In today’s increasingly environmentally conscious society, switched on designers and those who want to create spaces we can thrive in have one word at the forefront of their considerations – wellbeing.
We spoke to Elina about what wellbeing really means, why it’s important, and how we can improve our lives through the spaces we design, with wellbeing in mind.
What is wellbeing and why is it important today?
Wellbeing is a state of ‘being’. It is a choice we make and not something that can be given to us from someone or something.
For us to be able to make this choice, we rely on being in ‘comfort’. Comfortable emotionally, mentally and physically.
This is where interiors come into play, and we see how they affect us. It is an issue that has been side-lined progressively over the decades, and now we are addressing this by purposefully creating spaces that support human flourishing.
How does sustainability relate to wellbeing?
Wellbeing is one of the three pillars of sustainability, so vital to being able to achieve sustainability. The other two pillars are the environment and economy/value. If we aim for a sustainable result in a decision, then it needs to consider the environment it is hosted in, the society it is delivered by and the economy that allows it to transact.
Recently, decisions have only considered economic returns. An economy can only be as strong as the society that uses it, and society can only be as strong as the environment that hosts it.
What drives you to pursue wellbeing and educate other designers on its value in practice?
My drive? I just want to help people. What is more important than helping others to live in a happy way, to flourish and find themselves? In the process, this also includes me. We are all connected; everything in life is connected. By educating other designers and architects, we get more opportunities for happiness to exist in this world, and we all benefit.
We live inside buildings around 80% of our lives, so there is a lot of impact from them onto people. Designers have a key position in projects: they can influence and direct the objectives of an interior and can drive constant improvements in the product and material industries too. By sharing my knowledge, I hope designers become aware about the choice of direction they have available and how exactly they can integrate things.
How can designers approach the pursuit of wellbeing in their designs for success in today’s industry?
It’s about taking simple steps. One every day, no matter how small or large, just keep on moving forward. The intention behind designers’ work is what makes the biggest difference on the result. Making sure the intention is clearly for the happiness and wellbeing of occupants is all you need really, the rest are answers to this!
The bottom line? A designer who designs for wellbeing is a successful designer, as fundamentally, who doesn’t want a space that will not only allow but enable an occupant to be well?
Where can designers find more in-depth insights from you?
I go into much more depth on this in my recent book, ‘Wellbeing in Interiors: Philosophy’, design and value in practice: www.ribabookshops.com
It has been my intent by writing the book to help all designers to adopt the wellbeing understanding and steadily integrate it into their practice.