Finding sanctuary in the city with Oliver Heath
Interior design practice Oliver Heath Design, industry leaders in biophilic design and sustainability, are once again leading the way in bringing together the idea of re-connecting individuals with nature and using a sustainable and eco-friendly design approach. With a focus on occupant wellbeing and biophilia flourishing among the design world, Oliver Heath Design has recently completed some striking new spaces that are specially focused on health, wellbeing and sustainability. The results have been beautiful and the human-centred spaces they’ve designed encourage rejuvenation, relaxation and better health.
Rose & River – A salon created for your mind, body & soul
A concept created by owner Lucy, this eco-friendly salon was designed to be a space of complete relaxation and indulgence. Lucy struggled to find a beauty salon that felt like a complete escape, a place to unwind and let go of life’s day-to-day pressures – even if it is just momentarily. It was important that as well as Rose & River feeling like a sanctuary in the city, that conscious design decisions were made to incorporate sustainability for their business.
Oliver Heath Design’s scheme took on that brief and created a harmonious space that matched the Rose & River ethos perfectly. A high level of natural materials were used throughout the salon, with timber furniture being selected and hand-glazed tiles adding a natural variation in texture and pattern. Natural materials such as these are actually proven to lower occupant’s heart rates and help them relax.
In the treatment rooms, a decorative wallpaper featuring naturalistic imagery such as birds, flora and fauna was positioned on the ceiling to distract and calm clients during treatments. Enhancing the sense of biodiversity in the space a selection of both real and artificial plants were placed throughout the space at varying heights – this mimics the unpredictability of nature. Another biophilic element was an air-diffuser used to project a plant-based signature scent around the salon.
Since the completion of this project, Rose & River have had wonderful feedback on the space. Beverley Sutherland, a River & Rose client said, “It’s like stepping into a place of pure relaxation and calm…” Another client commented saying “I went into River & Rose stressy, and I came out zen!”
Re:Mind Studio – A drop-in meditation studio bringing you into the present moment
In the heart of London, you don’t really expect to find many spaces where you can switch off entirely, take a mindful moment and be fully in the present. The studio is built as an escape from the noisy, hectic and busy pace of life in the busy capital. Oliver Heath Design were given the task of designing a space of retreat were whilst people wait to attend the meditation classes with their expert ‘calmers’ – or meditation instructors – they can enjoy a cup of herbal tea, read a book from their cosy library or browse the eco-wellness store.
With three main spaces to think about, Oliver Heath Design used their research-led design approach to unite the space with biophilic design principles which are proven to improve physical and psychological health. The retail area is filled with Douglas Fir timber shelving that beautifully displays Re:Mind’s selection of eco products, plants and yoga equipment. This natural material evokes a calming feeling, as the use of wood in interiors can actually reduce blood pressure and increase the feeling of comfort. A small porthole window give a glimpse into the next space – which is the herbal tea room. Locally grown, herbal teas are available to be poured from several tea silos that hang above a recycled glass, Resilica countertop with a warm pink, hand glazed tile splashback. Research suggests that refuge spaces with access to nature will create the most restorative environment for a stressed individual, so Oliver Heath Design were sure to include a range of plant life in this space with a variety of seating options to sit both individuals and groups.
The meditation space itself is a tranquil, airy space which benefits from a floor to ceiling living, green wall. This feature helps to filter out toxins in the air and lowers levels of Co2 in the space. a Himalayan rock salt, light installation within a large circular window was placed at the other end of the space which offer a warm, natural glow for added relaxation. After enjoying the Re:Mind Studio, visitors have made comments such as, “so cozy and calm!” and “The studio of my dreams!”
As you can see from these two projects, health clubs, spas, salons and other similar spaces are about more than just the activities performed inside. The surrounding design can actually go towards boosting the occupant’s health and wellbeing too.
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