Form, Function and Inclusivity
When it comes to interior design, it’s important to ensure that everyone can benefit from their surroundings.
Whether that’s by improving sensory experiences — allowing the senses to move us through a space — or by connecting humans with nature to improve wellbeing, this is about inclusivity. Transforming an environment through the integration of light, sound and natural materials for the advantage of all.
When you think that over 50% of the brain is used to process images, it’s no wonder that so much emphasis is placed on the visual side of design. But how can the other senses be utilised to not just improve perceptions, but improve our lives and wellbeing?
The answer lies in taking a more progressive approach to the form and function of a building. Moving beyond just ticking boxes for disability and accessibility and considering what can make a difference to everyone who enters its doors. The good news is, making a space more inclusive doesn’t have to be a tall order. Not if the senses are opened up.
Things like allowing ambient light to enter naturally. Avoiding bright focused beams or contrasting shadows which could impact visibility. Ensuring that ceiling tiles reflect and diffuse sunlight within the building, so as to reduce the dependency on artificial lighting.
Scents and aromatherapy can help, but this is as much about breathing in what’s clean and healthy — air that’s free from VOCs due to the use of natural cleaning supplies and low-emission materials.
Touch is hugely significant. Including nature in our spaces helps to reduce stress, enhance cognitive performance and enhance moods and positive emotions. This is something everyone can benefit from.
At one with nature
To improve sustainability, the choice of materials is a central consideration. Selecting materials with a circular life cycle and that are 100% recyclable minimises the negative effect on the planet.
Exploring the potential of existing structures is another route. Old or unused buildings can be transformed into contemporary new spaces, without wasting resources that are already in place. Installing a new ceiling is a simple way to reinvigorate, whilst maintaining the foundations and bringing a building up-to-date. Examples can be seen in the Moxy Hotel and Atende (both featured in this 2020 edition of the A Book), and located in Centrum Praskie Koneser, a regenerated vodka distillery in Warsaw.