Fake views can be good I

Western Morning News (Saturday) - - Your Home -

LUKE RIX-STAND­ING sug­gests you trans­form that blank wall with a win­dow on the world

n the modern home, we have – in many ways – em­braced the idea of fak­e­ness. Fake leather cov­ers our so­fas, our fire­places are warmed by fake fires, our win­dow sills dec­o­rated with fake pot plants.

Of course, there is a limit to what as­pects of a home can be fic­tion­alised. You can’t buy a fake fridge or wash­ing ma­chine, and you can’t fake a toi­let for, well, ob­vi­ous rea­sons.

But you can now fake a win­dow, and it’s be­com­ing in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar to do so. Here’s why – and how you can try the trend, too.

FAKE FOR PUR­POSE

Fake win­dows are ex­am­ples of ‘bio­philic de­sign’ – prod­ucts that tap into our in­nate affin­ity with the nat­u­ral world, and im­i­tate pos­i­tive stim­uli, like green­ery and nat­u­ral light.

As far back as the 1980s, stud­ies sug­gested that well-lit rooms and large win­dows tend to in­crease the wel­fare of their oc­cu­pants. While a 2014 study found that win­dow­less rooms helped con­trib­ute to stress, anx­i­ety and poor sleep­ing pat­terns.

In a poky of­fice in­te­ri­ors or dark, dis­mal base­ments, any win­dow – even a fake one – can pro­vide respite from the gloom.

Fake win­dows can brighten these rooms with trop­i­cal splen­dour, daz­zling seascapes or any wood­land of their choice. It’s not quite the same as the real thing, but they can do a sur­pris­ingly good job of echo­ing the more ex­pan­sive feel of the great out­doors.

More com­plex fake win­dows are even con­sid­ered a boon for late-stage de­men­tia. The fake ‘ex­te­rior’ can of­ten be changed at will, and this can help pa­tients feel an affin­ity with the out­side world, main­tain their sleep cy­cles, and stay con­nected with the pas­sage of time.

A WIN­DOW OF OP­POR­TU­NITY

Un­ham­pered by the need to show the ac­tual out­side, fake win­dows come in a near-in­fi­nite ar­ray of shapes, sizes and prices, from £10 posters to so­phis­ti­cated LED dis­plays worth thou­sands.

Com­pa­nies such as Icon Wall Stick­ers sell ready-made ‘win­dow posters’, de­pict­ing nat­u­ral scenes with a vis­ual depth that helps elon­gate a room. And even peo­ple that would lose a fight with a flat-pack wardrobe can knock to­gether some­thing them­selves. Just pick a pic­ture of your pre­ferred scenery and con­struct your very own made-to-or­der win­dow frame out of wood or poly­styrene.

If you’re a tal­ented artist, paint your­self a per­son­alised hori­zon, or

– if you’re not – ask some­body else to do it for you. Score ex­tra points by fash­ion­ing a set of shut­ters, and at­tach­ing them with hinges.

A MULTI-SEN­SORY EX­PE­RI­ENCE

Some man­u­fac­tur­ers have taken fake win­dows into the dig­i­tal age, and a few well-placed LEDs can il­lu­mi­nate your win­dow with a warmth akin to a sun­lit glow.

Add a con­ven­tional pair of cur­tains, and en­joy the clas­sic sun­shine-through-the-win­dow feel of a nice week­end lie-in, what­ever time you’re get­ting up

Top-of-the-range mod­els come com­plete with mov­ing back­grounds – each bab­bling brook or rustling tree closely chore­ographed to feel re­lax­ing and real. Sky In­side UK of­fers plenty of op­tions – as well as a range of sky­lights, in which slowly swirling clouds grad­u­ally give way to a hemi­sphere of stars.

Aside from its do­mes­tic clients, Sky In­side has been cater­ing to hos­pi­tals, of­fice b blocks, and even pris­ons – labyrinthine struc­tures in need of an in­jec­tion of light and tran­quil­lity. One suc­cess story in­volved a prison phar­macy – a dank and dimly-lit room which dealt reg­u­larly with in­mates in dis­tress.

Be­fore in­stal­la­tion, each in­mate would be ac­com­pa­nied by two po­lice of­fi­cers; now one of­fi­cer can es­cort mul­ti­ple prison­ers at once.

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FOR the height of win­dow­less lux­ury, keep an eye on Pana­sonic’s new pro­to­type, the +Win­dow, pic­tured above, mid-de­vel­op­ment by its Fu­ture Life Fac­tory. Prod­uct demos fea­ture light set­tings that mimic six dis­tinct weather pat­terns akin to the Hog­warts Great Hall, the sound of birds tweet­ing, and a fan cal­i­brated to recre­ate the gen­tle ca­ress of a sum­mer breeze.Just re­mem­ber to make sure you check the fore­cast be­fore you step out­side. No amount of LEDs can pro­tect you from the great Bri­tish weather.

Cheaper than mov­ing to the coun­try – or even an­other coun­try these false win­dows can give you the out­look you’ve al­ways wanted at a frac­tion of the cost This false sky­light in a surgery ceil­ing gives pa­tients some­thing cheery to fo­cus on

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