Printed from the blog of Lori Greene, AHC/CDC, CCPR, FDAI
Email:, Blog: or

Nov 25 2014

Feng Shui

Category: Egress,NewsLori @ 1:31 pm Comments (4)

Red DoorTo be honest, I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about feng shui, which is an ancient art and science developed over 3,000 years ago in China.  The goal of Feng Shui is to balance the energies of a space to ensure health and good fortune.  I do know that I’m not supposed to store stuff under my bed, which  might be the reason I’m often unbalanced.

There are several door-related rules in feng shui.  A strong feng shui front door (unobstructed, well cared for, and harmonious with the building) allows good energy to enter.  The direct alignment of two doors is considered bad feng shui, because the good energy that enters through the front door can escape quickly out the back door.  Recommended door color is dependent on which direction the door is facing – red is a good color for south-facing doors.

And…inswinging doors are good feng shui.  Wait – what??

An article just came across my desk about the nightclub fire at the Ozone Disco in the Philippines.  On March 18, 1996, a fire occurred in the nightclub, killing 162 people and injuring 93.  There were about 400 people in the club when the fire began.  The emergency exit was blocked by a new building next door, and the inswinging main entrance doors trapped occupants inside.

Last week (yes – last week!), 9 people were found guilty of graft and given a 10-year prison term.  Seven were city government workers and 2 were stockholders of the company which ran the nightclub.  During the court proceedings it was revealed that the inswinging main entrance doors were thought to be good feng shui, designed to keep the money flowing in.

The Ozone Disco fire ranks #7 on NFPA’s list of Deadliest Nightclub Fires in World History.  NFPA published a case study on nightclub fires in 2006, which examines the 2003 fire at the Station Nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island as well as other nightclub fires, and highlights code changes and other recommendations that resulted.  Considering the occupant load, lighting, loud music, and possible impairment of occupants, nightclubs present major safety concerns and warrant strict attention.  Remember my own recent nightclub experience?

The moral of the story…life safety trumps feng shui.  If you’re not sure whether a door should be inswinging or outswinging, you can read about it here.

Photo: Shutterstock

4 Responses to “Feng Shui”

  1. Terry Crump says:

    Feng shui may be ancient, but it is definitely NOT science. What started out as the notion that living WITH and not AGAINST nature could be beneficial to humans and the environment seems sensible enough. But the ‘New-Agers’ have turned it into magical interior decorating that sometimes defies the laws of physics and–unfortunately in your example–the safety of a buildings’ occupants. It’s nothing more than architectural acupuncture.

  2. Lloyd says:

    Agreed, Fung Shui is not science but nor is interior design. It’s no worse working with Fung Shui practitioners than interior designers, in fact it’s harder to convince a designer that symmetrical hardware is not required for an inactive leaf in the means of egress.
    There are so many cultural traditions about doors, some day we really need to document them all.

Leave a Reply