Finding Moments to Escape
Blog • January 22, 2021
Looking back on 2020, we can all agree it was an eventful year. But if there’s one thing 2020 taught us, it’s that moments of solitude can be welcoming. We’ve found that a brief, quiet interlude can make a huge difference in our ability to stay resilient and adapt to challenges.
As we look ahead at 2021, it’s important to create restorative spaces that allow for these cherished moments. Below, we share a few ideas for transforming everyday spaces to allow for rest and recuperation at home, work and school.
Focusing on Well-Being at Work
A cool breeze, snowflakes falling on the tongue, the warm sun hitting our skin -- these are just some of the moments in nature that calm us. The outdoors can be the design inspiration for restorative spaces within the workplace.
Employers can establish all kinds of spaces for their employees to unwind -- from wellness lounges and meditation rooms to nap pods. Research shows that employees who schedule personal time and rest into their work week are more satisfied and more likely to envision a future with their employer. Specific spaces like mother’s rooms, which provide a private space for breastfeeding employees to pump during the work day, can boost retention among new mothers.
Employers can bring nature into each of these spaces with biophilic design strategies. Let the sunshine in. Decorate with real or faux greenery. Incorporate the sounds of water. Even the sheer existence of plants in a space improves feelings of well-being by 40 percent.
Textiles with patterns that evoke organic and natural elements can help a space feel grounded, while more abstract shapes can be interpreted as clouds or constellations for an uplifting feel. Pallas offers a number of patterns inspired by our surroundings.
Named for the Greek goddess of the harvest, Demeter is patterned after grain sheaves.
For subtle natural shades, consider a faux suede emerald with Nap in Spruce (pictured below, left), a deep, luxurious forest green with Plush in Aegean or a vibrant, textured teal with Ode in Eton (pictured below, right).
Soothing Spaces in Schools
Classrooms are often abuzz with conversation and activity. For students and teachers alike, a lot of activity can distract and make it harder to engage.
For all students, especially those with anxiety, autism, sensory or neurological conditions, sensory-friendly spaces can help. Designed to counter overwhelming visual and auditory stimuli, these spaces offer a calming environment with special attention to colors, fabrics, finishes and even odors. Sensory rooms improve concentration, development of motor skills and socialization.
Even if a school doesn’t have a dedicated sensory space, designers might incorporate some elements of one into the classroom, like sound-absorbing materials to minimize hectic chatter or frosted covers to diffuse harsh fluorescent lights.
Soft, textural fabrics are a good fit for everything from designated sensory spaces to the “quiet” corner in a classroom. Pallas offers several patterns rich in texture or a soft, supple hand:
- Lyric (pictured below, left) offers a cozy feel
- Bedford (pictured below, right) provides a tactile, chunky cord.
- Plush (pictured below, bottom left) is reminiscent of smooth velvet.
Textiles in understated blues and greens can inspire stillness in even the liveliest of classrooms. Drift in Tranquil (pictured below, top), Lyric in Halcyon and Bedford in Milo offer muted sky blues. Etch in Meadow (pictured below, bottom) resembles the moss on a forest tree -- a warm-toned green that can serve as a neutral.
This year, teachers are feeling more exhausted than ever before. So it’s crucial that schools ensure their staff have a private space to decompress, whether they’re teaching in person or planning ahead for when staff return to school.
By incorporating many of these design strategies, schools can use color, pattern and texture to imbue a space with comfort and calmness -- transforming the teachers lounge into a valuable space to recharge.
Spaces for Stillness
We’re not sure just what 2021 will hold for us. Design inspired by nature and imbued with feelings of serenity can give us what we need to restore our minds and bodies.