Cruise & Ferry Review - Spring/Summer 2023

VIEWPOINT The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being”. Expanded to include the psychological and ecological dimensions of the built environment, today, emotional wellness is identified as an equal component of functionality. Other recent and underlying societal shifts have necessitated the fullest consideration and inclusion of diversity, including neuro, disability, and gender diversity. Good design innately supports health and well-being for users, the wider community and the planet. In addition to being novel or captivating, good design also delivers life-affirming and transformative possibilities. Welldesigned environments fully support, soothe and rejuvenate those who inhabit them, while also delivering comfort and encouraging pleasure and vitality. They anticipate users’ needs and wants, quietly and intuitively accommodating life with ease and spontaneity. Consideration for health and wellness features, needs to be incorporated into the design process and experientially evidenced in the final result. This requires the designer to keep abreast of the latest social, technological and cultural advancements and to work closely with the client to deliver equal commercial success. Good design provides a balanced quantitative and qualitative value to the world. To ensure they can contend with ever more nuanced programmatic and design brief requirements, designers must deepen their research and prioritise cooperative teamwork. The well-educated and open-minded designer, armed with acute observational skills and experiential knowledge, insights from the latest research and tested know-how, is required to deliver creative interventions for improved effectiveness and tangible results. Using comprehensive design thinking and common-sense connections, the designer can shape new behaviours for comfortable user assimilation. The incorporation of ecosystems and sustainability, materiality, technical understanding, and life-affirming knowledge is required for sustained, successful and enriching design outcomes. In more specific terms, for spaces to promote good physical, mental and social well-being, everyone must be able to easily access, understand and freely use them to the greatest extent possible, regardless of their age, size, ability or disability. Designers should provide spatial legibility, clear planning and spatial hierarchy to help people orient themselves within a built environment. Clearly demarcating scale and detail distinctions in corridors and pathways and introducing thresholds to separate spaces into distinct functions is empowering for users. In addition, using distinct visual landmarks and signage helps to reduce anxiety. Another way to decrease stress while increasing well-being and creating a sense of satisfaction is to take advantage of nature, by providing views of, or giving direct exposure to, forms of vegetation. By incorporating biophilic design features that support an authentic connection to nature, designers can provide comfort to people using the space. Light, colour and form are three of the most essential and versatile design elements which, when used well, are inherently satisfying and afford the designer tremendous latitude for stylistic expression. These elements are important for identifying the functionality, atmosphere and personality of a space. Each one must be sensitively integrated into a space to capture the desired behavioural impact. Whenever possible, it is vital to maximise natural light, ideally from By Shashi Caan, SC Collective, Globally We Design and IFI Designing for well-being Studies show that clever use of lighting, colour, sound, form and nature can help designers to create attractive spaces that promote the health and well-being of those inhabiting them Photo: Lu Haha 168