Each year Mohawk Group develops a theme to help drive product development. This year it is Designing for Care.

“The theme is really meaningful to us …it’s something that’s driving culture and therefore the language of design,” Senior Design Director at Mohawk Group, Royce Epstein says.

“This year we are talking about the culture of care. It really looks at how we can use design as social practice in the service of care for people, place and planet,” she says.

Designing for Care proposes that we don’t just receive care in traditional healthcare buildings. Care can extend from spas and biohacking centres to designing housing that’s human-centred or education and workspaces that embrace wellbeing.

Royce points out that an office space designed solely for productivity can be really demoralising for people.

“That’s why there is a hesitancy to return to the office because people want to hang on to the self-care that they can have in their home environment or out in nature”.

Royce says when designing through the framework of care, designers can consider such ideas: How can we embed optimism into places? What about inclusivity? Wellness for physical, mental and emotional health? Can spaces not induce anxiety and instead help us heal from all the trauma in the world?

“I think this is going to be the next generation's work to design within the culture of care”.

“As designers, we have to consider how our projects affect all people…is the project respectful to all parties? Not just the owner but the end users and the staff who use the space and what about the community who interact with the building and the people who are working in the space?”

Royce points to a great example in Queens in New York City where a mixed-use project has been designed to give back two acres of open space to the community. The development will include health and wellness facilities, affordable housing and dedicated units for unhoused people. It will also create thousands of jobs when it’s finished and opens to the public.

“It’s part of New York City’s response to the pandemic where they undertook city space and created a vibrant walkable community. The project shows you can design buildings and communities for a client while at the same time serving a larger population within that culture of care”

Royce says the culture of care also incorporates rewilding, a concept that seeks to restore ecosystems to allow nature to thrive while repairing, regenerating and reversing the destruction of the natural world. Creating these healthier spaces ultimately give humans and other species a better chance to thrive.

“I think a lot of designers are really excited about moving away from the traditional model of design that’s been practised the same way for many years… into a much more holistic view where we are always thinking about people, place and planet. And that’s why talking about culture of care is so important,” Royce concludes.

Listen to Episode 186: Royce Epstein on how Culture of Care can be applied to interior and architectural design.

Episode 198: Royce Epstein, Senior Design Director, Mohawk Group talks about the ‘Culture of Care’ in design | Architecture & Design (architectureanddesign.com.au)

Authored date: 14/05/2024