Posts

POST-PANDEMIC PRIORITIES: Interior Design Strategies for Senior Living

various spaces in a senior living community For both the near term and into the future, senior living is going to look, feel, and function differently. An intensified focus on infection control has drastically altered day-to-day operations which are now viewed through the lenses of health, density, and safety. We are taking a different approach to senior living design strategies, such as space layouts, finish materials or furniture and equipment selections, to help senior living communities respond to changing priorities. Continue reading

Biophilic Design for Learning

a collage of various biophilic design samples in the real world Despite the documented benefits of getting outside and experiencing nature firsthand, students spend most of the day indoors and a growing proportion of that time is spent staring at a computer screen.  This reality reinforces the value of applying biophilic design principles to a new school building or campus renovation to create a better learning environment for students.

Open Air School, Netherlands, 1918
Open Air School, Netherlands, 1918 – The health benefits of nature connections have long been appreciated. Open air schools originated in the early 1900s in response to tuberculous outbreaks. The first open air school in the US opened in 1908 in Providence, Rhode Island.

Biophilic Design Defined

Biophilic design has received growing attention in recent years. The idea that nature connections help to inspire, calm and nurture us almost seems like common sense. Biologist Edward O. Wilson, who literally wrote the book “Biophilia,” describes our innate tendency to affiliate with nature.

Biophilic design acknowledges this reality and focuses on strategies to increase occupant connections to the natural environment. This is achieved through a combination of direct connections, simulated nature, and space and place conditions. Continue reading

THOUGHTFUL DESIGN: Interior Design for People with Dementia

collage of various interior design ideas for people with dementia

Professional interior design melds functional and aesthetic qualities of spaces with current codes to protect public health, safety and welfare. Interior design for people with dementia requires additional considerations to respect each individual without compromising dignity or comfort.

Memory support since the 1990s
Fostering outdoor connections is one design principle that has not changed. This photo is from The Sylvestery at Vinson Hall in the early 2000s.

RLPS has been designing senior living communities since the 1950s.  Specialized settings to support people with dementia emerged in the early 1990s and demand has increased significantly since that time. More recently, some senior living communities are moving away from a separate setting for people with dementia. This integrated living approach requires appropriate staff training, effective use of technology and community-wide supportive strategies to provide safe and comfortable living spaces for all senior residents regardless of cognitive abilities.

There is no single “right” answer. Our team draws on evolving research, specialized programs, and input from our clients to inform our approach to support the needs of people with dementia through interior design. For example, intentionally designed spaces for programs such as Montessori or Opening Minds through Art (OMA), function as a silent partner reinforcing these research-based initiatives. Continue reading

5 Interior Design Trends for Outdoor Spaces

various outdoor spaces in a collage While social distancing remains a priority, outdoor venues have provided opportunities to get outside and gather in small groups.  Restaurants across the country have been able to open outdoor seating areas prior to dine-in options.  Many of the current interior design trends for outdoor spaces reflect their popularity for life plan communities, 55+ housing, school and university campuses and hospitality venues.

Even when we are not experiencing a pandemic, biophilic design principles reinforce the value of spaces that meet our innate need for nature connections. The WELL Building Standard calls for its projects to have a biophilia plan to incorporate nature through environmental elements, lighting and space layout.  This includes interior settings as well as porches, patios, courtyards, dining terraces, pool decks and rooftop venues that encourage people to get outdoors.

Continue reading

NATURE CONNECTIONS: Biophilic Design Strategies for Interior Spaces

Biophilic design Biophilic Design Cover Biophilia is a relatively obscure term for a basic principle – humans are instinctively drawn to nature; it nurtures, calms and inspires us. German social psychologist Erich Fromm coined the term in 1964 to describe our innate need to be connected to nature. E.O. Wilson, American biologist, researcher, theorist, naturalist and author of the book “Biophilia,” came up with the biophilia hypothesis—that the deep affiliations humans have with other life forms and nature as a whole are rooted in our biology. Continue reading

DESIGN GRATITUDE: Thanksgiving for Interior Design Professionals

several thanksgiving and fall photos Although the origins of Thanksgiving are disputed by various historians, we do know that it was President Abraham Lincoln who made it an official holiday in 1863.  Since that time, Thanksgiving has evolved into the celebratory feast that most of us enjoy with family and friends. Regardless of its history, we appreciate the opportunity to pause and reflect about the many things for which we are thankful.  We’ve asked a few members of our interior design team to share something they are thankful for that relates to their profession, whether a current trend or timeless design element. Continue reading