Health is everything. The culture and condition of health and wellness of Louisiana’s residents, citizens of our nation and populations worldwide affects all aspects of socio-economic security and prospects for our future. According to America’s Health Rankings 2020, Louisiana ranks 49th in overall health, 46th in physical activity and diabetes, 44th in deaths related to cancer, and obesity is at an all-time high. Drug deaths, premature deaths, and cardiovascular deaths in Louisiana have increased since 2015, and our state resides uncomfortably with other southern states in the lowest quintile for well-being (State of American Well-Being 2016).
Among the many factors contributing to this human health dilemma is the built environment; the places we inhabit, work, study, and relax. Significant research confirms that many of the health-related challenges our global community faces are exacerbated by the built environment. However, there is also a growing body of knowledge informing design practices that advance and support health and wellbeing.
The way we design interior environments, the materials and furnishings we specify, the arrangement of spaces to meet program requirements, and the spatial characteristics of our designs have a critical impact on health and wellbeing, productivity, comfort and satisfaction. Designers are responsible for creating interiors that improve the quality of our lives while protecting our natural environment. We serve as agents for change, in part accomplished by understanding the interrelationship of people and the built and natural environments.
Post COVID-19 Environment
Interior designers will face many new challenges in a post COVID-19 environment. We have learned a lot about how a pandemic impacts our lives and are still learning. Designers will be challenged to foreground evidenced base design and rethink the theory of proxemics and the boundaries of personal and social space. Our role in designing new and adapting existing interior environments will be essential as we begin to plan for healthy interior spaces. It is too soon to know the extent of the impact this pandemic has brought to bear on our interior environments, but we do know we must be ready for change.
Find Out More
Alexander, Christopher. A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction. Oxford UP, 1977.
Battisto, Dina, and Jacob J. Wilhelm. Architecture and Health: Guiding Principles for Practice. Routledge, 2019.
Kopec, Dak. Health and Well-Being for Interior Architecture. Taylor & Francis, 2017.