Last week, our Experience Design studio hosted a multidisciplinary event that united designers, clients, and end-users to explore an important trend in our industry. The theme, “Well-Being by Design,” illuminated the growing dialogue on how art and design can enhance emotional well-being in built spaces. Throughout the evening, we learned how uplifting artists from disadvantaged backgrounds can empower and inspire, as well as how strategic space planning and architectural choices can foster healing. We learned how the well-being trend is influencing the development of multi-family residential buildings for the next generation, and we explored how dynamic installations can create spaces conducive to tranquility and healing.
The evening kicked off with a lively networking reception, with nearly 100 guests in attendance. We indulged in a health-conscious buffet including a variety of wellness juice shots. Following the reception, four groups of panelists provided insights into the topic of well-being from different angles.
Liz Powers, CEO and co-founder of ArtLifting, told inspiring stories of her company’s mission to represent and empower artists facing significant life challenges, including homelessness and physical disabilities, while simultaneously enhancing the spaces of prestigious clients such as Bank of America, Hallmark, Google, and Amazon. She shared amazing stories of how these artists create a wide variety of art using the diversity of their abilities, and how they’ve been able to support themselves as thriving artists.
Dr. Ryan Madigan, Founder and Director of the Boston Child Study Center, offered profound insights into creating spaces that promote patient comfort, acceptance, and recognition. He stressed the pivotal role of space design in the path to recovery, emphasizing that emotional well-being in design is essential across all settings. Dr. Madigan pointed out that treatment starts at the front door, not just when treatment sessions begin. He highlighted the importance of ease, familiarity, and comfort, incorporating elements like natural light, nature, and water. He also stressed the need to accommodate individuals with varying needs and ensure easy navigation to reduce anxiety.
Designers from our Interior and Experience Design studios, Ashley McDonnell and Jenna Carolan, presented their work on Gibson Point, a new multi-family residential development in Revere. This project provides residents with opportunities to actively pursue well-being, offering amenities like meditation spaces and spa treatment rooms. They demonstrated how biophilic design principles guided their approach, ensuring that every design element, from architectural details to interior elements to environmental graphics, supports the overall vision.
Finally, Eric Gunther and John Rothenberg, the Creative Director and Managing Director of SOSO, discussed their use of design and technology to promote well-being through gratitude, connection, biophilia, awe, attunement, and embodiment. Their current projects in the healthcare landscape involve technologically advanced installations that blend placemaking, storytelling, and innovation to foster calm and healing for patients and healthcare workers.
As the event concluded, attendees left with fresh perspectives on creating emotionally nurturing environments.