ASID Icon - Winter 2013 - (Page 32)
DESIGN'S GROWING BODY OF
Recent research documents the positive
impact of well-designed interiors
By Michael J. Berens
FOR SOME IT is a philosophy that guides their approach to
design. For others it is a practical tool that can help inform design
solutions. Whatever it means to you, there is no question that "evidence-based design" - or EBD, for short - has become standard
parlance, if not common practice, in the ﬁeld of interior design.
A review of EBD literature from the past year indicates that both
as a philosophy and a practice, evidence-based design is taking
hold in the design community.
IMPROVING QUALITY OF CARE
Modeled on the principles of evidence-based medicine, EBD
developed in healthcare practice from the need to demonstrate
that outcome-based design solutions would perform as intended
in challenging healthcare environments. Even now, healthcare is
the ﬁeld in which EBD is most commonly practiced.
Much credit goes to the Center for Health Design, which
through its research efforts and Pebble Project has helped pioneer
and advance the practice of EBD in the healthcare ﬁeld. Earlier
this year, the Center released the results of a 2012 study that
examined the properties and performance of ﬂooring in healthcare environments. Using an evidence-based design approach,
the authors gathered research ﬁndings, industry standards and
best practices to explore how ﬂooring and ﬂoorcoverings can help
achieve a range of performance goals, from reducing slips and falls
as well as surface contamination and noise to improving indoor
air quality and patient satisfaction.
Another literature review looked at studies of indoor environments of healthcare facilities as they relate to healthcare worker
outcomes. Based on their ﬁndings, the researchers concluded that
"design interventions can promote or demote several outcomes,"
which, in turn, "can be directly or indirectly tied to the quality of
care delivered by healthcare workers, which inﬂuences patient
satisfaction and proﬁtability."
On the practice side, EBD is having an impact on the design
process. Erin Schmidt, an interior designer at GBBN Architects,
describes how her ﬁrms uses the EBD process "to take clients on
a journey that addresses problems to be solved and goals to be
attained while exploring the best possible route to get there." Their
process combines staff surveys on features in key rooms with gathering applicable research ﬁndings. The results are used to create a
"thought diagram" of each key room, which can then be reviewed
with staff to allow for a thorough investigation of critical issues.
ENHANCING QUALITY OF LIFE
Improving the quality of life as well as quality of care for residents
of senior living and care facilities remains a top priority. At this
year's Environments for Aging Conference, Michael David White
drew on research on light and sleep patterns to point out deﬁciencies in lighting conﬁgurations in senior living. Erratic or lack of
sleep is a signiﬁcant health problem among older residents. White
pointed out that low-level lighting and inadequate daylighting in
many facilities disrupt circadian rhythms, thus throwing off natural sleep patterns. Designers, though, can remedy the situation.
"We have to design the light, and we have to design the darkness,"
White said, "so that circadian rhythms are minimally disturbed."
The close affinity between senior living and healthcare design
makes EBD an essential practice when designing for seniors. In an
article for Long-term Living magazine, Addie Abushousheh, executive director for the Association of Households International,
emphasized that people residing in long-term care want the living
environment to be designed like a home rather than an institution.
EBD, she contends, through a process of research-informed design,
can provide that environment and meet necessary care standards.
CREATING BETTER WORKPLACES
The office continues to be a primary focus of design, organizational and human resource research. Designers using EBD are
helping companies provide environments that better support
today's workers and alleviate areas of stress that affect wellness,
efficiency and productivity.
the magazine of the american society of interior designers
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ASID Icon - Winter 2013
A Commitment to True Collaboration
Design’s Growing Body of Evidence
Design for Life
ASID Icon - Winter 2013