Re:Mind Studio – London
There is growing evidence that Biophilic Design can improve physical and psychological health when incorporated into the built environment. Biophilic Design applies the principles that humans have an innate attraction to nature and that increasing our connection with natural elements through the spaces in which we inhabit, work or relax, can improve our cognitive functioning and general wellbeing.
Physical and psychological health are at the forefront of our latest project, Re:Mind Studio in London. The studio, incorporating a yoga/meditation studio, retail space and tea tasting area, is designed to give stressed out Londoners a moment to breath. Biophilic design decisions have been used alongside guidelines from the WELL Building Standard to truly create a healthy space, with good air quality, high levels of natural light and an increased connection to nature. Even brief exposure to nature and natural stimuli has been shown to have positive effects on a person’s heart rate, blood pressure and sympathetic nervous system. [i]
Within the retail area of the scheme the design incorporates Douglas Fir, rearticulating display shelves which hold a range of eco products, plants and yoga equipment. A porthole window behind the reception desk allows a brief glimpse through from the retail spaces to the comfortable tea tasting areas.
With several tea silos on the back wall of the space, Re:Mind keeps a stock of locally grown herbal teas and allows customers to brew and taste the teas themselves using a Quooker boiling water tap. The kitchen run is constructed from highly textural, blackened and wire brushed timber – the heightened grain creates an absorbing, natural texture which helps to evoke a sense of nature within the space. The timber is paired with a splashback of warm pink, hand glazed tiles and a recycled glass, Resilica counter top.
A rust red, velvet banquette seat, surrounded by pot plants, sits alongside a set of timber stools which create a flexible environment for either groups or individuals in need of relaxation. The tala pendants on wall brackets help to visually lower the ceiling height above the banquette creating comfortable, sheltered, refuge space. Research suggests that refuge spaces with access to nature will create the most restorative environment for a stressed individual.[ii]
Within the studio space, shoes are to be removed, therefore a Douglas Fir changing bench and coat hooks have been incorporated into the design for simple storage.
The studio benefits from a floor to ceiling green wall by Biotecture which helps to filter out toxins in the air and lowers levels of Co2 in the space. Toxins in the air are also removed by a Himalayan rock salt, light installation within a large circular window through to the retail space. The salt lamps offer a warm, natural glow towards one end of the room.
Reclaimed elements have been incorporated into the design, in an attempt to maintain a low environmental impact. Throughout the space the use of low VOC (volatile organic compounds) has been prioritised within materials and finishes, helping to maintain good air quality. The finishes were selected to stand up to the use of low VOC cleaning products – often cleaning products such as bleach are the main culprit in raising the level of VOC’s within a building.
[i] Li, Q. (2010). Effect of Forest Bathing Trips on Human Immune Function. Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine, 15 (1), 9-17.
Kahn, Jr. P.H., B. Friedman, B. Gill, J. Hagman, R.L. Severson, N.G. Freier, E.N. Feldman, S. Carrere, & A. Stolyar (2008). A Plasma Display Window? The Shifting Baseline Problem in a Technology Mediated Natural World. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 28 (1), 192-199
Ulrich, R. S., Simons, R., Losito, B. D., Fiorito, E., Miles, M. A., & Zelson, M. (1991). Stress recovery during exposure to natural and urban environments. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 11, 201–230.
[ii] Grahn and Stigsdotter, 2010, The relation between perceived sensory dimensions of urban green space and stress restoration.