Health, Happiness and Hygiene — Designing for Wellness and Revitalisation
Optimised health and wellness infiltrates everything we do, from smart devices worn on our wrists to the spaces we spend time in. Design Show Australia speaks to leading practitioners about balancing hygiene, holistic wellness and service-led luxury in emerging health, wellness and beauty spaces.
The Global Wellness Institute reports that the average Australian spends $5239 per year on wellness products, services and experiences, placing us sixth in the world when it comes to investing in ourselves. Understanding of the impact of spatial design has deepened significantly in these industries as we seek out healing, restoration and rejuvenation in return for our dollars and time.
A curated experience that goes beyond core services to deliver holistic benefits is becoming the expectation of everyone, from employees to educators, patients to chaperones. Wellness destinations are investing in high-quality interior design borrowed from hotels, hospitality venues and luxurious homes—and it is paying off.
Sydney based design and architecture practice BLP specialises in health, education and residential projects created with a specific community’s needs in mind. The firm’s work for the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Sydney Children’s Hospital and Minderoo Children’s Comprehensive Cancer Centre draws on the huge variety of visitors to the spaces to create a new understanding of holistic design impact.
“Wellness is synonymous with wholeness,” explains Senior Associate Rebecca Yeo, who attributes the team’s broad approach to client and community engagement as key to delivering value to clients.
“Collaborating with specialists in hygiene, infection prevention, play life therapy, palliative care and social work in addition to regular clinical review leads to a multifaceted critique of the design.
This ensures buildings support a holistic approach to wellness—not simply clinical recovery—based on an understanding that the healing process is intrinsically linked to minimising a child’s stress and anxiety, and providing a ‘home away from home’.”
New-build healthcare spaces are acknowledging the need for stopgap employee recovery. Reprieve spaces that encourage mental reset such as internal gardens are designed to be as short a distance as possible from busy working areas for immediate relief.
Non-medical self-care services are following suit. Founder of the celebrated Melbourne design studio Biasol, Jean-Pierre Biasol cites the shift in society’s enthusiasm to dedicate time solely to wellness, without distraction as a driving force.
“Disconnection as a concept has risen in popularity significantly,” he tells Design Show Australia.
“We worked with Melbourne company Insight Body and Mind, who combine healthy mind-centric practices with healthy body practices, all in one accessible and unpretentious centre. The shift is that our clients and their customers have a positive solutions-driven destination in which to thrive.”
Division of space in Biasol’s projects creates a journey of pausing, waiting and transitioning to amplify guests’ experiences. Director of Sydney-based design consultancy Esoteriko, Anna Trefely works with boutique beauty and wellness clients to dig deep into their brand story and translate that into a space that uniquely represents their ethos, preventing them from appearing as copy-cats in a booming market.
“The practitioners I design spaces for enable customers to invest quality time in themselves, so the space needs to reflect that by being aspirational and unique, without being uncomfortable,” says Trefely.
“Thinking of people’s time in a client’s space as being a holiday or dedicated time for respite in the middle of their day reframes the brief.”
Consultation spaces that need to flex to provide exacting requirements for treatments such as medical beauty procedures need to feel calming and welcoming while accommodating hidden features such as clinical lighting. Often, natural materials and curated objects are used to give a reassuring, homely vibe that still feels professional and luxe.
Melbourne based designer Nickolas Gurtler’s signature opulent environments are delivered entirely styled, complete with curated periodicals.
“We look for unusual examples of grounding natural beauty and pair them with details that make the entire space feel considered,” he says. “Natural stone is the most beautiful version of earth. Jurassic stone is a favourite for an assuring, luxurious surface that is practical too.”
Celebrating wellness means making it visible for generations who have grown up with the experience economy, pushing the boundaries of what would have previously been taboo. Cosmetic surgeries and psychology treatment centres are requesting secluded Instagrammable spaces that allow guests to snap their experience while protecting the privacy of other visitors.
Inside residential properties, the blurring between professional hygiene standards and solid. Monumental features made from stone and concrete show a desire for protection from disease combined with reassurance and indulgence.
Concrete Nation’s limited edition range of freestanding baths bring premium bathing experiences into the home and Autoflo’s touchless sensor taps, preferred for high-traffic public restrooms and kitchens, are becoming the norm in residential builds. See both at this season’s Design Show Australia.
This article was provided by Design Show Australia’s content partner, Trout Creative Thinking. Trout is Australia’s only living brands agency—a creative agency dedicated to servicing businesses within the homemaker, renovation, build and construction sectors, to shape how we live and work.
Clare Acheson from Trout is speaking as part of Design Show Australia’s program.