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Occupant Wellbeing in Workspaces

Principles of wellbeing were integrated in our design of the newly launched Huckletree in Clerkenwell, London – a sustainable shared workspace for creative entrepreneurs.

The space is designed with productivity and creativity in mind, enabling its members to reach a higher sense of wellbeing while at work. Our design, colours, layout and artwork have been carefully considered according to our expert knowledge and collaboration with environmental psychologists.

For further information on the collaboration and the process, you can read both the Designer’s and the Environmental Psychologist’s points of view below…

“Designing an Interior for Psychological Wellbeing” – the Designer’s view by Elina Grigoriou:

Designing interior spaces is about weaving a detailed understanding of construction issues with a detailed understanding of the people using them and their needs. To support our efforts in designing better spaces and specifically for a new, sustainable and shared workplace concept called Huckletree, we sought the advice of Lily and Sarah from Space Works Consulting – an environmental psychology consultancy.

Our aim was to design a space that would nurture and maintain high levels of wellbeing and productivity.

Their advice informed many aspects of our workplace design with the aim of making the spaces relevant to user needs and maintain their psychological wellbeing. Their advice touched on issues ranging from the way we integrate refuge and prospect in the space planning, the phraseology for signs at recycling stations, the type of interactive features that would encourage feelings of belonging and the excitement of working in an ‘international village’.

We applied this thinking on initial feasibility exercises for most tested locations and then at the final site in Clerkenwell, which is currently under construction. The provision of evidence and examples from existing studies provided us with the means to design our project with much more specific detail and understanding rather than just pure creative instinct.

Occupant comfort and a feeling of wellbeing will be supported by a series of cumulative features shared below. These overlap on many benefits and we aspire to obtain clarity of impact for each following occupancy:

– low emission materials

– high presence of daylight with adjustable shading

– local controllability of heating and cooling

– natural ventilation through openable windows (with limiters)

– a variety of working style spaces to suit user needs and moods

– acoustic quality to suit the variety of activities and atmospheres

– public, team and private spaces

– eating and drinking facilities to suit needs with filtered tap water on all floors (no microwave!)

– specific colour pallets, textures and patterns that enhance the cognitive performance and mood in the different spaces

– ceiling heights and acoustic treatments to work with tasks requiring concentration or teamwork and creativity”;

 “Designing an Interior for Psychological Wellbeing” – the Environmental Psychologist’s view by Lily Bernheimer and Sarah Hewitt:

We were approached by Elina from Grigoriou Interiors to provide advice on the design of a new co-working space in Clerkenwell, Huckletree. The designers wanted to design a workspace that would really benefit the occupants by taking into account their needs, rather than just designing a space that ticked boxes.

We were asked to contribute to the project in two ways. The first task was to help create a space “etiquette” that would encourage the equitable management of shared resources within workspace, as well as motivating specific sustainable behaviours. Co-working spaces are unique situations in that there is no one company policy for workers to adhere to, and as a result, the management policy needs to be carefully communicated in order to bring co-workers together and help foster a community. We applied recent psychological research on social norms, behaviour change, and small group ecology to craft a sustainable community strategy through the etiquette—and subtly integrated into the design—which we hope will help create a vibrant and united community.

The designers also wanted us to bring our knowledge of environmental psychology principles to the design of the physical space. Once the initial plans were drawn up by Grigoriou Interiors, we reviewed them for elements such as ‘refuge and prospect’ (the balance of openness and privacy), the variety of workspaces for different personality types and different tasks, and the ways in which the space could help to foster a sense of community.

It was really exciting to see the final plans for the space in Clerkenwell, which had been revised by Grigoriou Interiors to take into account specific challenges presented by the site and our recommendations. Seeing elements such as partially glazed screens with decals at the end of a small run of desks demonstrated how the designers perfectly understood what we were saying and then married that with their design skills to create an element that works well for the users and the overall look of the space!

We will be going into the space once it is completed and occupied and conducting some research to find out how well the design is working and what tweaks need be made. We are looking forward to seeing the results!”

Huckletree opened its doors in Clerkenwell on 1st April. For more information please visit:



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