Interior Design for Wellness, Productivity and Profits
Sep 15, 2019

Dubai, September 2019: Is your working environment contributing to productivity and wellbeing of your staff? Does it help drive profits for your company? Before dismissing this completely as esoteric humbug, here are some facts for thought. A recent study by YouGov, an international market research and data analytics firm, found that eight in 10 people spend close to 22 hours inside every day; that is 80%. In the same survey, ‘63 per cent of respondents noted that they believe daylight has a significant impact on productivity’.

As innovation and technology make it increasingly convenient for us to stay indoors for work and leisure, it is crucial to think about how the spaces we spend the majority of our time in can contribute to physical and mental wellbeing, productivity, and profitability.

Sujit Sukumaran, Space Optimisation Consultant and CEO at Optimus Management Consultants says, “We must be mindful to make spaces and design like an elegant dish, good on the budget, tasty for the palate and appealing to the eye; not any one out of the three. Skilled design is where beauty meets functionality and has two kids, namely purpose and precision”.

Ahead of speaking on the topic ‘How does restaurant design influence dining experiences & impact commercial performance?’ at Design Talks during INDEX, taking place from 17th – 19th September at Dubai World Trade Centre, Pallavi Dean - Founder and Creative Director of Roar emphasizes that restaurants should design for the five senses. “Bad acoustics can ruin the prettiest restaurant. Think about touch and feel and use a good furniture maker. Seats and tables must be at the right height; seatbacks must be at 105 degrees, not 90 degrees”.

She shares, “A Lebanese restaurant in Sharjah was well established and its food had many loyal fans, but to be honest the dark, dreary interiors meant it was getting left behind. It was a complete overhaul, not just the interiors but also the façade architecture to flood the place with natural light. A celebrity chef created a new menu, and the operator completely revamped the brand. Not only has it won multiple awards since then, but it’s also transformed the performance of the restaurant as a business”.

San Francisco based Gensler conducts regular workplace analyses in both the US and the UK to determine how the physical environment can support employees and enhance their working experience. These studies have found that a business’s interior can greatly affect how one feels about their job. Although Gensler focuses on office environments, their findings are applicable for all types of business; Sejal Patel, Lead Designer, Gensler will be discussing hospitality design during Design Talks at INDEX.

Discussing the impact of lighting, colour, layout and furniture on staff performance in offices, Sukumaran shares, “A leading local bank had the rate of attrition at record levels in their credit card call centre on a particular floor whereas the dynamics of the Priority wing of the same bank on a higher floor were drastically different. Same product but different clientele, different interiors, and ergonomics. The lower floor had employees that fell sick too often, appalling attrition, dissatisfaction and burnout. With minimal reconstruction and by reworking the floor plan, changing the lighting scheme, colours and adding indoor plants we created a new floor that was more airy, lighted and spacious with right orientation for cubicles. The team on this floor went on to garner four times its usual revenue, retaining most personnel for the next four quarters”.

Paul Bishop, Owner, Bishop Design who will be sharing valuable insights on the topic ‘Managing & fulfilling evolving client expectations: From interior design to branding, concept creation & beyond’ at INDEX Design Talks says, “Colour holds the ability to truly define the personality of any given space. A powerful design element, it curates people’s emotions, moods and interactions more so than any other facet of an interior. The element has also become a huge talking point in the region recently as architects and designers become more aware and daring in their applications”.

Pallavi Dean adds, “A recent report from the University of Rochester described the field of colour psychology as “nascent”, despite 230 years of trying! That said, there are some pretty good rules of thumb we’ve learned not just from psychologists but fields such as marketing, safety and healthcare. There’s a reason that warning lights are red, while psychologist waiting rooms are soothing beige”.

Travellers around the world may agree that the process between entering an airport and boarding the flight is boring, tiring, even stressful for some, except maybe the Duty-Free, restaurants, or the VIP Lounge. This is why many airports are placing a renewed emphasis on creating a more positive ambience for all travellers.

In the article ‘The Psychology of Airport Design’, Tabitha Whiting notes that airports have now begun to use 'smart glass' in their design. It can adjust itself based on the amount of sunlight exposure coming through it, preventing too much heat and sun glare entering the airport. Last year, Dallas-Forth Worth International Airport ran a test with the smart glass and found that when it was installed customers were more likely to stay longer in the airport’s restaurants.

When incorporating the latest trends in your interior design especially in commercial spaces, Paul Bishop strongly recommends considering its longevity. He says, “If it's hugely fashionable at the time, let it go. I do not abide by Pantone Colour of the Year - it’s already dating itself in its mention of ‘the year’! If we decide to integrate these colours or these trends, we should do so in subtle applications. You can be current and fashionable but steer away from creating an entity that will date immediately”.

“Lack of understanding of functionality and compromising the same for fancy designs hampers the function of and performance in a space”, explains Sujit Sukumaran. “For example, combining living and non-living elements like inserting plants into a wall to create a hanging garden effect and not taking care of the water and potting properly leads to a mess and much more living in the wall than just plants”!

With thorough understanding and the right expertise on board, it is possible to use interior design to make commercial spaces and offices a healthy, productive, inviting place for staff and customers as well as drive profits.

Design Talks at INDEX, taking place as a part of Middle East Design and Hospitality Week 2019, will provide you with a fantastic opportunity to share insights and discussions on all things interior design with the leading creative minds in the region.

INDEX and the six co-located events The Hotel Show, The Leisure Show, INDEX Home, Workspace, Surface Design ME and FIM that have come together as Middle East Design and Hospitality Week 2019. The show will be open daily, 11:00-20:00 from Tuesday 17th until Thursday 19th September 2019 in Halls 1-8 at Dubai World Trade Centre.
Find out more about who will be there and the show features:


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