Wellness By Design

Welcome to a new era where our surroundings actively contribute to our wellbeing

By Judy Chapman

In a world where most of us spend 90% of our time indoors, a growing awareness of the significance of nature, non-toxic building materials, clean water, air and social interaction has propelled a vast array of ecosystems that are reshaping how we live, work, sleep and play.

From wellness residences, cities, communities and healthier homes, wellness in design promises a new standard of living – one where every space is designed for humanity to not just survive but truly thrive.

WELLNESS REAL ESTATE ON THE RISE

Wellness real estate, defined by properties fostering health, wellbeing, and quality of life, integrates facilities to enrich physical, mental, social and emotional experiences.

The wellness real estate market, identified by the Global Wellness Institute (GWI) as the fastest growth sector within the $5.6 trillion wellness economy, now stands at $400 billion with an impressive annual growth rate. GWI forecasts it to hit $887 billion by 2027.

Globally there are now over 2,000 wellness residential developments underway with the United States leading the market. These projects range from wellness communities to luxury residences and individuals seeking home spa amenities – because who doesn’t want the benefits of a sauna at home!

LUXURY WELLNESS RESIDENCES

Let’s all move into the spa!

The Well Bay Harbour Islands (www.thewellbayharbor.com) in Miami sets the standard in upscale wellness residences.

Developed in collaboration with Terra and designed by Arquitectonica with creative direction by Anda Andrei Design and interiors by Meyer Davis studios, the ethos revolves around placing wellness at the core of one’s life, fostering the time and space to slow down and prioritize wellbeing.

The 8-story development features 66 bespoke condos crafted with non-toxic materials and equipped with amenities such as purified air systems, built-in red-light therapies, smart kitchens and spa-like bathrooms. Residences will enjoy access to 22,000 square feet of integrated wellness including spa and fitness, hydrotherapy, cold plunges to meditation yoga, and pilates classes along with health-conscious dining options.

“Community is not just about being together but about creating an environment where wellness flourishes collectively,” says Kane Sarhan, Cofounder and Chief Creative Officer of THE WELL.

Six Senses (www.sixsenses.com/en/residencesare) is another example of hospitality brands developing luxury wellness real estate worldwide. From opulent penthouses in Dubai to residences in Belize, Bangkok, and beyond, Six Senses owners can relish a lifestyle with access to some of the world’s best wellness amenities.

HEALTHY HOSPTALITY

Hotels and spas have been long been at the forefront in promoting a wellness lifestyle.

Welcome to Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills (www.fourseasons.com/losangeles) where an entire floor dedicated to wellness allows guests to stay on track with their health and fitness.

Partnering with Delos Living, each wellness suite features air purification systems, circadian rhythm-synched lighting, water dechlorinators, hypoallergenic wood floors, a soundscape machine for sleep support and in-room guided meditations narrated by Deepak Chopra. A Well Office provides a performance-enhancing environment with air purifiers and Luna standing desk stools, while the Private Fitness Suite is equipped with Peloton and Soul Cycle bikes.

While many hotels emphasize wellness through programs and activities, Nestwell Hospitality (nestwellhospitality.com) is presenting new opportunities for hoteliers: offering guests a hotel bedroom experience entirely dedicated to enhancing physical, emotional and cognitive wellbeing.

‘Wellness and wellbeing are the new sustainability’, explains co-founder Motti Essakow.

He elaborates that a Nestwell hotel room concept prioritizes silent architecture, neurasthenic design and slow luxury experiences, fostering a deeper, more purposeful form of slow hospitality and slow travel.

A purpose designed Nestwell hotel room features five essential elements:

Sleep – Certified organic bed mattresses, GOTS certified bed linen, and a plant-based, hypoallergenic Pillow Menu. A wellbeing enhancing mini bar offers organic snacks and beverages.

Water – In-room purifying water system for both drinking and showering.

Light – Pioneering Integrated Circadian and Bio Adaptive Lighting system adjusts colors automatically according to the time of the day.

Indoor Air Quality – A smart, 24/7 air purifier ensures 99.9% bacteria and mold-free air.

Materiality – Innovative, natural materials, sometimes 3D printed, enhance wellbeing throughout the room, includes ceiling, walls, floors and fixtures and furnishings.

HEALTHIER WORKPLACES ARE THE FUTURE

With more than 75% of Americans wanting to continue to work remotely, the lines between home and workplaces are blurring. Companies are beckoning workers back to the office with healthier, innovative and nature-filled environments.

JP Morgan Chase & Co has flipped its original Park Avenue HQ to be a ‘breathing building’. Opening in 2025, the 60-story tower will feature twice the amount of fresh air required by Manhattan’s building code with state-of-the-art air filtration system for its 14,000 workers. As well, they have doubled the outdoor spaces and the building will also feature automatic solar shades to optimize natural light.

With the understanding of how sunlight and nature affect our mental wellbeing, offices of the future will celebrate garden atriums, natural light and rooftop gardens. Companies offering meditation nooks and massage chairs, sleep pods and cycling enclaves will become the norm.

WELLNESS COMMUNITIES

Intentional communities are also gaining momentum.

Step into Serenbe (www.serenbe.com), a community living on 65,000 acres of nature on the outskirts of Atlanta. It’s not a commune nor centered around a religion. The common thread is the simple desire to live a happier and healthier lifestyle. The biophilic landscape features nature trails and preserved forests with wellness services, restaurants plus a 25-acre organic farm and regular farmers’ market. Sustainably built homes feature edible gardens and native herbs.

In Columbus, Ohio, The Gravity Project (www.gravityproject.com/live) beckons urbanites with an innovative blend of work, life and wellness. It integrates mixed-use residential options with 8,000 square feet of wellness including fitness, yoga and meditation, indoor and outdoor social spaces including pet parks, co-working and co-dining.

For those yearning mountain air, Velvaere (www.velvaereparkcity.com) in Park City, Utah offers a 60-acre community of 115 ski-in, ski-out residences, cabins and luxury estates integrated with wellness. Experience cryotherapy, hyperbaric oxygen champers, contrast bathing and IV infusions, complemented with exclusive access to Fountain Life’s advanced medical and longevity care.

INSPIRAITIONAL WELLNESS CITIES

Master-planned healthy cities are another inspiring movement.

Florida’s Lake Nona is a well-established holistic urban city blending 17-square miles of residences with access to cutting edge medical facilities, education institutes, technology, innovation. It features trails and sidewalks connecting residences to community events, social interaction and activities.

Sweden has just announced plans for a 200,000 sqm GoCo Health Innovation City in Gothenburg. Designed to attract the world’s leading research, science and entrepreneurs to accelerate health and wellness, the ecosystem will feature health clubs, restaurants, and retail. Their first neighborhood with 450 sustainability-built residences featuring solar panels will open next year.

The King of Bhutan recently unveiled plans for a 1,000 square kilometer sustainable Mindfulness City ‘Gelephu’ that set a new standard in what cities of the future can be –featuring sustainable homes and businesses, a hydroelectric dam to power the city with clean energy, an East-West hospital, green technology, agriculture and education – all integrated with nature.

Saudi Arabia’s Neom project will be a mega-city focused around health and wellness. Neom is envisioned as a futuristic city with a focus on sustainability, innovation and quality of life. The project aims to attract global investment and talent, with plans for advanced infrastructure, sustainability energy sources, and cutting-edge technologies.

In Singapore, ‘the city in nature’, the government recently introduced policies and innovations to promote healthier lifestyles, aiming for improved longevity. Across the city, 300km of trails and greenways encourage physical activity while connecting urban attractions. In-mall climbing gyms provide fitness opportunities.

HEALTHIER HOMES FOR ALL

There’s also a growing trend in regenerative homes that are self-sufficient in case of another pandemic or something similar. People are investing in homes that generate their own electricity, capture and treat all water on-site with built-in waste management and good growing sources.

The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) is an evidence-based, third-party certified certification program dedicated to transforming the way homes are designed, built, and maintained to support human health and wellbeing.

It recently unveiled its WELL for residential certification program that can be utilized by architects, designers, engineers, developers, home builders, homeowners and tenants alike and is designed to be accessible at all price points in the market.

President and CEO of IWBI, Rachel Hodgdon explains that the past few years has seen an unprecedented level of demand for healthier homes.

’Given that backdrop, we set out to fundamentally shift the standard of design for all types of residences, for market-rate single family homes as well as for multifamily buildings, to be far healthier and more conducive to our wellbeing.’ She says WELL for residential program addresses new and existing buildings.

Miami-based design and development firm, Caplow Manzano, is an early adopter for the IWBI’s WELL for residential program. Their first certified WELL Residence is CM1, that is an elevated 2,400 square feet single family house opening in Miami in April.

Caplow Manzano’s on-going mission is to create the healthiest homes available, emphasizing air quality, solar energy, ventilation, moisture control; thermal performance, and carbon reduction all designed to protect investments for generations to come.

Ultimately, the WELL for residential initiative aims to democratize wellness, empowering homeowners, buyers, and tenant to prioritize their wellbeing, fostering healthier and happier lifestyles.

YOUR HOME IS YOUR SANCTUARY

Imagine coming home to a sanctuary that replenishes your mood, sleep and energy.

Wellness design has evolved from an afterthought into a fundamental aspect of luxurious living. Top-tier amenities such as saunas, experience showers, relaxation loungers, cold plunge pools, ice baths and even snow rooms are making their way into the homes of those who value a wellness-oriented lifestyle.

The Essence of Heat: Saunas in Home Wellness

Saunas have long been celebrated not only for their therapeutic warmth and associated health benefits, including improved circulation, detoxification, and stress relief, but also welcomed respite from our digital-centric world.

Today’s home saunas come in virtually every shape and style, from low-tech wood burners to high-tech smart saunas, rustic chic to sexy and sleek. Custom-designed saunas are built to fit into unused, small spaces like under stairs or eaves, while design-first sauna models like the new S11 Sauna, designed by Studio F.A. Porsche, for KLAFS or the company’s line of Matteo Thun-designed sauna and steam rooms are redefining the concept of relaxation and wellness, marrying state-of-the-art technology with breathtaking, iconic design principles.

The Sensory Journey: Experience Showers

Experience showers from the likes of Aquaform and Dornbracht are elevating the simple act of bathing into an immersive sensory journey. With features like varying water pressures, temperature-controlled environments, and even chromotherapy, these showers create a customizable atmosphere that can invigorate or relax. Customization is key in these installations, enabling users to control every element of their experience, turning daily routines into luxurious spa-like rituals.

Timeless Relaxation: Loungers with a Purpose

Today’s homeowners are leveling up their wellness rooms to give them the time, space and comfort for relaxation between hot and cold treatments. Ceramic loungers that relax users by enveloping them in gentle infrared heat from manufacturers like Sommerhuber are gaining in popularity, while the SWAY Sleep Lounger from KLAFS doubles as a spa lounger and a sleep therapy bed, rocking users into a refreshing 20-minute power nap. Loungers can come with built-in technology for music therapy, light therapy, and even massage features.

The Invigorating Chill: Cold Features for Recovery

While heat plays a significant role in wellness design, cold features are crucial to an at-home wellness routine. Though a cold shower can suffice here, homeowners are also opting for ice baths, cold plunge pools and even snow rooms, providing a method for muscle recovery, invigorating the immune system and nurturing our bodies with good stress. These features, once exclusive to elite athletes and wellness centers are making their way into more homes.

LOOKING FORWARD: Advancing Wellness Design with BioGeometry

BioGeometry, pioneered by Dr. Ibrahim Karim, is a design language and “physics of quality” that is now being used to transform environmental stressors into positive energy qualities.

Through its unique geometric shapes, BioGeometry enhances spaces with a harmonizing energy quality that addresses modern challenges including geopathic stress, technological pollution, emf’s and even compromised water quality ensuring safer living spaces. It is used as an essential tool for designers, architects, and developers focused on creating spaces that promote health and vitality.

Globally recognized, BioGeometry has demonstrated remarkable improvements as seen in projects like the “Miracle of Hemberg”. This pilot research project is under the patronage of the Swiss Mediation Authority for Mobile Communication and Environment (MAMCE) to remedy aliments of electro-sensitivity and has been successful in eliminating the aliments of electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS), among other health conditions.

A collaboration with Italian luxury design company, Harmonic Shapes (www.harmonicshapes.com) has enriched this scientific approach. Harmonic Shapes is now producing elegant interior design elements that not only elevate the aesthetic of a space but also imbue it with life-enhancing energies.

One such project has been the redesign of the glamorous Yacht Club de Monaco using the Harmonic Shapes. The vibrational designs of BioGeometry textures have transformed the optimal energetic environment here into one of harmony and wellbeing.

By integrating BioGeometry and Harmonic Shapes into projects, spaces become hubs of health and positive energy. It presents an opportunity for architects, designers, hoteliers, spas and the like to elevate spaces and make a positive contribution towards human health and holistic wellbeing in immeasurable ways.

Australian skincare brand, Synthesis Organics (www.synthesiorganics.com) has also partnered with Biogeometry and Harmonic Shapes to bring these offerings into the wellness industry. ☐

Judy Chapman is an International Spa Designer and consults for hotel, spa and wellness brands around the world including Menla Mountain Retreat in the USA. Judy also develops white label skincare products for spas and individuals. She is the former Editor-in-Chief of Spa Asia magazine and author of several books on wellness and spas. Judy is currently based in Bali, Indonesia.
www.judychapman.com.au

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