Jul 10th 2020

4 key components to a health-forward design

Author:

John Stein

Part of what makes a space beautiful is the sense of health and well-being it creates. In our post-pandemic world, design has a renewed sense of purpose, and is an important task at hand. How do we create spaces that promote health yet feel inviting? How can we let inspiration lead while addressing the need to preserve health and sanitation?

By approaching your clients with creative solutions to answer the questions of health and safety, you’ll be at the forefront and true resource for those who seek your assistance.

We are no doubt facing new, more stringent standards that will continue to evolve as society finds ways to navigate disease mitigation. Incorporating products and design elements that are modular, like partitions, are a great way to ensure your layout can keep up with the regulations and requirements. It’s important that new designs can not only meet these standards but can be flexible as guidelines evolve. We’ve identified four key components that contribute to healthy spaces – and that design can address.

1. CLEANING VS DISINFECTING

When we look at cleanliness standards from a design perspective, materials and substrates matter. Are they easy to wash, clean, launder and/or disinfect?

While many of us may use the term “cleaning” to mean several things, “cleaning” and “disinfecting” serve two different purposes.

Cleaning removes material from a surface— whether that’s dirt, dust, a virus, or bacteria. It’s not intended to kill anything, but it is intended to cleanse a space of unwanted residues. Cleaning can involve soap and water, a paper towel, wipes, etc.

Disinfecting is intended to kill infectious germs. Fortunately, the Coronavirus is not difficult to kill or remove from surfaces. Disinfecting is an additional step we need to take to comply with new safety standards and expectations of health and wellness.

2. SUSTAINABILITY: CREATING LESS WASTE & A HEALTHIER PLANET

Amid all of the N95 masks, rubber gloves, and one-time-use products aimed at creating a more healthful, sanitary environment, we are now contributing to more pollution and environmental damage as a result. An important consideration then becomes: how can we design spaces to be more environmentally conscious to offset the effect of necessary precautions like disposable items?

When we look at designing for health and wellness, eco-conscious materials and products can help contribute to the future we want to create. They’re an investment in doing things the right way, by minimizing the amount of new materials we use, and lowering the footprint of the materials we do use. As part of our commitment to healthy spaces, Kirei produces acoustic solutions made from recycled materials.

3. BEAUTY: MORE THAN PURE AESTHETICS

It is a fact that beautiful spaces have been scientifically shown to increase mental health. They invite us in and make us want to stay. They encourage creativity, ease, and mindfulness.

Organization and decluttering. Beauty is often the absence of what is distracting, unattractive, or just unnecessary. In the spirit of spaciousness (a pillar for the new health and safety standards), we’ve been focused on the Japanese concept of “Ma” celebrate the “gap”, “pause” or “space between two structural parts.” Partitions and other products that encourage a natural distance can contribute to the “health” of the space. By simplifying and clearing a space, it’s not only physically healthier – it’s mentally healthier, too.

Lighting. Just as a photograph taken at golden hour offers a depth and dimension that one at high noon never could, the way a space is lit matters. Allowing natural light as much as possible can help encourage health, because it supports our innate circadian rhythms and our need for sunlight and connection to the outside. Try to reduce fluorescent lighting, which can agitate the senses and drain energy unnecessarily. Consider including light curtains or other design details that allow occupants to navigate and use light in the way that works best for them.

4. ACOUSTICS: DECREASING DISTRESS & DIS-EASE

Lastly, and probably one of the most important key components when it comes to designing for health and wellness, is the acoustics in a space. We’re not just saying this because we are an acoustic solutions company! According to statistics, workers are nearly 65% less productive in noisy environments than they are in quieter offices. In that sense, it’s a fact that bad acoustics contribute to distraction and lower productivity — which can in turn cause an increase in anxiety. When we can’t focus, we become more stressed. Chronic stress is hard on our immune systems, so it works against our physical health, too.

In a similar way that unending email or notification pings can disrupt workflow, fractured distractions add up in a short amount of time. According to research, it takes nearly 30 minutes for someone to regain full focus after they’ve been interrupted. That means many people never manage to fully focus throughout their workday. Imagine how their work output could change if they were to create and facilitate the right environment for deep thinking, creativity, and productivity.

Think of noise as “sound clutter” — it has a similar effect as actual, physical clutter, in that it can fracture attention and prevent deeper thinking analysis. Good acoustics create a comfortable container, a sense of privacy, and enhance the productivity and well-being of those who occupy that space.

Need to address noise concerns? We can help (in an eco-friendly way!)

Kirei has developed beautiful, sustainable, and cutting-edge acoustics to help create workspaces that are supportive of productivity, pleasant to be in, and even easy to clean.

EchoPanel partitions create safe, physical barriers while absorbing sound. They’re also easy to clean, and because they’re made from recycled plastic bottles, they’re a sustainable investment you can feel good about, too.

Our Platoon partitions create collaborative coves, section off designated areas, and have a similar effect of encouraging social distancing, creating boundaries, and absorbing noise in what might otherwise be an echoing, large space.

Even EchoScreens provide a beautiful design element, acoustic noise reduction, and is capable of allowing natural light in a space.

CREATE A BEAUTIFUL, HEALTHIER FUTURE WITH KIREI.

Kirei is driven by the idea that design solutions can, and should, inspire a more beautiful world. We want to support designers’ earnest efforts to create healthier spaces that serve the future we’re creating together, without sacrificing the aesthetics we all aspire to. Each element matters — and our products are designed to conjure the health, simplicity, and beauty that we believe is possible in every space.

Interested in receiving samples of any of the above products for your own project?



If you’d like assistance deciding which EchoPanel products will best serve your project needs, contact your KIREI rep today.