Human Spaces

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The Impact of Design on Health and Wellness

While wellness in the individual is multifactorial, signs point to a distinct link between wellness and design. As we improve the built environment with design elements that include better lighting, more fresh air and the use of materials and products that don’t leach toxic chemicals into the air, it would follow that health and well-being of the occupants should improve.

While it’s not always possible to overhaul design in one go, gradual steps can be taken to encourage the health of the employee. If collaboration is crucial to a company, then often an open office environment is ideal. However, noise can be disruptive if not downright detrimental to some and dampening sound with acoustic paneling and other sound-absorptive techniques and tools may not be sufficient. Here is where access to quiet spaces is imperative. Meditation rooms are fast becoming de rigueur.

Some may argue that access to quiet and meditative spaces is most important as mental and emotional health affects every aspect of individual well-being.

The design of meditation spaces is limitless, but some elements are a must. Quiet is number one. Soft flooring and soft-closing hinges on doors are fundamental; sound-proofing walls and ceilings and providing access to noise-cancelling head phones also contribute to a relaxing environ. Muted colors used throughout confer calm. A view of the outdoors can be soothing but not with blinding light from south-facing windows. Since dim or diffuse lighting in meditation rooms is ideal, glare should be eliminated. A high-performance ventilation system absorbs unwanted odors and pollutants. Comfortable seating and minimalistic décor further enhance the experience. Zoned climate control ensures a not-too-warm and not-too-chilled room.

It seems inevitable that a well-designed space where the occupants’ well-being drives the design will positively impact the health of the individual.

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