What is Salutogenic Design?
Health at work can be strengthened and promoted by implementing design that is salutogenic.
Aaron Antonovski, who coined the term ‘Salutogenesis’ – from the Latin salus meaning health and the Greek genesis for origin – believed that there is an important relationship between the physical environment and an individual’s ‘Sense of Coherence’ (SOC).
What if health became the basis for judging every public space, every building, every workplace and every home?
What if every person asked as standard: How healthy is this space?
What if everything we build was seen as an opportunity to generate wellbeing?
This is the basis of Salutogenic design.
“A measurable aspect of design that can help people operate at peak performance and help them to maintain physical and mental wellbeing. It is the ultimate investment in people in an architectural sense.”
The ideal spatial framework for salutogenic design translates into three key components: welcoming spaces for meeting and social exchange, familiar spaces for orientation and reassurance and quiet spaces for meditation and restoration.
A good environment is one that balances the need for calm and reassurance with constructive stimulation of the senses. An ideal workspace is hence a function of two types of need – need for positive stimulus and need for calm and stability.
How is Salutogenic design different from biophilic design?
Whilst biophilic design is about engaging with nature and natural elements to help with the restoration process, salutogenic design encompasses these elements and much more with the aim of encouraging active health, productivity and efficiency. It is easy to see why salutogenic design is beginning to represent international best and emerging practice in workspace design.
In workspace design, elements of salutogenic design are becoming apparent as designers create spaces that encourage activity, creating outside work spaces, making internal stairs more engaging to encourage their use, and laying out enriched environments that provide the variety and novelty that humans instinctively seek.