more...

It would take a much longer article to do all the design variations, nuances, and subcultures justice, but hopefully this was a good introduction.


Great! You've successfully subscribed.
Great! Next, complete checkout for full access.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.