Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts


Interior Design

First Advisor

Roberto Ventura

Second Advisor

Kristin Carleton

Third Advisor

Sara Reed


With emerging technologies in the 21st century, Millennial and Gen Z adults have a complicated relationship with these new technologies when it comes to creating and sustaining personal relationships (Dalessandro, 2018). When persons aged 18-35 forged new relationships without the presence of technology, relationships were more organic, natural, and led to less conflicts. Neuroimaging of the brain has also shown that neurocognitive development during early adolescence and adulthood contributes to self-consciousness and vulnerability. Adolescents are called to develop their own identity separate from their parents and understanding how others are actually evaluating them (Sebastian, 2008)

Brene Brown states that most Millennials have never learned how to have emotional conversations or how to talk about failure. Due to this generation’s increasing exposure to technology as a form of communication, face-to-face conversations have become sometimes awkward and intense (Brown, 2018). In the age of digital technology, adults state that technology may inhibit their ability to find their true selves and desires. This critical need for young Millennials and Gen Z adults to be open about their successes, failures, and disappointments, is increasing as technology continues to grow in society’s lifestyle. Brown’s research into the power of vulnerability has continued to show that people require connection in their life. The fear of disconnection comes from shame and unworthiness, but one’s acceptance of vulnerability and failure may lead to creativity, joy, belonging, and love (Brown, 2010). This leads the question of how can interiors facilitate self-reflection and identity through thoughtful intergenerational collaboration?

An assortment of literary sources, interviews, and case studies has been researched to further understand the complexity of self-reflection and. Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brene Brown was read to expand knowledge on the process and importance of self-identity. Brene Brown’s extensive research into shame, vulnerability, and confidence is further researched to learn more into human behavior and human empathy. Interviews conducted with college art students provide insight into their habits that aid or lack in their aid of self-reflection.

Ovetta Sampson, design researcher and human-centered design professor, implements a “personal point of view statement” in which she promotes the philosophy of design, impacts of design, and the personal goals of each designer (Taylor, 2020). The use of strategic written prompts transforms students’ thoughts from being seen as only a contracted designer to “shapers of worlds.” Self-exploration enables people to find their true values and passions by investigating within themselves through critical judgments and validation through actions taken in their lives.

For emerging young adults, technology has become a necessary staple in the 21st century. The increased use in technology has caused a decrease in genuine, organic personal relationships and difficulty in finding one’s “true” identity (Dalessandro, 2018). This research explores how interior design can foster self-reflection and self-awareness in the fast-paced world of technology. Designing for specifically Millennial and Gen Z generations, this project investigates how interiors can facilitate meaningful, thoughtful conversations between one’s self and between generations.


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