Ask many home builders in NSW what clients are most focused on and the answer currently seems to centre around health and wellbeing; homes that not only feel like luxury resorts, but actually act as antidotes to modern stresses are high on wish lists at the moment, and it’s a sentiment is echoed by global trend watchers.
The wide reaching concept of “wellness architecture” is now a thing; already making the rounds in 2017, it is being plugged as one of the key trends for 2018/19. It’s based on the Well Building Standard, a checklist of seven categories: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mental health. Developed by Delos and the International Well Building Institute, these are regarded as blueprints for a healthy building.
Demand for wellness-lifestyle real estate and communities is on the rise globally, according to the Global Wellness Institute, a Miami-based nonprofit educational foundation. In 2017, the Institute pegged the wellness-lifestyle real estate and communities market at $119 billion, growing at a rate of 9% a year, and estimated it to jump to $153 billion by 2020.
Homebuilders in NSW reports that clients interested in wellbeing architecture are specifying natural, nontoxic materials and textures, such as stone and timber. They’re also bringing a new awareness to open plan living; as well as enhancing flow and natural light within a home, it’s about fostering connectedness and interaction with other householders. Inside outside integration are important, as are organic shapes that meld a home with its natural surroundings. Many clients are also requesting space for meditating, exercising or chilling.
The idea of wellness architecture can be applied to luxury properties of all sizes and variations, from free standing classically appointed mansions, to modernist duplexes. In fact, duplex builders in Sydney we spoke to said the wellness trend is particularly in demand with downsizers looking for city pad that’s smaller in footprint but abounding with the creature comforts of a larger property.
Some of the hottest international wellness trends making the rounds at the moment include:
More than illumination, lighting is now seen as a healing supporter of circadian rhythm that triggers the hormones we need at certain times of the day, such as cortisol for energy, or melatonin for sleep. Chromatherapy is a sub-category of lighting, entailing the use of specific colours such as ‘calming red’ and ‘energising blue’ both of which have been scientifically proven to enhance human beings’ circadian rhythms or internal clocks; counter-intuitively perhaps, blue is a stimulant that inhibits the sleep hormone melatonin, while red triggers it, making it a calming or relaxing hue.
Infrared saunas + ice showers
Infrared saunas use infrared light waves to create heat in the body instead of the air. The lower temperatures mean sauna goers can stay in the warmth for longer to treat a range of ills from high blood pressure to arthritis. Ice showers can be a healthy follow up to enhance circulation.
Sound bathing or silence?
Building designers in Sydney are taking a more conscious view of sound or its absence. Sound bathing entails a secluded space with a state of the art sound system and soothing sound tracks, such as Tibetan chanting or singing bowls.
The same space might also be sound proofed to extend the idea of digital detox into the realm of sonic retreat. Research suggests a period of silence can lower stress hormones and boost overall wellbeing. The absence of urban buzz, media chat, pinging notifications and other modern auditory debris is now being embraced as a positive where silence is tangible and healing.
Heaven on earth
Other sub-trends include home observatories enabling wellbeing seekers to reach for the stars, connect something bigger than themselves – and what could be bigger than the Cosmos? “Sky pools” take the idea of infinity pool further; perched on a rooftop, with minimal visual distraction and a heavenly vista consisting mainly of the cerulean firmament, a vertically elevated retreat complete with a luxury heated lounger could be just the thing for 100 per cent healing.