DESIGN | PROCESS | RESOURCES
In my Junior year of college, I took a class called "Reimagining Care". I didn't know it at the time, but this class really changed my mindset as a Designer. I knew I wanted to make an impact as a Designer but I didn't know how. One minute I was designing interiors just because they looked pretty, and the next minute I was thinking about the emotional implications of my design choices. Suddenly, I was caught up in how the environments can benefit us emotionally an physically, and dedicated the remainder of my education at Parsons thinking of ways to bridge gaps in Evidence-Based Design in all interiors. Stay tuned til the end for some tips and tricks!
I wrote many papers on bringing Evidence-Based Design strategies into our homes, I wrote papers about reducing energy consumption in hospitals, and I wrote an extensive paper about why healthcare environments contradict Evidence-Based Design practices and do the very opposite of what they're supposed to do. cough. Urbanism. I'm not going to go much more in detail about that, as I will be posting these essays and manifestos on this website in the future in full, once I have tightened them up. For now, though, I will talk about this project I worked on last year and how I brought Evidence-Based Design into this family apartment in New Jersey and give you some previews as to what some of my papers entail. Let's start with the definition.
"Evidence-Based Design (EBD) is the process of basing decisions about the built environment on credible research to achieve the best possible outcomes. Included in this process are the following eight steps:
Without going into too much detail, the following provides some of my research and excerpts from my Evidence Based Design papers.
"Currently, the EBD process is used predominantly in Healthcare Design as a way to improve patient and staff health and safety outcomes and EBD acknowledges that “there is a continuous interplay between a building, its layout, and the work that is carried on with the walls.” (Malkin, J. A Visual Reference for Evidence-Based Design. Concord, Ca: Center for Health Design, 2008.)
The Dining Area
Making sure that the space didn't have any obstructions of view from all the main living areas was important. Granted, the whole living area had floor to ceiling windows from the building's curtain walls, but making sure to make use of the layout and nooks was important. In this home, I carefully measured out a nook near a concrete pillar in the corner of the main living space, and found a banquette from west elm which fit perfectly in this space for the family.
The dining table we chose was round, to make the seating area more communal, and the detailing in the leg was so unique, this space had to have this piece. Of course, We chose some lighter, airy chairs to go with this small dining space, so we opted for 2 wishbone chairs. Not only do they have lighter rattan seats, but the backs also allow for through and through visibility which lets the space feel more open.
"“The Habitat Theory” proposed by geographer Jay Appleton found through his research that humans developed from hunter-gatherer ancestors who symbolically recognized landscapes as threatening or comforting. The theory continued to find that darker landscapes, caves, storms, and shadowy places are threatening and humans find comfort in being in a safe zone (refuge) where they are able to see potential predators and opportunities (prospect) without being seen, which is why they trigger emotions such as happiness or fear."
Nature. Is it really that important?
Throughout the space, we not only made sure to incorporate tones found in nature, such as wood, browns, blues, and greens, but we also made sure to bring plants into the home as well. The plants not only filled up the living space, but we added a nice textured ceramic vase on the dining table, and a plant between the kitchen and the dining area as well.
"A case study found that having views of nature can reduce anxiety and depression in patients. After placing two groups of patients in different room conditions during their admittance in hospital, it was found that the group with no windows needed more medication, stayed at the treatment facility longer, and rated a general lower emotional wellbeing and conversely the group with windows in their patient rooms, reported less medication needed quicker recovery times as well as a higher rating in happiness and general wellbeing. In addition, After placing two groups of patients in different room conditions during their admittance in hospital, it was found that the group with no windows needed more medication, stayed at the treatment facility longer, and rated a general lower emotional wellbeing and conversely the group with windows in their patient rooms, reported less medication needed, quicker recovery times as well as a higher rating in happiness and general wellbeing. (Ulrich, R. S.“View through a window may influence recovery from surgery” 1984). This clinically important find provides useful information as far as overall mental and physical health, and proof that access to nature alleviates anxiety and pain also is helpful in order to determine what the long lasting effects of design are for users."
Choosing the colours
All the furniture followed the same colour palette. Royal Blue, brown leather, wood tones, cream tones, and blue-ish grey tones. This ensured that each element was connected, and tied in to the other pieces around it.
By sticking to a colour palette and material list, we made sure each item fitted the same tones and materials as those around it to ensure nothing felt out of place.
Having an acrylic side table by the arm chair had the same effect as the wishbone chairs in the dining area. The fact that you are able to see through it definitely gives the space a more open feel without feeling too cluttered.
We made sure to give each room in this apartment a different colour as well, to separate each space since this was a very small family apartment.
"In general, warm beiges and light blues should be used in moderation due to reminiscent qualities of a beach and the calmness of water.
The blue tones really help with calming the space, and the accent deep blue wall in the main living area was an important focal point for this space as well, because it ties all the tones in the furniture in with each other.
We ended up changing this accent wall to a lighter blue tone, but you get the gist.
Tips and Tricks for bringing EBD into your space
Are you interested in bringing these practices into your own home? Below, I've compiled a list of ways you can make the best of your space.
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