Unmasking the 3 Marks of Existence

Unmasking the 3 Marks of Existence

Not a day goes by that I don’t get asked the million dollar question,
‘What is 3 Marks of Existence and how does it apply to interior design?’

Simple question right? Well not necessarily since the three marks of existence are steeped in Buddhist history and teachings.

The three marks of existence is not an idea or theory you have to believe in. Rather, it is a way to explore yourself and everything around you.

In Buddhism the 3 Marks of Existence are three attributes  shared by all conscious beings.

1. Impermanence
2. Discomfort or dissatisfaction
3. Selflessness “egolessness”

Recognition of these three attributes is part of wisdom. Buddha believes that once you have completely understood these three characteristics, you reach a state of transcendence known as nirvana or enlightenment; the final goal of Buddhism.


Impermanence is simply the fact that everything is conditioned to change. All as we know it is dependent on other things for continued existence, whether it is a tree, a flowing river, the weather or life itself.

How does this apply to interior design?

In interior design the client is aware that their environments need to modify in order to keep up with their needs and desires.

Whether it is a refurbishment or new build, a client needs to make decisions in order for a project to develop.

Once the client has recognized that change is inevitable in order to move forward, an interior designer becomes appointed.


What leads to impermanence is a sense of dis-ease or dissatisfaction. Many of us spend a lot of time trying to avoid suffering instead of accepting its inevitability in life. By doing this we create unnecessary suffering for ourselves. Once we recognize that our suffering can be relieved by change, we begin to take a more active approach towards bettering our well being.

As interior designers we notice that clients require our assistance once they realise they are dejected with their existing surroundings or confused with the direction their new development is heading. Once they have comprehended that their distress can be removed by appointing a designer, their suffering begins to dissipate.

Removing the “Self”

As Interior Designers we need be attentive to our clients budget and requirements without compromising their vision. This can only be achieved by removing our ego from a project when crafting an interior. By doing so we can create unique environments that are influenced by our extensive knowledge in design without compromising on the clients individual flavour. By removing our own personal style and focusing on that of our clients we can complete a detailed space they can proudly call their own.


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