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Tag Archives: biophilic design

How Your Office Space Impacts Employee Well-Being

Industrial Office Area (drawing) – 3d illustrationGETTY

In the last 20 years, the modern office has gone through a number of evolutions. The early 2000s saw the death of cubicle farms and the rise of open floorplans, and 2015 brought waves of ping pong and foosball tables to offices everywhere. While office trends come and go, one thing that does not change is the impact that the office environment has on employee health and wellbeing.

A quality workspace design leads to a less stressful and more productive atmosphere. It’s essential that employers take the physical work environment of their employees into consideration. Employees need to feel comfortable and calm in their physical work settings to produce their best work.

According to the Fellowes Workplace Wellness Trend Report, employees also want to work in a healthy environment. Here are some findings from the survey:

  • An overwhelming majority (87%) of workers would like their current employer to offer healthier workspace benefits, with options ranging from wellness rooms, company fitness benefits, sit-stands, healthy lunch options and ergonomic seating.
  • Interestingly, employees of younger companies are less likely (34%) to be turned down when asking for in-office benefits like sit-stand desks, than employees at established companies (42%).
  • 93% of workers in the tech industry said they would stay longer at a company who would offer healthier workspace benefits, with options ranging from wellness rooms, company fitness benefits, sit-stands, healthy lunch options and ergonomic seating.

One company, ROOM, is addressing the growing need for privacy in the workplace with their phone booth, a sound-proofed, ventilated, powered booth that can give employees a place to take a video call or get some uninterrupted time to focus on work.

“We spend almost a third of our lives in the office, and in order to find and retain top talent, it’s essential for companies to foster an environment that empowers people with the right space to work, think and collaborate naturally. Seventy percent of offices today are open plan, and the open plan layout can be fantastic. But it really needs to be implemented correctly with employee productivity and happiness in mind. From offering private rooms to take a call and quiet spaces for meditation to fun, comfortable areas that foster collaboration, it’s imperative to think about building office spaces with different environments to maximize employee wellbeing. At ROOM, we’re setting a new standard for the workplace, and we believe that our phone booth offers the perfect starting place for teams of all sizes to create a happier, healthier, and more productive work environment,” says Morten Meisner-Jensen, Co-Founder of ROOM.

Office design is such a valuable business investment; there’s even an international organization that has established requirements to create productive and comfortable indoor environments. The WELL Building Standard™ (WELL) is the premier standard for buildings, interior spaces and communities seeking to implement, validate and measure features that support and advance human health and wellness. Administered by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBITM), and certified by Green Business Certification Inc., the WELL Building Standard is the first standard that focuses on human health and wellbeing into design, construction and operations of buildings. According to the IWBITM, workplace design that considers air quality, lighting, views onto nature and the general layout of the interior can significantly impact on health, satisfaction, wellbeing and staff productivity.

The Well Building StandardINTERNATIONAL WELL BUILDING INSTITUTE

The WELL Building Standard focuses on seven concepts of building performance: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Fitness, Comfort and Mind. Even if you have no immediate plans (or the budget!) to become WELL Certified, companies can still utilize the principles to help create a healthier environment. Let’s dive in deeper and see how you can bring these concepts to your company:

Air

The quality of air within an office can have a significant impact on your employees’ health and in turn productivity. Research carried out by the World Green Building Council recorded an 11% increase in productivity as a result of increased fresh air to the workstation and a reduction in pollutants. Here are a few ways you can impact the air quality:

  • Implement a no-smoking policy
  • Develop green cleaning protocols and keep office clutter-free
  • Install air filtration systems
  • Maintain a healthy level of humidity
  • Add some office plants
  • Open windows

Water

Our brains are 73% water, so water consumption helps improve sleep quality and energy levels, as well as our ability to focus, our clarity of mind, and our awareness and alertness. This, in turn, helps us become more productive at work. Here are a few ways you can help your employees increase their water intake:

  • Provide safe drinking water
  • Install a water cooler
  • Educate employees about the benefits of drinking water
  • Host water challenges

Nourishment

We’ve all heard the saying “you are what you eat,” and this saying might be especially true in the workplace. What your employees eat fuels and powers their days at the office. If you want your employees to feel energized, focused, and productive, you’ll want them eating a nutritious, balanced diet that supplies them with the nourishment their bodies need to succeed. Encourage better eating habits and food culture with these tips:

  • Improve the availability of fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Limit access to processed foods
  • Label food clearly for food allergies
  • Improve access to good hand washing facilities
  • Make nutritional information available
  • Promote healthy food options over advertising unhealthy ones
  • Foster mindful eating – create dedicated eating spaces

Light

study conducted by the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis at Cornell showed that employees seated within 10 feet of a window reported an 84% decrease in eyestrain, headaches, and blurred vision symptoms. Here are a few ways to rethink your office lighting design:

  • Consider adding skylights
  • Control glare
  • Maximize natural lighting
  • Move big, bulky furniture that blocks sunlight 
  • Replace flickering lights
  • Layer different types of lighting in a workspace, such as ambient and task lighting

Fitness

Our bodies were made to move, not sit all day. Employees who lead an active lifestyle are likely to be more productive. Because exercise increases the blood flow to the brain, employees will get a boost of energy and alertness. This can also sharpen their concentration and decision-making skill. A few ways to encourage movement at work include offering:

  • Open and accessible stairways
  • Shower facilities
  • Bicycle storage
  • Adjustable workstations
  • Space for physical activity

Comfort

The office should be a place of comfort. The use of correct ergonomics can lessen muscle fatigue, increase productivity, and reduce the severity of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), which are the most frequently cited causes of lost work time. A few ways to create distraction-free, comfortable environments include:

  • Ergonomically crafted work areas with the ability to alternate from sitting to standing positions
  • Provide employees with different areas to work during their day
  • Limit sound from building systems and create quiet zones
  • Create breakout areas, hot desking and informal meeting areas, and creative spaces for brainstorming

Mind

The Global Impact of Biophilic Design in the Workplace study showed that people who work in spaces with natural features reported 15% higher levels of overall wellbeing. Furthermore, the respondents expressed feeling 6% more productive and 15% more creative at work. If the interior design of an office considers the occupants such as creating both breakout space and social space, improvements are found in concentration, collaboration, confidentiality and creativity. Optimize employees’ emotional health through these strategies:

  • Create collaborative spaces, as well as areas to relax and de-stress
  • Add greenery: potted plants, living walls or flower gardens
  • Design outdoor spaces (rooftop patio or staff garden)
  • Offer flexibility – give options for where and how employees want to work

The research shows how workplace design positively influences health, wellbeing, employee satisfaction, and performance. There is huge potential for improving and making a positive impact on employee wellbeing through human-centered design. By simply offering employees areas to recharge and taking their comfort into consideration, you can easily make subtle changes to improve the physical environment at your office.

Continue reading How Your Office Space Impacts Employee Well-Being

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Light-filled, sustainable office in the Netherlands produces all of its own energy

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Dutch firm Team Paul de Vroom + Sputnik has just completed work on a beautiful, light-filled office in the Netherlands. Built around an open-air patio, the Big Green Egg’s new European office is designed to foster an inspiring work environment. Additionally inspiring, however, is the building’s sustainable profile, which includes solar panels that make the building 100 percent self-sufficient, a gray water collection system, natural building materials and a large green roof.

a dark brick building with large windows lit from within at dusk

The architects worked closely with the Big Green Egg Europe team to create an office environment that was vibrant and healthy. The volume of the building is quite humble, a square, two-story volume clad in brick. However, the combination of natural building materials such as stone and wood offer a strong connection to the environment. Massive glazed facades flood the interior with natural light.

Related: A London office boasts biophilic design for a healthier, happier workplace

a dark brick building with large windows and glass entryway

interior office space with natural stone flooring

The office space generates its own electricity as well as energy for heating and air conditioning thanks to a rooftop solar array. Additionally, a green roof runs the length of the building and is installed with a rainwater collection and storage system that is used to irrigate the building’s landscaping.

interior office space with natural stone flooring and glass walls

exterior patio with large tree surrounded by natural stone flooring

At the heart of the design is the open-air central patio. This space was designed to offer employees an outdoor area for casual meetings or simply to take in some fresh air under the massive tree that sits in the middle of the space. Additionally, the patio is designed for entertaining and is the perfect place to highlight the company’s famous high-end ceramic barbecues.

office with natural stone flooring and glass walls

boardroom with felt wall and large table with chairs

On the interior, each room is tailored to a specific use but with flexible features. There is ample space for formal conferences as well as smaller offices for teamwork sessions or private phone conversations. Natural flagstone flooring runs throughout the interior to give the space continuity. The smaller rooms also have custom-made dynamic wall furniturethat provides optimal versatility depending on desired use. Within the walls, there is a pull-out desk and bench that can be extended depending on the number of seating spaces needed. To add a bit of whimsy into the interior design, there are fun animal statues throughout the space and even a boardroom wall covered in soft felt.

For More Information About This Blog Post, Click Here! 

Continue reading Light-filled, sustainable office in the Netherlands produces all of its own energy

How Your Office Space Impacts Employee Well-Being

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Industrial Office Area (drawing) – 3d illustrationGETTY

In the last 20 years, the modern office has gone through a number of evolutions. The early 2000s saw the death of cubicle farms and the rise of open floorplans, and 2015 brought waves of ping pong and foosball tables to offices everywhere. While office trends come and go, one thing that does not change is the impact that the office environment has on employee health and wellbeing.

A quality workspace design leads to a less stressful and more productive atmosphere. It’s essential that employers take the physical work environment of their employees into consideration. Employees need to feel comfortable and calm in their physical work settings to produce their best work.

According to the Fellowes Workplace Wellness Trend Report, employees also want to work in a healthy environment. Here are some findings from the survey:

  • An overwhelming majority (87%) of workers would like their current employer to offer healthier workspace benefits, with options ranging from wellness rooms, company fitness benefits, sit-stands, healthy lunch options and ergonomic seating.
  • Interestingly, employees of younger companies are less likely (34%) to be turned down when asking for in-office benefits like sit-stand desks, than employees at established companies (42%).
  • 93% of workers in the tech industry said they would stay longer at a company who would offer healthier workspace benefits, with options ranging from wellness rooms, company fitness benefits, sit-stands, healthy lunch options and ergonomic seating.

One company, ROOM, is addressing the growing need for privacy in the workplace with their phone booth, a sound-proofed, ventilated, powered booth that can give employees a place to take a video call or get some uninterrupted time to focus on work.

“We spend almost a third of our lives in the office, and in order to find and retain top talent, it’s essential for companies to foster an environment that empowers people with the right space to work, think and collaborate naturally. Seventy percent of offices today are open plan, and the open plan layout can be fantastic. But it really needs to be implemented correctly with employee productivity and happiness in mind. From offering private rooms to take a call and quiet spaces for meditation to fun, comfortable areas that foster collaboration, it’s imperative to think about building office spaces with different environments to maximize employee wellbeing. At ROOM, we’re setting a new standard for the workplace, and we believe that our phone booth offers the perfect starting place for teams of all sizes to create a happier, healthier, and more productive work environment,” says Morten Meisner-Jensen, Co-Founder of ROOM.

Office design is such a valuable business investment; there’s even an international organization that has established requirements to create productive and comfortable indoor environments. The WELL Building Standard™ (WELL) is the premier standard for buildings, interior spaces and communities seeking to implement, validate and measure features that support and advance human health and wellness. Administered by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBITM), and certified by Green Business Certification Inc., the WELL Building Standard is the first standard that focuses on human health and wellbeing into design, construction and operations of buildings. According to the IWBITM, workplace design that considers air quality, lighting, views onto nature and the general layout of the interior can significantly impact on health, satisfaction, wellbeing and staff productivity.

The Well Building StandardINTERNATIONAL WELL BUILDING INSTITUTE

The WELL Building Standard focuses on seven concepts of building performance: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Fitness, Comfort and Mind. Even if you have no immediate plans (or the budget!) to become WELL Certified, companies can still utilize the principles to help create a healthier environment. Let’s dive in deeper and see how you can bring these concepts to your company:

Air

The quality of air within an office can have a significant impact on your employees’ health and in turn productivity. Research carried out by the World Green Building Council recorded an 11% increase in productivity as a result of increased fresh air to the workstation and a reduction in pollutants. Here are a few ways you can impact the air quality:

  • Implement a no-smoking policy
  • Develop green cleaning protocols and keep office clutter-free
  • Install air filtration systems
  • Maintain a healthy level of humidity
  • Add some office plants
  • Open windows

Water

Our brains are 73% water, so water consumption helps improve sleep quality and energy levels, as well as our ability to focus, our clarity of mind, and our awareness and alertness. This, in turn, helps us become more productive at work. Here are a few ways you can help your employees increase their water intake:

  • Provide safe drinking water
  • Install a water cooler
  • Educate employees about the benefits of drinking water
  • Host water challenges

Nourishment

We’ve all heard the saying “you are what you eat,” and this saying might be especially true in the workplace. What your employees eat fuels and powers their days at the office. If you want your employees to feel energized, focused, and productive, you’ll want them eating a nutritious, balanced diet that supplies them with the nourishment their bodies need to succeed. Encourage better eating habits and food culture with these tips:

  • Improve the availability of fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Limit access to processed foods
  • Label food clearly for food allergies
  • Improve access to good hand washing facilities
  • Make nutritional information available
  • Promote healthy food options over advertising unhealthy ones
  • Foster mindful eating – create dedicated eating spaces

Light

study conducted by the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis at Cornell showed that employees seated within 10 feet of a window reported an 84% decrease in eyestrain, headaches, and blurred vision symptoms. Here are a few ways to rethink your office lighting design:

  • Consider adding skylights
  • Control glare
  • Maximize natural lighting
  • Move big, bulky furniture that blocks sunlight 
  • Replace flickering lights
  • Layer different types of lighting in a workspace, such as ambient and task lighting

Fitness

Our bodies were made to move, not sit all day. Employees who lead an active lifestyle are likely to be more productive. Because exercise increases the blood flow to the brain, employees will get a boost of energy and alertness. This can also sharpen their concentration and decision-making skill. A few ways to encourage movement at work include offering:

  • Open and accessible stairways
  • Shower facilities
  • Bicycle storage
  • Adjustable workstations
  • Space for physical activity

Comfort

The office should be a place of comfort. The use of correct ergonomics can lessen muscle fatigue, increase productivity, and reduce the severity of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), which are the most frequently cited causes of lost work time. A few ways to create distraction-free, comfortable environments include:

  • Ergonomically crafted work areas with the ability to alternate from sitting to standing positions
  • Provide employees with different areas to work during their day
  • Limit sound from building systems and create quiet zones
  • Create breakout areas, hot desking and informal meeting areas, and creative spaces for brainstorming

Mind

The Global Impact of Biophilic Design in the Workplace study showed that people who work in spaces with natural features reported 15% higher levels of overall wellbeing. Furthermore, the respondents expressed feeling 6% more productive and 15% more creative at work. If the interior design of an office considers the occupants such as creating both breakout space and social space, improvements are found in concentration, collaboration, confidentiality and creativity. Optimize employees’ emotional health through these strategies:

  • Create collaborative spaces, as well as areas to relax and de-stress
  • Add greenery: potted plants, living walls or flower gardens
  • Design outdoor spaces (rooftop patio or staff garden)
  • Offer flexibility – give options for where and how employees want to work

The research shows how workplace design positively influences health, wellbeing, employee satisfaction, and performance. There is huge potential for improving and making a positive impact on employee wellbeing through human-centered design. By simply offering employees areas to recharge and taking their comfort into consideration, you can easily make subtle changes to improve the physical environment at your office.

 

Alan Kohll is the founder and president of health and wellness service provider, TotalWellness. Follow TotalWellness onLinkedIn and Twitter.

I have been working in the corporate wellness space for over 20 years. I am the founder and president of TotalWellness, a national corporate health and wellness services provider. Throughout my years at TotalWellness, I’ve developed a true passion for and expertise in all t…

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Senior Living Interior Design Evolves to Meet Boomers’ Tastes

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Over the past decade, designing for the senior living industry has changed a great deal. Much of the senior living industry has moved away from institutional features, and instead embraced upscale concepts such as destination fast casual eateries or larger living units.

That evolution in design and services has forced many interior designers to start thinking outside of the box more often, according to Dean Maddalena, president of studioSIX5, and LuAnn Holec, principal of Thoma-Holec Design.

“Well-traveled, tech-savvy, affluent baby boomers will choose communities that target their goals and dreams and demonstrate flexibility to keep the lifestyle current and interesting,” Holec told Senior Housing News. “Interiors will need to reflect the diversity of this group, and provide a multitude of amenities that offer convenience, challenge and extreme comfort.”

Top design trends

More senior living providers these days are moving away from especially trendy designs that might become obsolete in a few years, according to Maddalena. Themed interiors, such as communities made to look like Tuscan villas, are outdated, he said. Instead, more developers might start to embrace “destination” designs, where each space looks different than the rest of those in the community.

“The restaurant can be very different than the theater, which can be very different than the game rooms and wellness areas,” Maddalena told SHN.

It may soon become commonplace in senior living to see a wider variety of dining venues, for example—and not just bistros or pubs. Steakhouses, whiskey and martini bars, sushi joints, Italian grottos, artisan ice cream shops, delis and patisseries are just a few examples of that budding trend.

“Residents want choices … and we attempt to provide it for them by creating several unique dining venues within a community,” Holec said. “The number of venues is irrelevant to the size of the community. It doesn’t have to be a large campus or a life plan community.”

While natural-looking designs are also trending in senior living interiors, those designs may or may not include synthetic materials. Manufacturers are releasing better-looking, more durable materials that meet providers’ moisture-proof and antimicrobial needs, for instance. Smart fabrics and flooring are also gaining steam in senior living.

“Mother nature is the greatest designer, but you can provide that design with alternate materials that are more affordable and durable,” Maddalena explained. “More and more [senior living communities] are utilizing luxury vinyl tile in apartments in lieu of carpet … and people can’t tell if it is real wood or not.”

Similarly, natural patterns and color blocking are popular, along with solid textures.

Rockwood South Hill, a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) in Spokane, Washington, that won a 2016 design award for best repositioning, exemplifies this design trend. The community’s design includes natural-looking materials and fabrics, with shapes and patterns evocative of nature, such as leaves or fractals. The project is meant to evoke a “biophilic” design, another trend that is gaining favor among senior living designers.

“I see the future involving biophilic principals that promote healing by incorporating nature in a more scientific way to urban environments,” Holec said.

Regional colors will continue to reign supreme among senior living providers, with neutral designs getting warmer in color in the near future.

“They provide a cheerful, upbeat environment for seniors as long as they are used carefully,” Maddalena said. “But the aging eye will always cast a yellow tint on colors, so you have to be careful that the colors you use do not muddy out.”

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White cabinetry, coordinated with gray or silver paint colors and finishes, are also becoming more common in senior living. Many new projects and renovations incorporate neutral base palettes with pops of dramatic jewel tone colors, Holec noted.

“Specific design trends include the use of neutral, lighter color palettes that appear lighter and cleaner. When accented with jewel tone pillows and accessories, the spaces feel fresh and airy,” she added. “Incorporating natural finishes to represent the outdoors helps us bring the outside in as much as we can.”

Rosemark at Mayfair Park, a community near Denver that won a 2016 Senior Housing News Design Award for assisted living design, incorporates bold, botanical colors, both for aesthetic reasons and because the colors can help guide seniors living with vision challenges. Specifically, the community uses blues and greens with pops of color throughout the campus in order to create a lively, bright environment.

Bringing new interior designs to life won’t always be easy, given the current economic climate. The rising cost of building materials and labor will force interior designers to come up with senior living environments that don’t rely heavily on expensive materials or furnishings, for one.

“This will be a challenge to continue to meet the baby boomers’ desire for increased amenities and high level of finishes,” Holec said. “Due to the current climate of uncertainty with projected tariffs on overseas products and materials, this could change our industry in the near and distant future.”

Transformational technology 

Many new technology trends also have the potential to change the way senior living communities are designed.

For instance, Lennar—one of the largest homebuilders in the U.S.—is partnering with online retail giant Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) on “Wi-Fi certified” home and active adult community designs that allow residents to control their lights, front door locks and thermostats by talking to Amazon Alexa.

At the same time, many senior living providers are also experimenting with the voice-activated devices. Senior housing provider Front Porch recently completed a pilot programinvolving Amazon Echo devices at a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) in Carlsbad, California. And Ascension Living, the senior services arm of St. Louis-based health system Ascension, is ramping up its own use of Amazon Echo devices after two successful pilots.

In the future, this integration of Alexa or other voice-activated technology could force interior designers to plan rooms differently.

“This will not only support a smart-home system, but also possibly safety features and other unknown future inventions,” Maddalena said.

“Tuneable” LED interior lighting that can change colors based on the time of day is another trend that could influence senior living interior design. Those lights would mimic sunrise or sunset times throughout the year, and help encourage better sleep habits among residents.

On-demand delivery for food or groceries and ride-sharing apps are two other technology trends that could also change senior living community interiors. Overall, designers will need to embrace concepts that help residents use services that lie outside of the communities in which they live, and that help bring more people inside the community.

“Common spaces will need to accommodate the residents and members of the surrounding community,” Maddalena said. “We believe senior communities will become more outward-looking, and will need to appeal to multiple generations.”

Written by Tim Regan

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PHOTO CREDIT:

  • Dining area at The Ridge in Salt Lake City: studioSIX5

Continue reading Senior Living Interior Design Evolves to Meet Boomers’ Tastes

More Buildings Are Going Green. Literally.

‘Biophilic’ designs incorporate elements of nature both outside and inside. It’s aesthetically pleasing—and makes people feel, and perform, better.

The Bosco Verticale apartment towers in Milan have about 800 trees on their staggered terraces. DAVIDE PIRAS/STEFANO BOERI ARCHITETTI

  • Most people, when they think of “green” buildings, take that to mean structures built with energy conservation in mind. But, increasingly, buildings are becoming literally green, as cities and companies around the world embrace biophilic design—the concept of surrounding buildings with nature, even on their upper floors, and bringing the outdoors indoors by including natural elements in their interior design.

    Planted terraces that wrap around buildings, indoor man-made water features such as ponds and waterfalls, plantings…

    Continue reading More Buildings Are Going Green. Literally.

    Biophilic hotel design is going mainstream

    Michael J. BerensTuesday, November 20, 2018

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    Biophilic hotel design is going mainstream

    Beachfront properties, mountain lake resorts, luxury forest cabins, jungle hideaways, atrium lobbies — the hospitality industry has long known the value of attracting visitors with views of nature.

    Recently, though, more hotels and hotel designers have been employing principles of biophilia to enhance guests’ connection to nature within their properties. What once seemed just an extension of eco-design is fast becoming a must-have feature to compete for the custom of discerning travelers.

    Briefly defined, the term “biophilia” refers to our innate connection to nature. Although many of us live and go about our daily activities in highly artificial environments, deep down we feel most at home in the natural world.

    Given the option, we will choose an environment with natural elements over one that lacks them. Moreover, we respond to spaces positively or negatively depending on whether we feel vulnerable or protected, as we would in nature.

    In practice, designers instinctively have always drawn on nature as a source and reference for their designs. Biophilic design is a more conscientious, broader and evidence-based application of those natural principles to the built environment.

    It includes the use of natural materials, natural colors, plants, daylighting, nature-replicating artificial lighting (e.g., circadian rhythm), access to and views of nature, prospects, and partitioned or refuge spaces, as well the siting of the property within or with views to impressive natural surroundings.

    As a design approach, biophilia is well-suited to the hospitality industry for several reasons. Guests are attracted to properties with proximity to or views of nature, especially bodies of water. Many of today’s travelers, especially millennials, seek out eco-friendly hotels, and biophilic design expresses in a very concrete way a property’s commitment to the environment and sustainability.

    Done well, it also adds to delivering a unique or memorable guest experience. And with health and wellness being very much on the mind of today’s travelers, biophilic design incorporates natural elements shown to have positive health effects, such as easing tension, reducing stress, and promoting a positive mood.

    An outgrowth of eco and green design, biophilic design has been growing in popularity among hotels, resorts and spas for the past several years. It got a big boost last year, however, when a study conducted by Terrapin Bright Green, Interface and Gensler, entitled “Biophilic Design in the Hospitality Industry,” concluded that among its other benefits, biophilic design was proving to be a “differentiator in the marketplace.”

    The study found that properties incorporating biophilic design could charge significantly more for otherwise similarly outfitted guest rooms, had higher rates of guest use of hotel spaces and facilities (such as lobbies, bars and restaurants), high levels of guest satisfaction, and strong marketing presence on online booking sites and traveler review sites, like Trip Advisor.

    The hotel industry has since taken notice. Two recent articles, one on Hospitality Net and the other for Hotel Management, have cited the study’s findings while promoting both the financial and wellness benefits of biophilic design. Within the past year, more A&D and travel-oriented websites and blogs have reported on the trend, as well.

    The authors of the study comment that given the overwhelming positive response from guests one might expect that more properties would be incorporating aspects of biophilic design than the researchers actually found. They speculate that perhaps limitations of space, location or budget might be the reason.

    It’s worth noting, therefore, that biophilic design is quite scalable. It can begin with something as basic as adapting existing spaces through the use of natural colors, materials, plants, and water features.

    Given the large proportion of properties that likely will be trying to catch up to this trend, it seems like a great opportunity for hospitality designers to offer their services to benefit their clients and their clients’ customers.

    Continue reading Biophilic hotel design is going mainstream

    How Design Can Impact Health Outcomes and Serve the Whole Patient

    Many have begun asking why we only consider health and wellbeing when someone is sick—rather than preventing symptoms before they turn into chronic problems. Wellness can be approached from a number of angles, from strategic facility planning,  and architectural medical planning to interior design and nursing operations. Further, exploring the joint influence of holistic health design and design centered on our love for nature can help those who design healthcare facilities better serve the whole person.

    Recognizing and reducing stressors through savvy design

    In a healthcare setting, a patient is exposed to environmental and social stressors. These stressors can affect heart rate and blood pressure—two key health indicators that clinicians consistently monitor. However, stressors extend beyond the patient, and healthcare interior designers work to reduce pain points within a healthcare environment for caregivers and families alike.

    One way designers can accomplish a sense of serenity in healthcare spaces is by improving access to nature, creating positive distractions, encouraging social support, and providing a sense of control. At the Oklahoma University Medical Center Perkins+Will created access to daylight and positive distraction through specifying floor-to ceiling windows with the additional advantage of locating the bathroom in each patient room. Beyond these environmental improvements, health systems should also promote patient customization for a better experience—be it through lighting controls or even how they are able to order their meals. Social support is crucial to reducing stress: at OUMC, strategically-placed waiting spaces, nourishment, and consultation pods in close proximity to patient treatment areas increase family connectivity.

    Salutogenic design vs biophilic design in supporting the well-being of a community

    Biophilic design is centered around the inherent human affinity for nature and how we respond to material choice or lighting design, among other product specifications. At OUMC, for example, the wall that patients face in their hospital room features a wood-look material, providing a positive distraction for the individual through perceived access to nature.

    Salutogenesis is more impactful in the built environment because the focus pertains more to the individual’s whole health, as opposed to disease management. In medicine, a great deal of time is spent responding to effects of disease, whereas focusing on wellness in a preventative capacity allows us to hone in on the fundamental origins of health. One key element of salutogenic design is that it doesn’t render a singular, universal solution. As architects and designers, we are responsible for molding a facility’s programmatic requirements to align with our client’s unique vision, encompassing a variety of solutions for wellbeing. Today, we are seeing facilities embrace salutogenesis in healthcare design by programming publicly-accessible spaces in various applications, including classrooms and education spaces, fitness centers, outdoor recreation areas, health spas, healing gardens, training kitchens, and healthy cafes. Outpatient facilities conveniently located in mixed-use developments through retail clinics and pharmacies are also trending. All of these strategies contribute to the well-being of the community at large through access, education, and innovative application.

    Wellness across all aspects of healthcare environments

    Wellness, at its core, is interdisciplinary and goes beyond the traditional healthcare facility—as this is an evolving model. Previously, architects and designers were creating healthcare facilities for functionality alone: the transport of materials, access to supplies, location of staff, etc. If we shift our focus to the individual person, the patient, and how they experience a space, we can provide meaningful steps beyond basic human needs toward a supportive environment. For example, tunable lighting in NICU or pediatric units can counteract lack of exposure to natural light. Why not apply this collectively to all patient care areas? The built environment shouldn’t exacerbate the physiological response to stress.

    This concept can be applied to the entire healthcare environment. Caregivers and staff routinely put patients’ needs before their own. By building in a supportive environment for all, we can help counteract those clinical uncertainties that often negatively affect the wellbeing of staff. This reinforces the idea that encouraging wellness through design must be multifaceted, considering program inclusion, responsible material choice, orientation, and responsiveness to nature. In order to impact a community’s overall health, it must also be convenient and accessible.

    The converging perspectives of healthcare design have made massive strides in improving environments for patients and staff, and it is heartening to see the industry striving together.

    Authors:

    Whitney Hendrickson, RN, CPN, RID, EDAC, Interior Designer/Registered Nurse, Perkins+Will

    Rachael Farrell, EDAC, CSSGB, LEED Green Associate, Medical Planner, Perkins+Will

    Nicki Estes, RID, EDAC, LEED AP ID+C, ASID, Interior Technical Coordinator, Perkins+Will

    Ashley Dias, Master Planner/Architect, AIA, ACHE, EDAC, LEED AP, Perkins+Will

    Continue reading How Design Can Impact Health Outcomes and Serve the Whole Patient

    WHAT’S UP WITH PINEAPPLES AND PALM MOTIFS?

    posted on 05/07/2018 By Kadie Yale

    While not overwhelming, particular palm motifs consistently poked their head out from around booths during this year’s HD Expo, mirroring the notifications we receive in the form of press releases: palm fronds, abstracted and repeating, have continued to be used in the industry, particularly in the hospitality market.

    Updated to match current trends, the use of palms has a very direct relation to the historic use of pineapples in American design. But why does the now-somewhat-kitschy use of pineapples and other lush tropical vegetation continue to be prevalent in American design, and what does it mean for contemporary interiors?

    Interestingly, pineapples are one of the design staples brought over to the colonies from England. The fruit is said to have been brought back to Europe during Christopher Columbus’ second voyage, and its many versions–from candied to jam–became a must-have in the upper echelons of society. However, access to raw and unprocessed pineapple was a luxury even those at the top of the class structure could hardly get ahold of.

    Transporting the fruit in time meant it had to be shipped on the quickest boats in the fleet, and few were able to make it before turning. Therefore, it became a status symbol to be able to have the fresh fruit. Even King Charles II commissioned a portrait with a pineapple in-hand. While transportation became easier along the North American seaboard as the colonies expanded, pineapples were still a costly commodity; they quickly became a preferred high-society hostess gift, thereby cementing its on-going legacy as a symbol of hospitality.

    While pineapple motifs are still used, they somewhat lost their luster in the mid-20th century when technology and materiality allowed them to be incorporated into the growing middle class through goods like wallpaper and clothing textiles. The fruit took off in popular culture, due heavily to Hawai’i becoming a state on August 21, 1959. In the same ways that America saw Egyptian motifs in the 1920s after the discovery of King Tut or Japanese-influenced design in the mid-19th century, the welcoming of Hawai’i to the United States became exoticized.

    A LONG HISTORY OF PINEAPPLE MOTIFS

    Today, information can be easily found on the history of pineapple motifs in interior design, but for the most part, their use has continued more often because of the mid-20th-century inspiration. Ask an interior designer why they’ve chosen to use tropical foliage or a manufacturer why it’s entered their line, and the answers are typically in response to the fun aesthetic and relaxing aura pineapple and palms give off.

    It’s an easy connection to say that pineapple icons evolved into the use of other tropical plants in decor, but I believe we can take it one step further to interweave the current importance of health and wellness into the reemergence of tropical prints.

    As clients and end-users become more familiar with biomimicry and biophilic design, interior designers are searching for ways to bring nature indoors. With nature-inspired design on the rise, florals were reintroduced into interiors, but while pineapples mostly harken back to images of a 50’s father in a Hawaiian t-shirt next to the grill in a newly-developed suburb, florals have a tradition of easily crossing the line into appearing matronly (most likely due to gender bias, but that topic deserves its own article). Companies such as Tarkett have been able to release floral products in recent years, but they come alongside more abstracted designs to tone down the flower patterns.

    PALM MOTIFS & FLOWERS

    Working with flowers, and working with flowers well is a special skill few possess.

    Tropical motifs, however, haven’t had the same type of gender bias that flowers have. The historical tie-in to hospitality may not be as direct as it was in the past, but the image of palms, pineapples, and birds of paradise still inspire the feeling of luxury, relaxation, and getting away from it all. Eliciting these emotions while also pulling in biophilic design principals packages the whole aesthetic into the perfect “Wish you were here!” statement.

    Two notable instances during the HD Expo show were the use of more mid-century design and repeat by Innovations, and an abstracted block-print-like design by Fil Doux. In particular, these two examples show the main ways in which interior designers are using tropical greenery: in traditional, realistic ways (Innovations), or by breaking down the pattern to only its geometric elements (Fil Doux).

    Designers can expect to continue to see pineapples, palms, and more tropically-integrated products in the coming years. While they may not take center-stage or be the highlight of the collection, they will continue to emerge.

    For More Information About This Blog Post, Click Here! 

    How Biophilic Design Helps Bancroft’s Autistic Students

    How Biophilic Design Helps Bancroft’s Autistic Students

    MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. — Connecting students to the natural world can prove therapeutic, especially to those with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). This is where biophilic design can make a positive impact on students’ experience and why it was the guiding philosophy behind the recently opened 80-acre, $75 million, New Jersey-based Raymond and Joanne Welsh Bancroft Mount Laurel campus.

    Continue reading How Biophilic Design Helps Bancroft’s Autistic Students

    Cement — technically, concrete — is the next cool touch in interior design

    • By Todd von Kampen// World-Herald correspondent
    • 0
    Cement — technically, concrete — the next cool touch in interior design
    A student-staffed design lab led by Min | Day used design features and materials to complement concrete in the reception area of the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts.

    MICHAEL SINCLAIR

     

    Even as office-design experts tout a “green” resurgence in today’s workspaces — in plant life and environmental sustainability — the next trend already is on its way.

    Green and living, it is not.

    In writing last August about the “Hottest Office Design Trends of 2018,” an Ambius.com blogger took note of a “Cement Everything” trend gaining steam since 2016, even as plant- and sunlight-friendly “biophilic design” reigns supreme.

     

    “No longer relegated to the outdoors, you’ll find cement in homes, restaurants, offices and just about anywhere and everywhere these days,” wrote Zack Sterkenberg. “Traditionally non-cement features such as floors, countertops, plant containers, sinks and shelving are now being built and intricately designed using cement and inlaid with wood, stonework or even paint.”

    In singing the praises of cement, the major ingredient in concrete, Sterkenberg called attention to its “simple, minimalist aesthetic, clean and smooth lines, well-documented toughness and surprising versatility.”

    To be scientifically accurate, this “cement” aesthetic ought to be called “concrete,” said Dana Vaux, director of the interior design program at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

    No matter the name, she added, the trend is reminiscent of Bauhaus design, which emerged after World War I, and the more current mid-century modern movement.

    Pairing concrete walls and floors with green plants and neutral colors to break up the light color of the concrete promotes what Sterkenberg called “a stunning juxtaposition that stands out as modern and industrial.”

    Reliance on concrete has two important drawbacks in light of the push for more comfortable and healthful workplaces, noted Vaux and Nanci Stephenson, interior design program coordinator at Metropolitan Community College in Omaha.

    “A concrete floor is very durable and long-lasting,” Vaux said.

    But given the present-day emergence of stand-or-sit workstations, “if you’re standing for long periods of time, it’s a problem.”

    If offices have concrete walls and floors, “the acoustics really suffer,” Stephenson added.

     
     
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