Wellness Design: Biophilia, Living-In-Place, and More!
“Wellness” is a popular new buzzword that’s spurring a mainstream appreciation and desire for green design, sustainable products, and non-toxic manufacturing.Clients today care a great deal about the materials that make up their mattresses and what gasses are omitted from them. And rightly so. After all, we spend one-third of our lives in bed! Consumers today also frequently ask questions about the sustainability of the forests their wood cabinetry comes from, or the glues used to create them. There is an increasing demand for interior designers to incorporate biophilic design concepts into their spaces, as well.
What is Biophilia?
Biophilia as a concept originated in the writings of Harvard biologist, E.O. Wilson, in 1984. It revolves around the idea that people instinctively yearn for connection to the natural world. It’s more than having houseplants on the kitchen windowsill. Biophilia includes all the materials we incorporate into our environments, colors we decorate with, and the shapes of the architecture around us that help to establish, not just physical, but also psychological and emotional connection to the natural world, as well. First adopted by hospitals and other healing environments, aiming to speed healing by adding gardens and increasing sunlight and views of nature in art, it has since expanded to corporate America and residential homes in recent years.
How Biophilia Fits Into Wellness Design
All of this, and much more, falls under the subheading of “wellness” as we design spaces moving further and further into the 21st Century. While millennials continue to appreciate biophilic design elements for themselves and their young families, the Baby Boomer generation is well-positioned to integrate elements of aging-in-place and living-in-place design – all under the heading of “wellness," too. Remember, safer homes benefit everyone, not just those who require crutches or a wheelchair.
As we all continue to age (with about 1% of baby boomers hitting age 65 each month), multi-generational living is coming up on wish lists of homeowners more often. Making the home beautiful, safe, and accessible for everyone in the family, regardless of age or ability, is becoming a forefront of wellness design. So much so that the building industry has dubbed it the “new definition of luxury”.
Wellness design in high-end new construction continues to gain popularity from coast to coast. Continued confidence in the safety of our home environments is becoming a necessity, making it just as important to the renovation of existing homes. It simply makes sense to create a design that can serve not just for today, but into the foreseeable future and adapt to a family’s changing needs.
Incorporating a steam shower system into your new home, or bath remodel, creates a wellness experience that goes beyond just relaxation. It has potential benefits for the whole family; having access to a steam shower in our master bathroom, for example, gives us an opportunity to detoxify, relax, recover from a head cold, clear skin blemishes and reduce allergy effects – a wellness bonanza!
As a matter of course, wellness design must be customized to the needs and wants of individual clients and projects. Some may value steam showers paired with chromatherapy while others may require sustainably sourced wood, free from harmful chemicals. For others, Feng Shui design and the flow of positive energy through precise furniture placement and a connection to nature may be a priority. The key is always communication and execution.
Being able to help clients prioritize and achieve what matters to them most is the real definition of luxury in 21st Century design.