RIBA Publishing’s New Wellbeing in Interiors demystifies instinctive design for wellness and sustainability

Inspired by a series of talks on evidence-based design for Wellbeing, Wellbeing in Interiors is the result of over a decade of research, funnelled into a book that is both a philosophical guide and a practical reference for interior designers, architects and sustainability specialists.

Design and Sustainability Director of Grigoriou Interiors, Elina Grigoriou has delved into the intrinsic value of what wellbeing actually is, how it comes to be, and how it can be influenced and perpetuated by designers.

Filling a gap in the current specialist book market, ‘wellbeing’ as a concept is deconstructed to enable interior designers and project teams to better understand, and therefore deliver wellbeing to their clients, and implement specific decisions about sustainable design and materials on a day-to-day basis. Each section of the book ends by placing each issue into context, exploring how it is a part of sustainable design.

Designing with the end user in mind has resurfaced in architectural digest to become a foremost consideration, with standards such as The Well Standard coming increasingly into discussion and becoming an objective for developers. Buildings should not only be functional but aim to be ‘healthier’; sustainable places of wellbeing, with fewer stress factors.

However, as Edward Dixon, Sustainability Insights Director at Landsec, has noted,

“A deep understanding of the user… cannot be achieved through simply adhering to the myriad standards and benchmarks concerning wellbeing in the built environment… Wellbeing in Interiors recognises the need for a deep understanding, drawing from anthropology, philosophy and behavioural science to explain the why, how and what of design for human wellbeing.”

Elina explains,

“In a work space, for example, when thought fluidity is diminished wellbeing is impacted as our stress level increases. Temperature, noise level and colour, factors that are able to influence our stress levels, should be three big considerations. We as designers should be always asking ourselves: What does the interior need to do? What is my objective to create? Do these things match up?”

Though it challenges many preconceived ideas of good design from the past 20 years, the book is quickly accessible. Split into five key parts, Wellbeing in Interiors is highly illustrated, featuring prompts for the designer to implement improvements with each chapter.

Anthony Slumbers comments,

“Every day we are told that workplace productivity has flatlined for years and that the state of mental health across society continues to fall. What this book does is explain just how important design is to improving both of these.”

From July 2019 Wellbeing in Interiors will be available to buy from RIBA Bookshops and online: bit.ly/2EIJGz2