Biophilic Design in Healthcare Spaces

February 13, 2024
A Healing Environment

Biophilic elements have numerous positive health benefits for those who use and inhabit a space, as human connection to nature is inherent. The real, tangible impacts of exposure to natural, biophilic elements range from improved mood and quality of sleep, to increased mental abilities and energy levels, among other benefits.

 

Knowing the myriad of health benefits that being surrounded by nature provides, it’s easy to picture the positive impact of incorporating biophilia into healthcare spaces for both patients and providers. For medical spaces especially, the subtle sense of calmness caused by biophilic design means that check-ups and procedures, that may ordinarily be a source of stress or anxiety to some, are much easier for those patients to handle. From this perspective, using an evidence-based approach to wholistic care means the inclusion of natural, biophilic elements in project designs.

 

Looking at the intricacies of biophilia, we aim to dive deeper into how the Ankrom Moisan healthcare team utilizes biophilic design to support patients, providers, and visitors in healing spaces.

 

Healthcare Project Examples

 

Some examples of how biophilic designs are integrated into healthcare spaces to improve and enhance the patient experience can be seen below, in projects like CCC Blackburn, the Swedish Medical Center Ambulatory Infusion Clinic, and the Harborview Medical Center Pediatric Burn Unit.

 

Biophilic elements of CCC Blackburn

 

CCC Blackburn‘s use of color, texture, and space establishes a dynamic balance of tension and openness within its walls, leading to a combination of both open space and boundaries that emulates the harmony of woodland clearings and fallen trees in the wild. The building was pulled apart to allow natural light into the long hallways and corridors, expelling darkness. Wide, operable windows provide access to sunlight, fresh air, and open space at every level. Views of plants, animals, and insects affirm to patients that they are connected to the outdoors, preventing the feeling of being isolated or stuck in a sterile, empty environment that can be so common in medical spaces.

 

Biohpilia in the Swedish Medical Center Ambulatory Infusion Clinic

 

Similarly, the Swedish Medical Center Ambulatory Infusion Clinic utilizes natural materials, spacial variability, direct views to exterior natural elements, and the intentional use of both indoor and natural light to emphasize the subtle feelings of attraction and appreciation for beauty that results from biophilic design. These features also provide patients with a comforting atmosphere while undergoing treatment, so that even the building’s design around the patient is there to ease pain and reduce discomfort.

 

Biophilia in the Harborview Medical Center Pediatric Burn Unit

 

The Harborview Medical Center Pediatric Burn Unit also includes biophilic elements designed to help put patients at ease. Wall graphics that reference the outdoors bring color, curiosity, and excitement to the room while simultaneously avoiding placelessness by giving the space its own unique look, feel, and identity. Wood-look and other organic aesthetics combine with natural and artificial light to engage patients, ensuring that they are stimulated while waiting for and receiving care.

 

Projects that embrace biophilia and include natural features in their design have the additional potential to heal the Earth while healing individuals. This happens foremost through the restoration of natural spaces in and outside of project sites. By including natural features and views, projects often facilitate and encourage the growth of plant life, improving air quality, offsetting a site’s carbon footprint, and contributing to prosperity of the local ecosystem. This is commonly seen with the introduction of native plants and other species that attract pollinators, allowing them to reproduce and continue the circle of life.

 

We also know that biophilic design has benefits that go beyond pleasant visuals and feeling connected to one’s surroundings. Findings have shown that biophilia boosts immune health, supports mental and emotional health, and can even aid physical recover. Knowing this, designing healthcare spaces to include biophilic connections is a no-brainer.

 

Resources to Learn More

 

This only scratches the surface of the conversation around what biophilia is, its benefits, how it can be integrated into project designs, and why it is important. There are lots of materials out there to continue to learn more about this topic.

 

The resources used to develop the content shared in this blog include The Nature Fix by Florence Williams, Nature Inside by Bill Browning and Catherine O. Ryan, and “14 Patterns of Biophilic Design” by New York environmental consulting firm Terrapin Bright Green.

 

Christie Thorpe Black and white headshot of Jack Cochran, the author of this blog post.

 

By Christie Thorpe, Interior Designer, and Jack Cochran, Marketing Coordinator.

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What You Need to Know About Biophilic Design

January 31, 2024
The Basics of Biophilia

Biophilia is the concept that there is an innate connection between humans and nature. Our love of nature and tendency to crave connections with the natural world is a deeply engrained and intuitive aspect of both human psychology and physiology. It’s part of our DNA.

 

Building off that concept, biophilic design is the intentional use of design elements that emulate sensations, features, and phenomena found in nature with the goal of elevating the built environment for the benefit of its end users.

 

Simply put, biophilic design is good design. It doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate; it just has to be intentional. Creating connections to the outdoors in the built environment can significantly impact users’ mental and physical well-being.

 

How Biophilia is Integrated into Projects

 

There are many ways to integrate biophilic elements into a project’s design. Some of the most common methods of doing this have been categorized by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) as being either Nature in the Space, Natural Analogues, or the Nature of the Space.

 

1. Nature in the Space

 

Biophilic design that places emphasis on bringing elements of the outdoors into interior spaces would be classified as ‘Nature in the Space.’ These outdoor-elements-brought-inside can be anything from plants, animals, and water features, to specific scents, sensations (like the feeling of a breeze), shade and lighting effects, or other environmental components found in the natural world. They are organic features that are literally brought inside. An example of this could be a project using natural materials like exposed mass timber and green walls covered with living plants to mimic the sensation of being in a wooded forest.

 

2. Natural Analogues

 

‘Natural Analogues’ in biophilic design are human-made, synthetic patterns, shapes, colors, and other details that reference, represent, or mimic natural materials, markings, and objects without utilizing or incorporating those actual materials, markings, or objects. An example of a natural analogue might be the use of spiral patterns in a painted wall mural to link a project’s design to seashells and the coast, the inclusion of animal print motifs in fabric and material choices, or even the use of blue rugs and carpeting to link a site to a nearby river or other body of water. Subtle finishes, fixtures, and equipment (FF&E) touches can also be a biophilic natural analogue, like the use of shelves that reference the pattern and shape of a honeycomb. Natural analogues are most often design and material choices that pay homage to recognizable environmental elements.

 

3. Nature of the Space

 

A focus on the ‘Nature of the Space’ on the other hand, pays more attention to a location’s construction, layout, and scale than its FF&E and other accessories or interior design. It utilizes spatial differences, the geography of a space, and other elements of a project’s configuration to imitate expansive views, sensory input, or even feelings of safety and danger that are found in the wild. This may manifest as an open stairwell that embraces rough, asymmetrical walls to subtly mirror the textures of a canyon, or as the inclusion of an atrium to give end-users a perspective that parallels the wide-open views seen from a mountain peak. ‘Nature of the Space’ can also be seen in the use of soft lighting and smaller scale spaces to simulate the felt safety and coziness of a cave. It is the utilization of a project’s site itself to replicate experiences and sensations found in the world of nature.

 

By emulating natural features and bringing the outdoors in, architects and interior designers integrate the benefits of exposure to the natural world into built spaces, creating a unique shared experience for a site’s users.

 

 

A list of biophilic design elements and attributes. 

 

When combined with intentionality and thoughtful design, these elements can transform ordinary spaces into spaces that support human health and wellness.

 

The Power of Biophilia

 

Aside from elevating design, the inclusion of biophilic elements in a project can have numerous positive health benefits for those who use and inhabit that space. Biophilia’s impact on health and wellness may not be something that we are conscious of, but it is a difference that we feel. Humans understand biophilia intuitively.

 

The amount of time humans spend interacting with nature – as well as the amount of time they are disconnected from the natural world – has real, tangible impacts on an individual’s health. In today’s industrial, technologically dominated world, it’s especially important to seek out connections with nature, since many built spaces often forgo biophilic features and the benefits that come with them.

 

The negative health impacts of not having enough connection to nature are:

 

  • High blood pressure
  • Muscle tension
  • Anxiety
  • Poor sleep stemming from an unstable circadian rhythm
  • A weakened immune system
  • Poor focus
  • Weak memory
  • Attention issues like ADHD
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased emotional regulation

 

The positive benefits of exposure to nature, on the other hand, include:

 

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Feelings of safety
  • Restful sleep and a stable circadian rhythm
  • A strong immune system
  • Increased focus
  • Greater memory and learning abilities
  • Higher energy levels
  • Increased emotional regulation

 

Knowing the range of benefits that biophilia has the potential to provide, architects and interior designers have the opportunity to purposefully design spaces with the health and wellbeing of its end-users in mind, positively influencing the experience of a location as well as the feelings of the people occupying it.

 

Some of Ankrom Moisan’s expert design teams have already done this, including biophilic elements in the shared spaces of project to elevate the end-user’s experience of those environments. In a follow up blog post, we will take a deeper look at how biophilia shows up in three distinct Ankrom Moisan healthcare projects, discussing how the inclusion of biophilia can be leveraged to support an evidence-based approach to holistic, whole-person care.

 

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Conversations with Bethanne Mikkelsen

December 14, 2023
Featured Articles about the Future of Workplace

Workplace Team’s Managing Principal, Bethanne Mikkelsen, notices the flows of workplaces and simultaneously motivates clients to stay current and inventive. She extends this expertise to our team, but promotes her knowledge beyond our firm to encourage diversity in the industry, as well as maintaining flexible working strategies that foster a culture of inclusivity. To discover more about her perspective, she has been featured in these articles:

 

How corporate office lighting is getting a makeover to boost productivity

Commercial Office Space Must Evolve to Put People First

Own Who You Are and What You Deserve — Women Leaders in Design Weigh in On Rising to the Top and Empowering Others to Do the Same

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Get to Know (More of) the AM Student Housing Team

December 1, 2023
A Q&A with Jason Jones & Cindy Schaumberg

Two of our Student Housing studio leaders, Jason Jones and Cindy Schaumberg, give us insight into what’s next for student housing (goodbye amenity wars!) and why they’re excited about it. They also share what makes each of them uniquely suited for this work; from college-aged kids to past careers.

 

 

 

 

Cindy Schaumberg, Principal, Market Studio Lead

10 years of experience in student housing

 

 

Q: What do you like best about designing student housing?

 

A: I enjoy working on student housing because it allows me to contribute to the well-being and success of students. Providing a comfortable and safe living environment for students is incredibly rewarding. I love that thoughtful interior design can create a sense of community that will support students during their educational journey and make their time away from home enjoyable.

 

 

Q: What has excited you about future work in this studio?

 

A: There is a focus on creating inclusive and diverse communities within student housing. This involves designing spaces that foster a sense of belonging and respect for different cultures, backgrounds, and identities. By prioritizing diversity and inclusion, student housing can become a place where students feel supported, comfortable, and valued.

 

Additionally, with increasing awareness of environmental issues, sustainable design practices have become a top priority in student housing. Incorporating energy-efficient systems, using eco-friendly materials, and implementing recycling programs are some ways to promote sustainability in student housing.

 

 

Q: What’s uniquely challenging about designing student housing?

 

A: Students come from various backgrounds and have different needs and preferences when it comes to their living arrangements. Designing student housing that can cater to a wide range of preferences, from quiet study spaces to communal gathering areas, can be a challenge, but a challenge we feel is important to embrace.

 

 

Q: What inspires you?

 

A: My daughters! As a parent of two college-age daughters, I understand the delicate balance between providing support and fostering independence. This has made me more aware of the importance of fostering a sense of community and support within student housing. My daughters have given me firsthand experience and knowledge of their needs and preferences. I also have a better understanding of the amenities and features that are essential for a comfortable, productive and healthy living environment.

 

 

Theory U District

 

 

 

Jason Jones, Associate Principal

18 years of experience in student housing

 

 

Q: What do you like best about designing student housing? 

 

A: For me, it’s all about the students and collaborating with like-minded individuals who share a passion for raising the bar in living and learning environments. I take great pride in knowing that I can contribute to positive change in students’ lives and their impact on society on our planet.

 

 

Q: What trends are you seeing in student housing? 

 

A: I am excited to see a shift in our industry that is supporting affordable housing solutions that focus on mental, social, and physical wellness. Biophilia is an overused term these days, but it has a powerful impact on a human’s well-being.

 

 

Q: Is there anything that makes you uniquely suited to working in this studio?  

 

A: My journey in this studio has been a unique blend of two professional lives—one as an architectural professional and the other as a development manager in student housing. These distinct roles have enriched my expertise and vision, allowing me to craft architectural concepts that seamlessly align with financial objectives while upholding the utmost quality. Quality and innovation are at the heart of my work, and I’m excited to keep pushing boundaries in this ever-evolving field.

 

 

Q: What’s a memorable career moment?  

 

A: One of my first student housing projects was remodeling an old dining hall in a student housing complex. We had the opportunity to do some fun design work that we thought the students would love. The day it opened, I snuck in before the students came in and acted like I was going to school there so I could see what they had to say firsthand. Their expressions and the incredible praise of the design still inspire me today.

 

 

Q: What changes have you seen in this studio over the years? 

 

A: Watching the amenity race die. Instead, projects are becoming statements of well-being and sustainability.

 

 

Cornish Commons

 

 

Want to get to know more of the Student Housing Team? Learn about Alissa Brandt and Matt Janssen here. 

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HCAI Made Easy(er)

November 27, 2023
Navigating California’s Office of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI)

HCAI can be an intimidating organization to work with. But it doesn’t need to be. Many simple projects can even be done without a building permit.  

 

 

What building changes can I make without HCAI involvement? 

 

The simplest answer to this question is probably that you shouldn’t make any changes without at least some HCAI involvement. That said, for many types of projects the amount of involvement is limited, and is more a matter of building relationships than building approvals.  

 

An example of this type of project is recarpeting and repainting your lobby. This type of project would likely not require HCAI approval or a building permit. The Freer manual only asks that the Area Compliance Officer (ACO) be notified prior to the start of the project. The ACO will want to confirm that the products you are proposing and the process of getting the work done will not put your residents at risk. They will check that products are not a fire hazard and that you have a plan in place to maintain a safe exit through the area while the work is taking place.  

 

Even if a building permit is not required, design professionals that understand how HCAI works can save you time and money. In the example above experienced designers will know not only which products will meet the fire safety requirements, they will know how to find and package the certifications and other product information HCAI looks for, for easy approval. And while a permitted drawing isn’t needed, a diagram or narrative using industry terminology explaining how the exiting will work can greatly simplify the discussion and avoid unnecessary delays.  

 

 

Did you know that not all HCAI projects require a full building permit review?  

 

Some projects qualify for expedited office review, while others may only require an on-site conversation with your Area Compliance Officer (ACO) and no permit at all. This list gives an idea of when permits may be required, and when a faster process may be available. We identify which process is right for your project and help make sure it qualifies for the simplest path possible. 

 

 

Why does HCAI have a difficult reputation? 

 

HCAI (formerly the Office of Statewide Health and Planning, or OSHPD) came into existence in part in response to the 1971 Sylmar earthquake which caused the collapse of the Olive View Hospital in Sylmar, and Veterans Administration Hospital in San Fernando.  They are responsible for overseeing all healthcare construction in the state of California, with a special emphasis on seismic safety and disaster preparedness.  The 1994 Northridge earthquake proved the effectiveness of the requirements. In that earthquake 11 hospitals collapsed, and others had to be evacuated, but newer hospitals, built in accordance with updated standards suffered only minimal structural damage. 

 

Most buildings are designed for safe exiting for the public, and structural stability for first responders. They are not designed to remain in service after a disaster, or to function while damaged. In hospitals, and to a lesser extent in skilled nursing facilities, the building infrastructure provides life sustaining care which needs to continue to be available in the immediate aftermath of a major seismic event.      

 

Additionally, the needs of hospitals and skilled nursing occupants are very different from most other buildings: many occupants cannot self-evacuate, are not mobile or confined to beds, and the corridors are unfamiliar, these factors and others complicate building life safety planning. The services these buildings provide are needed immediately after, or even during, a major seismic or other disaster event. All these factors demand a higher level of life safety in design.  

 

This higher level of safety means that many products and methods common in the construction industry cannot be used. And many of those that can require much more intensive verification, quality control, and inspection.  Contractors and designers that are not familiar with the requirements are often taken by surprise when products or processes they’ve used on other projects are not allowed, leading to expensive revisions, late projects, and cost overruns. 

 

Careful planning with design professionals and contractors familiar with these constraints can help to mitigate many of these risks. Knowledgeable designers can identify products and processes that have been pre-approved by HCAI. This frees up design time and fees to focus on items not pre-approved, or to develop custom solutions and work with HCAI for approval before construction schedules are impacted.

 

 

  

 

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Summer Travel

November 20, 2023
A Q&A with the Workplace and Healthcare Teams

The summer has wrapped, and wintery weather has found us once again. Our Workplace team had some interesting travels this summer, and they’ve recalled some of their favorite summer travel design inspiration.

 

 

 

Clare Goddard, Senior Associate

 

Q: What was the most compelling design you saw?

 

A: The beauty of what nature has designed. From Gifford Pinchot to Sisters, OR to Rocky Mountain National Park, from lakes to mountains to tundra and trees, our natural world is so filled with beauty. Beauty that is not perfect or repetitive, that takes you out of the mundane of the day-to-day to appreciate the here and now.

 

 

 

Q: How did elements from these new locations translate into your design work?

 

A: That not everything has to be perfect and that those elements of surprise are what set a design apart from the boring.

 

 

 

Q: If you worked remotely while on your trip how & where did you work (desk, cafe, balcony with an ocean view, etc.)? 

 

A: I worked from the kitchen table in Sisters, OR and from my in-laws home office in Colorado. No views, but really nice to be able to wrap up work for the day and go on a hike or to take Millie on a different evening walk 😊.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kay Bates, Interior Designer

 

Q: What was the most compelling design you saw?

 

A: I went to Charlotte, NC for a friend’s wedding. One of the days, my friends and I visited Camp North End. This space has deep history. In 1924, its first intention was for a Ford Motor Company factory. During World War II, the site added 5 massive warehouses to store supplies for soldiers at basic training camps throughout all the southeast. When the Cold War hit, the site’s primary production moved to missile development. Once national threats neutralized, the complex was then sold to a pharmaceutical company. Then in 2017, the 76-acre lot was purchased and opened to the public where 500+ artists, startups, chefs, retail, and cultural festivities now home in this community to express their creativity and collaboration.

 

 

Q: How did elements from these new locations translate into your design work?

 

A: One of the main reasons why I love this industry is because you can truly bring a community together through design. It was a huge inspiration to me to see such a wide range of demographics in one space. There was something for everyone to enjoy. There was a sense of community. Elements from here I can translate into design work would be creating a safe space where communities help each other out instead of a “every-man-for-themselves” mentality. I also admire how they kept many features of the original history while modernizing it for today’s audience.

 

 

 

Q: If you worked remotely while on your trip how & where did you work (desk, cafe, balcony with an ocean view, etc.)?

 

A: I stopped in Atlanta before going to Charlotte and did work from home. I stayed at my parents’ place, and they set me up in my childhood bedroom, which was strange to be back in. We did not have a second monitor, so my mom brought a huge 50” TV I then connected my laptop to. It was super sweet and throughout my workday she would pop her head in and bring me food. Nothing beats a mother’s love. 😊

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aaren DeHaas, Associate Interior Designer

 

Q: What was the most compelling design you saw?

 

A: The most captivating design elements I saw while in Italy were the seamless balance of new and old elements and the intricate details that were used to create such giant marvels. With such a long and rich history there are so many layers to every aspect of the country, everything from its architecture to the customs are influenced by generation after generation of change and growth.

 

 

 

Q: How did elements from these new locations translate into your design work?

 

A: One thing this trip reminded me of is how important the details truly are in design. The design as a whole will catch people’s eyes and cause intrigue, but it’s the details that are created up close that hold the attention and make things much more exciting and unique. It’s also important to remember to work with what you have. New, cutting-edge design can be exciting but there are so many stunning creations and forms that have been around for centuries, you don’t always have to reinvent the wheel. A place’s history is something to be cherished and celebrated, bringing in elements that speak to the history of your project will only make it that much more special in the end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jessica Kirshner, Associate Interior Designer

 

Q: What was the most compelling design you saw?

 

A: Chicago is such a fun city to live in, especially as an interior designer. I always stop myself or my friends from admiring the greystones, retro style, gothic revival, etc. To be able to surround yourself with design inspiration every day is a game changer.

 

 

Q: How did elements from these new locations translate into your design work?

 

A: Overall, the architecture in Chicago sets a very different tone than what I’m previously used to in Portland. On any given day you can explore multiple different neighborhoods and see completely different styles. This wide range of architectural styles has begun to heavily influence my personal design style. I can appreciate the historical aspects of building and want to pull those elements into a project while creating a more modern and suitable design that will fit our client’s needs.

 

Q: If you worked remotely while on your trip how & where did you work (desk, cafe, balcony with an ocean view, etc.)?

 

A: I am now fully remote working out of my apartment, with AM allowing us to explore a more hybrid approach to our working style this created an easy transition. It doesn’t hurt that I have a gorgeous view of the city from my apartment as well!!

 

 

 

 

 

Emily Feicht, Interior Designer

 

Q: What was the most compelling design you saw?

 

A: I was really intrigued by the varieties of scale that I saw in Nashville, the lighting design and signage on the main road was incredibly unique, and how the city integrates the new and the old so seamlessly. Also, there is a “stage” everywhere, even at the airport and the botanical gardens, the vignettes of performance space were remarkably interesting.

 

 

Q: How did elements from these new locations translate into your design work?

 

A: Nashville is such a fun and lively place, it is encouraging to see designs that could be considered too kitschy, but this city reminds you if it is bright and entertaining, even over-the-top it has personality. I would like to nickname this the “Dolly Parton approach.” Especially because I went twice to the Dolly Parton-themed bar, and that had personality down to the drink garnishes and the beer taps.

 

 

Q: If you worked remotely while on your trip how & where did you work (desk, cafe, balcony with an ocean view, etc.)?

 

A: Many people outside of the interior design industry are unfamiliar with the opportunity that we get to go on factory tours to tile, furniture, flooring, lighting, etc. manufacturers to learn more about their products. The second part of my trip was focused on Crossville Tile, in Crossville, TN where we learned about their tile manufacturing process and sustainability initiatives. So, while I was not on my laptop, I was out in the field spending time with other designers for continuing education and in an educational environment. These trips are a great way to make connections with designers both in Portland and around the US.

 

 

 

 

 

Beth Mahan, Interior Designer

 

Q: What was the most compelling design you saw?

 

A: Design?! It was all about the food!! We were staying in Geneva, Switzerland, for the summer, and did a day trip with friends to the north end of the lake where we visited Le Corbusier’s Villa “Le Lac.” It was the summer home he built for his parents, right at the water’s edge; narrow and streamlined with an open floor plan, one of the first examples of ribbon windows, and beautifully framed views. It was extremely innovative and has stood the test of time.

 

Additionally, we visited the EPFL University campus, a prestigious university in Switzerland, with a campus full of famous architecture. My favorite was the Rolex Learning Center with its cascading design, sweeping over and around the user, through its organic forms and sloped interiors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q: How did elements from these new locations translate into your design work?

 

A: Working in healthcare we don’t have a lot of opportunities to take creative risks, however it’s always important to remember that we can include moments of intrigue and interest. While there isn’t a direct correlation between what we visited and my current design work, the inspiration is always welcome.

 

 

 

 

Q: If you worked remotely while on your trip how & where did you work (desk, cafe, balcony with an ocean view, etc.)?

 

A: I worked remotely while we were abroad, based out of my husband’s apartment in Geneva. Luckily, it meant I could set up my workstation and leave it intact, whereas when we travel and work out of hotels it can be laborious to get yourself set up each day and find a good workspace that is not going to leave you with shoulder pain. My recommendation is finding the pillows you need to get yourself at the correct seated height, and I always travel with an external monitor so I can have two screens. Two screens are a must! And there are lots of options for lightweight travel monitors. Otherwise, of course a nice view and a pleasant breeze are a bonus! The other tricky part when you are working and traveling is getting food for the day, so if you can find a hotel with a mini fridge that helps. And then of course identify your favorite croissant and espresso spot.

 

 

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Creating Active Environments within Senior Living Communities 

September 26, 2023
Design that supports the aging population.

Creating senior living communities with more “active adult” opportunities for residents to engage in is a smart and viable option for many communities. This design concept helps motivate seniors to become more independent and active, encourages socialization among residents, and offers conveniences to staff members at facilities with ongoing staff shortages.  

 

Interested in learning about our design solutions for active communities? Read the full article, written by Jason Erdahl, Principal and Director of Senior Communities at Ankrom Moisan, on Seniors Housing Business. Or continue reading here for a brief summary.  

 

Connection through nature and socialization 

 

The idea of incorporating active environments into assisted living properties is heavily inspired by lifestyle, learning and wellness amenities. When designing these spaces, it is important to offer a variety of choices and to incorporate areas that encourage socialization, connection and spaces that improve one’s well-being. Some of these areas include cafes, theaters and arts and crafts rooms, as well as health and wellness centers with exercise rooms, aerobics spaces and swimming pools.  When creating these active environments for seniors, it is also important to incorporate elements of nature. For example, biophilic elements help support physical and mental wellness with access to the outdoors, natural light, fresh air and materials that are found locally with healthy qualities.  

 

 

Strategically locate amenities 

 

The location of these amenities also helps play a role in promoting an active lifestyle for seniors. A popular design choice many architects and designers integrate within senior living are hubs. These hubs create a centralized grouping of amenities to foster socialization and activity while creating convenience and easy access for residents. The hubs typically contain all the amenities within one area including food services, entertainment, and health and wellness programs.  

 

 

Be adaptable and versatile  

 

In low-acuity care settings, architects and designers must take into account that these spaces are designed for those who are aging. Therefore, creating spaces that are flexible, adaptable and allow for diversity in capability is paramount.  

 

Specifically, when designing activity and amenity spaces, flexibility is key as many buildings do not have the space to accommodate all of the activities that might be beneficial for the residents. Providing common spaces for amenities that can change and adapt throughout the day allows staff and residents to have more fulfilling experiences. For example, a common room can host yoga classes in the morning and then bingo that afternoon. 

 

 

Build tech-savvy spaces 

 

Technology plays a huge role in senior living design and in encouraging residents to be more active. We are designing buildings with technology infrastructures, with both wired and wireless technologies, to accommodate the increase in device usage. Smart-home technologies and building automation for fixtures, appliances and systems allow residents to not only be more connected and engage in more fitness activities but feel safer with tech devices that monitor their health. 

 

Read the full article on Seniors Housing Business >

 

 

 

By Jason Erdahl, Principal and Director of Senior Communities

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Interior Design Trend Report

September 11, 2023
Findings from NeoCon and Milan Design Week 2023

Commercial design trade shows and exhibitions, NeoCon and Milan Design Week, both took place recently, showcasing the latest interior design trends. Ankrom Moisan interior designers Jenna Mogstad and Clare Goddard were able to make an in-person appearance at NeoCon while our material librarians Rian Macleod and Liza Meek kept a close eye on what was happening at Milan Design Week. Our team took plenty of notes and have reported back to share the top design trends and takeaways from both events that we expect to see more of in the coming year —from color palettes to furniture trends.

 

Clare and Jenna at NeoCon

 

Clare and Jenna at NeoCon 2023.

 

 

NeoCon Banner

 

Reporting back with the top design trends from NeoCon, Clare and Jenna observed new developments in designing for purpose. The two designers noticed shifts in everything from flexibility and connection to collaboration and sustainability.

 

Flexibility and Playfulness

 

NeoCon demonstrated new ways of thinking about flexibility and playfulness. Traveling furniture designed to be revised and reshaped to suit today’s hybrid schemes, where different teams occupy an office on rotating days, highlighted the significance of fluidity and multi-purpose design in today’s post-pandemic world.

 

Neocon Flexibility

 

 

Connection and Disconnection

 

Another design innovation stemming from the fallout of the pandemic – as well as breakthroughs in automation – centers on connection and disconnection. While we move towards an increased pace of technological advancement, the desire for a human touch is growing. Equity in connection while optimizing all views and participants is extremely important in this regard.

 

Neocon connection

 

 

Collaboration Fatigue 

 

Another concern is collaboration fatigue, which is the idea that people may tire themselves out through too much collaboration without an impactful increase in productivity. To combat this, there is a push for more private refuge spots and for more privacy in general in workspaces, the benefits of which are an increased ability to accommodate heads-down focus work and a boost in productivity.

 

Neocon Collaboration 1

Neocon Collaboration 2

 

 

Sustainability

 

Sustainability was another hot topic at this year’s NeoCon. One trend we noticed within the realm of sustainability was circularity and “behind the scenes partnerships.” Items that are typically discarded, such as milk cartons and fashion textiles, are increasingly being reused and utilized in new products – whether they are by the same parent company or a different partner company that can make use of those materials. Products intended to be somewhat disposable are employing biodegradable materials to shorten their decomposition lifespan and reduce waste.

 

We also saw that brands are increasingly bringing their sustainability points to the foreground of their marketing. Selling points such as recyclability, repurposed materials, and carbon footprint were leveraged to increase brand and product affinity. Some of the product designs that were advertised in this manor were 3D-printed on demand, meaning that there is no excess product waste waiting to be purchased. Other products were created from biodegradable plant waste and other natural materials. In all cases, we saw a shift towards conscientious, sustainable designs that put the planet and the environment ahead of maximizing profits.

 

Neocon Sustainability 1

Neocon sustainability 2

 

 

Milan Design Week Banner

 

The insights discovered at Milan Design Week were equally exciting. Breaking down the top trends from the exhibition, Rian and Liza took note of new directions in materials, color trends, designs, as well as creative process innovations.

 

Material Transparency and Circularity

 

For use of materials, it is expected that claims of sustainability are credible. Transparency around the source of materials is essential. We noticed a celebration of timeless sustainability in circular supply chains and processes, meaning that materials are recovered and re-used in new products. Additionally, the focus on sustainability at the end of a product’s life has led to an increase in the use of single-material structures, making it easier to repair and recycle them.

 

Y2K Materials

 

 

Juxtaposition: Earthy and Digital

 

Many of the surfaces we saw in the coverage of trends at Milan Design Week were digitally amplified with illuminated, glossy, cyber-inspired finishes. Juxtaposed textures in woven and braided natural materials, as well as basketing, highlighted earthly delights. Soft, cozy fabrics were very popular as well, mostly made from sheepskin, boucle, and other shaggy textures.

 

Design week juxtaposition 1

Design week Juxtaposition 2

 

 

Vintage-Inspired Palettes

 

Color was another big trend this year. The biggest movement we saw in this field was a resurgence of vintage-inspired palettes and patterns. Retro geometry straight out of the 80s was seen through a surge of digital effects and dynamic finishes that feels new and captivating. The shapes, which are both futurist and graphic, are lively and loud. 70s-inspired tones such as warm, earthy neutrals and terra cotta were often combined with colors like red, yellow, orange, and blue.

 

Design week vintage 1

Design week vintage 2

Design week vintage 3

 

 

Comfort and Curves

 

As for furniture design, there were three key trends that we noticed. Curves and voluptuous, evolving shapes were leaned on to promote comfort across product launches. Soft surfaces and quiet spaces enveloped chairs with generous proportions. Seating was also ergonomic. Wide arms were often draped over light frames to create airy silhouettes. Lastly, we saw the return of the uber-comfortable 70s-inspired conversation pit and other pit-style seating options that promote communal lounging.

 

Design week curves 1

Design week curves 2

Design week curves 3

 

Surreal Lighting

 

Lighting was another area of novelty, seen in stunning installations. Flexible adaptability for creating playful, somewhat surreal atmospheres made for an imaginative experience. Water-filled basins were used to create surface patterns with light and sound, similar to the liquid light shows popular during the psychedelic 60s.

 

Design week lighting

 

 

Biophilia

 

Biophilic design was prevalent as an approach that emphasizes the connection between people and nature. The philosophy is that by bringing the outside in, design can promote wellbeing and creativity for end-users of a space.

 

Design week biophilia

 

Embracing Technological Innovation

 

The industry innovations we saw at Milan Design week spanned everything from the natural to the computerized. Many breakthroughs were pioneered by machines. AI and 3D printing software were utilized in collaboration with the physical world to innovate new unique design approaches and solutions. For example, 3D printed stainless steel is lighter and requires much less energy to produce than typical stainless steel. Further exploration and creativity were unleashed by patterned silhouettes created by AI software.

 

Design week tech advancements

 

If these trends from Milan Design Week and NeoCon 2023 are indicative of anything, it’s that designers are looking ahead toward the future of technology and ecologically sustainable design, while taking inspiration from the shapes, forms, colors, and patterns of the past. At the terminus of future and past, design innovation is progressing by leaps and bounds. We are excited to see what comes next, and even more excited to be a part of the ongoing transformation of innovative design.

 

Rian Macleod Headshot    Liza Meek Medium

 

By Rian Macleod and Liza Meek, Materials Library Coordinators

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An Interview with the Oregon Chapter’s 2022-2023 IIDA President, Clare Goddard

August 31, 2023

I sat down with Clare Goddard, now Past President of the IIDA Oregon Chapter to hear about her reflections on the 2022-2023 Board year.

 

 

Q: What has been the most rewarding part about being IIDA President?

 

A: I am going to miss the chapter leader conferences. There’s something so powerful about connecting with other IIDA leaders across the region and the US and being able to commiserate or learn from them (or just make new friends). Even though you don’t get a weekend, I always come back feeling excited to tackle a new challenge.

 

For my term as President, I think the most rewarding part was being a catalyst for change in how the board operates. Having the board willing to not continue with the status quo and embrace change was exciting; not only because it lifted a huge weight off my shoulders, but I feel I was able to make my mark on the IIDA Oregon chapter.

 

I also credit IIDA with keeping me sane and connected when we were all remote – especially during lockdown. Being a part of IIDA and having an outlet outside of work helped to fill my cup and to build my network. I am truly so grateful to be part of this design community.

 

 

Q: What would be your best tip for balancing or prioritizing IIDA and work, life, etc.?

 

 

A: I’ve always had a very clear division between my work and my home life, and those boundaries really helped me in my presidency as well. I had to be aware of my To Do List- I had to get detailed and ask myself what I can accomplish today. What can I realistically accomplish this week? And how am I going to divide that up?

 

I also set strict hours for myself – capping Ankrom work at 40 (no overtime) and trying to do IIDA work after dinner or on the weekends. I really had to focus on prioritizing and stick to those priorities.

 

I think there were sometimes when there was not always the balance that I would have liked between work, IIDA and personal life. In the end though, I was able to find that harmony – and harmony to me is such a better word than balance because balance to me is like one side is always winning and there is more effort in just making them equal. Harmony means that you’ve found some way to make both your personal and your professional life work together and neither one is weighted.

 

I was also incredibly lucky in my presidency to be able to work 100% remotely from home. That has also allowed me to be more flexible and to be better able to create that harmony. Flexibility is key- being able to make my schedule work for myself.

 

 

Q: What has been the most challenging experience during your presidency?

 

A: It was the first six months of my presidency before I took a step back and asked the question “why”. Why did we operate the way we operated?

 

At that time, I was so overwhelmed and felt like I was letting everyone in my life down because I was stretched so thin and felt like I was not making a difference – that I was just trying to keep my head above water. I was just going from event to event, from meeting to meeting and not really accomplishing anything. And then I just had this moment where I realized, I was the president and could make a change to improve how we operated and the president’s role in general. That I could change it, and that I needed to change it. I immediately felt a sense of calm and empowerment. How can we make the Presidency better, how can we make the Directors’ positions better? Giving everyone – including me – a sense of agency to give back to our design community in a more thoughtful way.

 

 

Q: What have you learned while being the IIDA President, skills or experiences, that transfer to your work or have helped you grow in your role here at Ankrom and then specifically on our Workplace team?

 

 

A: The biggest thing being IIDA President has helped me with is delegation. I realized that I could lean more on my team and that I do not have to do it all. I also got to use my business degree – so reusing a skill that had been gathering dust – since running an IIDA chapter is like running a small business. In running that small business and planning multiple events, I was also able to practice my project management skills.

 

The other skill I got to work on was networking and relationship management. As IIDA President – attending both local and national events – I am the face of interior design for the state of Oregon (as our mission statement says). Therefore, when I am at these events, I need to network and act accordingly to make sure that I’m supporting sponsor relations, board member relations, and in general making sure I am representing the organization to the best of my abilities. And I think that’s directly applicable to my role at Ankrom, that when I am at work events or gatherings, I am a representative for Ankrom.

 

 

Q: How are you, your partner, and your dog going to unwind after finishing this year?

 

 

A: We have already taken and planned a few trips to get more quality time together! We took our girl Millie (dog daughter) on her first camping trip a few weeks ago – Millie even SUP’d for the first time. And then in October after the Design Excellence Awards are done, Jacob (partner) and I booked a week trip to Sedona, AZ. We haven’t been on a long trip since I became President, so we’re going to take a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon, go hiking, mountain biking, go to a spa, enjoy some wineries, and eat some yummy food.

 

Also, since I will now have free time, Jacob bought me ceramics lessons at a local pottery studio. I am excited to pretend I am on The Great Pottery Throw Down!

 

 

Thank you, Clare, for an amazing year- I’ve loved watching you be the President with such grace and honesty, both as a colleague and as an IIDA board member!

 

Clare Goddard, Senior Associate Interior Designer

 

Emily Feicht, Interior Designer

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Getting Involved in the Interior Design Industry

August 1, 2023
The Benefits of Joining the IIDA

Three members of our interiors department, Roberta Pennington, Clare Goddard and Jessica Kirshner, discuss their experience with the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) and how their involvement in the organization has propelled their professional careers. 

 

 

Left to right: Jessica Kirshner, Maddy Gorman, Clare Goddard, Roberta Pennington, and Jenna Mogstad at an IIDA event

 

 

Q: What’s your experience with IIDA? How were you involved?  

 

Roberta: I have been an IIDA member since graduating (the second time) in 2001. My first event was an awards breakfast at the Governor Hotel in PDX also in 2001; I didn’t know anyone, but the Members were super friendly and welcoming.  

I attended MANY events consequently then stepped up my volunteer time to the Board in 2009. I dove into the President Elect role during a time when Members, including myself, did not have jobs. IIDA gave me the stability and connection I was missing during the year I was unemployed.  

After my Presidency, I stayed on as a Chapter Advisor and most recently came back to serve on the Board with the Advocacy team. I’ve been involved in one way or another with finding legal recognition for commercial interior design in Oregon since 2003, and I want to continue to be a part of the momentum gaining speed nationally. It’s an exciting time for interior designers on the legal front. 

 

Clare: I have been involved on the board for a little under 5 years (started October of 2018) first as the VP of Communications and then moved into President-Elect/President/Past President roles.  

 

Jessica: I started with IIDA in college, I was on the student board as the fundraising chair. Once I graduated and was hired on full time at AM, I joined the Oregon Chapter Board as the Director of Social Media and I have held this position for the past 2 years.  

 

 

 

 

Q: How did membership in IIDA benefit you professionally? 

 

Roberta: Networking! I can go anywhere locally and nationally, and a complete network of design leaders are available to tap.  

I became much more active during the Recession in 2009 when I stepped up to be President-Elect. The network of people on the Board were instrumental in getting my name to the top of a list of persons to hire when firms were not hiring. I’m very grateful to this group. 

I also got to know women in the profession who were and still are my mentors and friends. Their experiences showed me having a child does not mean the end of my career. Women don’t have to “act like a man” to be taken serious. Speaking my mind does not make me a “bitch.” AND: I’m a very entertaining public speaker. Very liberating. 

 

Clare: Prior to joining the board (and when I was in San Diego), I credit IIDA with connecting me to potential employers and creating a sense of community in a city where I knew no one. Joining the board here in Oregon has greatly improved my leadership and delegation skills. It has also helped me to create a sense of community here in Portland, beyond AM. I consider it a privilege to have served this design community on the board in helping to be the face of interior design for the state of Oregon. Being part of the board, in any capacity, is how I give back to the profession that I am so passionate about.  

 

Jessica: I have been able to attend countless events that have both inspired me and helped me professionally. These ranged from forums to socials. Each event hitting on a different and important topic in our industry. It has also been a great networking opportunity that has allowed me to connect with people I wouldn’t have met otherwise.  

 

 

 

 

Q: What’s your most memorable moment from your time in IIDA? 

 

Roberta: A standing ovation at the Annual Celebration 2010 at Ziba. I delivered my incoming President speech. I wasn’t sure I was coming in with the right message; that being “We’re not dead; we will get thru this Recession somehow.”  When the room of people stood up, clapped, and cheered, I knew I was going to be okay. The CEO of IIDA National was there and told me she would never go on after me again. A real head-swelling moment. 

 

Clare: That has to be the CLCs (Chapter Leaders Conferences) held in Chicago and regionally. I love getting to connect with leaders from other chapters across the US! It was amazing to learn from others and to make new friends. The CLCs will be what I miss the most post-presidency. 

 

Jessica: I don’t necessarily have a specific moment but getting to serve on board with such amazing people has been so motivating. It’s helped me to grow in so many ways. I’m so thankful to have been on the board.  

 

 

 

 

Q: How did AM support your involvement?  

 

Roberta: In my Board involvement, AM has reimbursed annual dues as well as allocated time for volunteering. My current role as VP of Advocacy means I’m spending time meeting with committees, legislators, consultants, and peers often. I can keep my PTO for actual vacation time. 

AM has also been an annual sponsor to the Chapter every year an employee has served on the Board. That sponsorship is instrumental in keeping the Chapter going. 

Leadership has also written letters to legislators during recent pushes for legal recognition of interior design. This small act shows the value AM places on my education, experience, the NCIDQ, and what I bring to the table as a commercial interior designer.  

 

Clare: AM is one of the more supportive firms in the state. They not only encourage employees to be on the board, but back up that support by paying for IIDA membership and providing 2 paid hours per week for board tasks for those serving on the board. I count myself very lucky to have such a supportive firm.  

Also, I think because of that support, Ankrom has had consistently the highest number of people serving on the board (this past year, there were five AM’ers on the board). We always joke that House Ankrom is taking over. Additionally, not only has AM supported individual board members, but they have also lent us the office for multiple board retreats and board events. 

 

Jessica: AM was completely supportive throughout my time on the board, as well as everyone else in the interiors department who was on the board. The interiors leadership team encouraged us to attend IIDA meetings and events and would even show up to events in support.  

 

 

 

 

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