The 2014 Global Spa and Wellness Summit theme, held in Marrakech, Morocco, was “Fast Forward.” This was the 8th annual summit, which attracted distinguished world business, academic, and government leaders in the fields of spa and wellness.
Bob Henry was asked to speak on the topic ”Peek Into the Future” about the impact the design of architecture and interiors can have on the emerging trends within the wellness sector. Here is a portion of that speech.
Did you know that we spend 80-90% of our lives within the built environment? We are either sleeping, eating, entertaining, or working within architecture and interiors – the built environment. Therefore, it is pertinent that buildings are designed to support our health and longevity. Realize the natural world is inherently healthy and provides us with the perfect model and ultimate benchmark. Let’s just learn from nature. What do we need top-down? Fresh air, pure water, daylight, and natural materials. We often experience stale air – so let’s increase the fresh air exchanges. Contaminated water? Let us filter out the harmful by-products. Too low or high a wavelength of artificial light? Let’s integrate a color/correct wavelength that complements our natural circadian rhythm. We can also forsake unhealthy synthetic materials for natural, sustainable ones.
Our awareness and the affordability to build a healthier environment is launching “wellness design” to a larger audience and becoming more mainstream. The spa and wellness industry needs to be early adopters of these healthy principles by integrating these well-being concepts into their architecture and interiors to benefit their guests, clients, and staff. Some strategies are highly affordable. For example, operable windows provide both natural light and ventilation; couple this with simple roof eaves overhanging the windows. They will block the summer sun while allowing the lower winter sunlight to penetrate deep within the interiors to warm the space when most needed. These simple passive solar design principles are cost-effective and require zero maintenance and upkeep!