As designers in a vastly changing world, we are continually called upon to keep up with the forecasting of colors, trends, and expectations of the diverse and disparate populationwe serve. While we are aware of trends that drive interest and exposure in the marketplace, we also consider design issues that center around wellbeing. We are concerned with deeper issues of how we best navigate the challenges and opportunities presented to us, and how our spaces for home, leisure, and work support us to that end.
At Heimtextil (the International Trade Fair for Home and Contract Textiles held in Frankfurt, Germany), “Well-Being 4.0” trends for 2016/2017 was presented with four themes as the focus: Protect, Energize, Nourish, and Enrich. These themes are defined by an integrated approach to restoring a people-centered design focus with a stronger appeal to the senses.
The Protect theme is about protecting our physical and psychological needs. It predicts a clean aesthetic, or crisp, understated design. It goes hand-in-hand with a versatile range of wellness products and detox programs. As a valuable and rare commodity, silence takes center stage.
Reduction of noise pollution is an element too often disregarded. The difference between eliminating noise and unconsciously accepting it can have a great impact on tranquility, focus, and mental clarity. According to theWorld Health Organization, “Excessive noise seriously harms human health and interferes with people’s daily activities at school, at work, at home, and during leisure time. It can disturb sleep, cause cardiovascular and psychophysiological effects, reduce performance, and provoke annoyance responses and changes in social behavior.” Sound absorption and reduction can be achieved by specifying building materials such as sheet rock (for example SilentFX noise-reducing gypsum board); double- or triple-pane glazing; sound-absorbent flooring such as cork, wood, or carpet; air-tight construction (two or three layers of gypsum board, mineral fiber insulation, and air gaps in framing); and applied elements such as window coverings. Or for the more adventurous, decorative acoustical panels that double as an artistic installation, such as Xorel by Carnegie Fabrics.
As Heimtextil announced Energize— enhancing technology with high-energy elements to boost feelings of well-being — as a trend, Claire Barliant, managing editor of Metropolis magazine contrastingly claimed another trend, the “year of slow tech” that suggests physical objects are due for a comeback, “counteracting our tendency to stare at screens.” Homes with libraries containing at least a hundred books lead to improved scholastic performance. We recently fielded an interview with a journalist inquiring about the future of, and demand for, home libraries, suggesting a trend away from physical books and reading.
The Nourish and Enrich themes are geared toward offering a better life and greater well-being: nourishment for the soul, sensibilities, and internal balance. As studies continue to show that we need to feel connected to other living things, so an infusion of natural sensory materials and references continues to be high on our list of priorities in interiors we design. One example of an application is natural, woven window shades, not only shielding us from glare and contributing to our privacy and sanctuary, but ones made of vetiver can also provide aromatherapeutic properties and a visual connection to nature. We believe that design can provide solutions great and small to the challenges of the world around us. “There is no longer an outside to the world of design”, according to professors and architectural historians MarkWigley and Beatriz Colomina.
Heather Van Luchene, ASID and Steffany Hollingsworth, ASID are partners in HVL Interiors, LLC, an interior design firm offering professional residential and hospitality design services. Both are New Mexico licensed interior designers. They can be reached at (505) 983-3601 or info@ hvlinteriors.com.
Xorel ArtForm acoustical panels by Carnegie