Health & Wellness

The latest technology, insights and innovations from the world of health and wellness.

Conscious Homes Market
Little Signals by Google and Map Project Office, UK

Conscious Homes Market

Over the next decade, what our homes mean to us will evolve as domestic spaces adapt to new requirements, from building our resilience to offering restorative space.

Drivers: what’s happening

Little Signals by Google and Map Project Office, UK

With the need to maintain physical and mental wellbeing at the centre of public consciousness, consumers will look for hyper-personalised, phygital experiences that allow them to decompress and recuperate from the comfort of their own home.

As we have previously explored in Synchronised Care, attitudes to healthcare are shifting from curative to preventative, driven by a united effort to alleviate pressure on global healthcare systems as well as the need to eliminate inequalities of care. Known as Healthcare 3.0, a new movement is emerging that is patient-centric, highly transparent and personalised to accurately predict and better monitor individual health needs, all made possible thanks to big data, AI and mobile technology.

Lakshmi Priya Rajendran, senior research fellow in future cities at the UK's Anglia Ruskin University, believes that ‘amid the optimised encounters and experiences there also need to be slow moments, which people can mindfully engage with and enjoy [themselves]’. This is particularly relevant for domestic spaces.

Statistics and insights

  • Over half of Gen Z see comfort as the most fundamental element of home and 44% say safety is the top priority (source: Dazed and Space10)
  • 62% of UK consumers say daily rituals are an important way to lift their mood (source: Mintel)
  • Remote working is still a priority for employees, with 40% of global workers saying workplace flexibility is a top motivator in whether they stay in a role (source: McKinsey & Co)

Amid the optimised encounters and experiences there also need to be slow moments, which people can mindfully engage with and enjoy [themselves]

Lakshmi Priya Rajendran, senior research fellow in future cities, Anglia Ruskin University

Market shifts: what’s new

The Updatables project by Ikea and Space10’s Everyday Experiments empowers owners to adapt furniture to their homes’ evolving needs, Denmark

Multi-domesticity

Homes were forced into becoming multi-functional during the pandemic, from offices and schools to fitness studios, often resulting in cluttered environments that negatively affected domestic wellness. Now, designers are embracing multi-domesticity, creating functional and beautiful solutions that facilitate different kinds of living under the same roof.

Wellness rooms are becoming increasingly desirable to luxury clients. Designer Chad James explains that ‘offering a space that is distant from your routine will create a sense of retreat’ in the home.

In future, wellness will be built into domestic environments. Life Time Living Green Valley in Nevada, USA, is a luxury fitness complex offering semi-furnished flats for fitness fanatics. In addition to a gym, pool, spa, pickleball courts and concierge services, residents also have access to weekly meal plans, personal chefs and aestheticians.

Life Time Living was designed to foster a healthy, socially connected and environmentally conscious lifestyle with our new luxury residences and our athletic resorts and spas as part of one vibrant campus

Eric Padget, vice-president of property development, Life Time Living

Deep Focus

Once reserved for luxury home-owners, and now aided by ambient technology and design, distraction-free spaces that cultivate focus through interiors, lighting and soundscapes are becoming commonplace. Google’s Little Signals concept explores the potential of haptic design to help its users achieve balance and tranquillity while spending time online in the home. The anti-distraction technology consists of conceptual items that use movement, shadows and sound to gently alert netizens when something requires their attention.

Designer Yuri Suzuki also realises the importance of sound in the home, introducing The Ambient Machine to allow people to easily tailor background noise. ‘White noise can mask unpleasant sounds around us and give us a sense of relief,’ says Suzuki. Natural sounds can ‘provide the feeling of relocating to a new environment’, he adds.

The Ambient Machine by Yuri Suzuki, Japan The Ambient Machine by Yuri Suzuki, Japan
Little Signals by Google and Map Project Office, UK
Little Signals by Google and Map Project Office, UK

Domestic Wellbeing

Driven by the need to access healthcare remotely during the pandemic as well as a greater focus on self-diagnosis, wellbeing in the home environment has skyrocketed. Previously focused on remote exercise and instilling daily habits that we explored in Recuperative Living, today more complex healthcare needs are attainable without leaving the home through wearable devices and smart AI technologies – backed by medical professionals.

One Bupa in the UK has introduced a number of smart AI technologies that allow users to take charge of their own check-ups, and University College London (UCL) researchers are already developing wearable devices that collect data and help detect various diseases, allowing for earlier diagnosis, more personalised treatment and even preventative healthcare to be accessible at home.

Analysis: what this means

This MIT engineered ultrasound sticker adheres to the skin providing non-invasive internal monitoring, which could soon operate wirelessly for use at home, US

The future home is likely to include intuitive technology such as smart mirrors and bathmats that will prompt small daily changes to improve overall health, or smart toilets that analyse residents’ waste to detect diseases or encourage changes in diet or lifestyle.

By 2050, we will be in dialogue with this technology. It will personalise its tone of voice to suit the age, personality and needs of a home’s residents, making people more attuned to its advice and suggestions.

At the same time as homes are becoming increasingly attuned to our health, they are also becoming more transient. As a result of displacement, the traditional concept of ‘home’ is changing from a physical space into an emotional identity, a marker for personal development and expression. This is especially true for younger generations.

When Dazed Media and Space10 asked Generation Z ‘what is home?’, one UK respondent said: ‘[Home is] a place, feeling, energy that encourages me to express myself fully with no limitations, that keeps me grounded while allowing me to think and dream big, being surrounded by people who encourage me, motivate me and keep me in check’. This impermanent future will force conscious design elements and integrated home technologies to move with citizens throughout their lives.

At the same time as homes are becoming increasingly attuned to our health, they are also becoming more transient

Emily Rhodes, creative foresight analyst, The Future Laboratory

Strategic opportunities

: Consider how younger generations can use conscious design in their transient accommodation. How can these design elements be applied to shared and rented accommodation?

: As our homes gain access to the most intimate data, how can encryption and blockchain technologies help retain privacy when sharing this with healthcare systems?

: How will design help us change our home environments from defensive, pandemic-proof properties to sanctuaries of rest and restorativeness?

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