Project 360 Recap: Designing for WELL

July 31, 2017 | | View Comments

On July 27th, Design Museum Portland launched Project 360, a brand new event series presenting uniquely transformative projects from every angle of the process.

The Project 360 premier explored the process of WELL Certification, not only through presentations by the key players in earning it, but also through an exclusive tour of Interior Office Solutions, a space anticipated to be Portland’s first WELL Certified Building. With diverse insights from Interior Office Solutions’ own Managing Principal Shaylee King, Emily Phillips of IA Interior Architects, Alana Armstrong and Branch Foote of Swinerton Builders, and WELL Building expert Brittney Herrera, Project 360 provided a comprehensive understanding of what it means to be WELL.

Understanding the WELL Building Standard

To a WELL Building Expert, the standard has everything to do with the health of the individuals in the built environment. Ultimately, WELL’s challenge is to make the people that are using the space healthier when they leave than when they arrived. Brittney Herrera shared WELL’s impact on her attitude as a designer, commenting, “I had always planned spaces for people to do their best work, and now I have the opportunity to plan for people’s best health!” At the heart of WELL’s extensive set of standards is the prioritization of the human experience, and the wellness that can result.

The Design Process

For designer Emily Phillips at IA Interior Architects, WELL calls for an immense amount of teamwork and intentionality—but not in a way that feels forced. Designing for WELL means thinking critically about both the purpose of and interaction between spaces. Noisy appliances must be placed in spaces distinct from concentrated work areas. To account for diversity in people’s preferred work styles, offices must leave room for standing and sitting, for fixed and free address workstations. The designer’s responsibility is to make seamless connections between all features in a way that flows naturally through the space.

The Building Process

Representatives Alana Armstrong and Branch Foote from Swinerton Builders echoed the sentiment that WELL’s demands are instinctual. Evidenced by the lack of push back from contractors and costs comparable to those on an average project, WELL’s standards are much more than feeding an image. The WELL Standard creates change on a deeper level and represents a new way of thinking and being. As Branch Foote put it, “You’re not doing WELL so much for the show if it, you’re doing it because that’s what’s right.”

The User Experience

Interior Office Solutions Managing Principal Shaylee King seemed to agree with this notion, reiterating that with WELL, “it just makes sense.” As someone who works to create quality of life for her fellow Interior Office Solutions employees, Shaylee represents the individuals that WELL directly benefits. The thoughtfully implemented features of WELL create a more positive work environment that leaves room for healthy choices—from power naps to nutritional meals to meditation—and a personalized method of work. Beyond that, individuals who work in WELL Buildings receive education on the research and reasoning behind WELL’s requirements so they thoroughly understand their uniquely supportive work environment.

Across the board, Project 360 panelists seemed to agree that WELL is collaborative, effective and deeply beneficial. We came away from the evening with a new outlook on everything an office can be and a newfound inspiration to choose wellbeing. Thank you to everyone for joining us for this inaugural event, and to our wonderful partners Interior Office Solutions and IA Interior Architects for making this happen!

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What is the Center for Workplace Innovation?

Well-designed workplaces translate into higher productivity, happier teams, longer employee retention, and increased revenue. Workplace innovation is a multidisciplinary endeavor, involving many design disciplines: architects, interior designers, furniture designers, product designers, graphic designers – it also involves business leaders, entrepreneurs, behavioral scientists, organizational behavior experts, and more.

The Center for Workplace Innovation at Design Museum Foundation exists to demonstrate how design and innovation can transform the way we work. The Center is part think tank and part resource – a hub for content and inspiration, cultivating a global community of thought leaders to advance the field. Our goal is to educate and inspire, to drive change in workplaces around the world.

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Project 360 is a special event series aimed at telling the full story of the most transformational design projects across our 12 Design Impact Areas. Each event features multiple, short presentations from the multidisciplinary thought leaders, stakeholders, and decision makers associated with the project—taking the audience through the project from multiple points of view. As they visit each knowledge point, guests will have the opportunity to experience the distinct perspectives of all key figures involved in the project and ultimately gain a 360° understanding.