ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Contents - Ex­ec­u­tive Ed­i­tor

In modern philoso­pher Alain de Bot­ton’s ex­cel­lent The Ar­chi­tec­ture of Hap­pi­ness, his 2007 ex­plo­ration of the links be­tween build­ings and our well­be­ing, he states: ‘ Bad ar­chi­tec­ture is in the end as much a fail­ure of psy­chol­ogy as of de­sign.’ I couldn’t agree more. The struc­tures that fill our towns and cities have to be well thought out, to be fo­cused on func­tion as well as aes­thet­ics, and to come from a par­tic­u­lar mind­set. From lofty sky­scrapers to small, clev­erly de­signed homes, the places where we re­side need to have heart and gen­uine res­o­nance for them to suc­ceed.

This is­sue, I wanted ELLE Dec­o­ra­tion to ex­plore this idea, fo­cus­ing not on char­ac­ter­less, cold ed­i­fices, but spa­ces that are warm and won­der­ful in­side and out. These in­spi­ra­tional places, cre­ated by a ros­ter of tal­ents – both in the UK and abroad – are rein­vig­o­rat­ing our col­lec­tive sense of what home could and should be in the 21st Cen­tury.

We also look briefly to the past, ac­knowl­edg­ing an icon of Bri­tish ar­chi­tec­ture: the Bar­bican es­tate in Lon­don. It’s one of my favourite build­ings, for its vis­ual im­pact and all that it rep­re­sents. If any de­vel­op­ment has the power to af­fect the hap­pi­ness of its res­i­dents, it’s this one.

Speak­ing of well­be­ing, we now un­der­stand, more than ever, the im­por­tant role that sleep plays in our health. As an oc­ca­sional in­som­niac, I know this first-hand. If you haven’t al­ready read Matthew Walker’s Why We Sleep, do, it’s en­light­en­ing. He talks to us on p43, as part of our an­nual fo­cus on ev­ery­thing that can aid a good night’s slum­ber. From the best beds, linens and bed­room fur­ni­ture to other in­no­va­tions and elixirs, I will be try­ing as many as I can. I’d ad­vise the sleepy among you to do the same.

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