Wellbeing is very much at the top of today’s agenda and this is inevitably focussing attention on how we use our interior spaces and the ways in which design can support physical and mental health. It has long been recognised that building layouts and interior design can greatly influence health and wellbeing, with an appreciation of the impact of natural light, air quality, acoustics and access to the natural world. However, one thing the current situation has highlighted is the benefits of community and how a sense of belonging can support mental health and resilience.
Designs for community living, whether for student accommodation, co-living for young professionals or retirement developments, aim to achieve an optimal mix of private accommodation and spaces for social interaction and physical activity. Within these different functional zones, successful designs will support wellbeing with appealing combinations of materials, lighting, colour and patterns inspired by nature and the local environment.
Above image features Natural Prime Oak VGW115T
It is well known that colour has a significant impact on mood and energy levels and designers have long made use of colour psychology to create either stimulating or calming atmospheres. Colours on the warmer side of the colour wheel, such as red, orange and yellow are inspirational and promote moods such as creativity, optimism and sociability. Meanwhile, cooler colours such as green, blue and grey are more relaxing and instil feelings of tranquillity, confidence and co-operation. Together with white for a sense of balance and freshness and black for drama and sophistication, colour choices are one of the simplest ways to incorporate wellbeing into interior designs.
Biophilic design brings natural elements into our interiors to reduce stress and anxiety. Our biological connection with nature can be brought into play with natural materials authentic to the locality, creating an inside-outside feel. Introducing materials such as wood, leather and living plants creates a relaxing visual appeal as well as providing key environmental services such as cleaning the air of toxins and breaking up straight lines for a softer ambience. Specifying products that combine an authentic look of natural materials and the practical benefits of modern materials can successfully introduce biophilic elements as well as meet technical specifications.
Above image features Savannah Oak RL23
The latest trends in biomimicry have taken biophilic design a step further, taking lessons from the ways in which nature innovates to find sustainable solutions to dynamic challenges and influencing the construction of buildings in ways that emulate the resilience of natural systems. Biomimetic designs are creating adaptive environments that can respond to the changing needs of inhabitants, using nature inspired designs with organic shapes, patterns and textures. Making full use of the latest technology innovations, users of these spaces can have control over their environment, a key factor to managing mental wellbeing.
Going forward after the pandemic, we anticipate that interiors will continue to focus on natural design but will have an increasing awareness of the interactions of individuals to create resilient communities. We will see designs that make effective use of cutting edge technology to be responsive to the needs of residents and facilitate their input into the evolution of their accommodation and communities.
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