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  • Sohwi-Ly Sahtel

What is holistic design?

The word holistic has definitely been used more as a buzzword alongside with sustainability for quite some time now. I wanted to give a little overview of what it means to me and how I incorporate it in my work in a very intrinsic way.


Holistic design is all about intent. It is the bridge between traditional interior design and user experience by including intent across the entirety of the design process. It is intentional design considering the whole human experience in a space.

I would like to insert an excerpt here by Karthik Vijayakumar who has broken it down beautifully in my opinion. "To design is to think. Design is the ability to be able to broaden our perception of the world around, to see the unseen and make it appear as a new purposeful addition to the world. Holistic design is to see and think of the world in two broad dimensions - as interconnected and evolving systems. The evolving nature of holistic design is when the design leads to the evolution of the interconnected systems."

Holistic interior design is concerned with supporting wellness of the mind, body and spirit of the people that inhabit the space.

It is important to look for the right questions instead of focusing on the answers when starting a project from the holistic point of view. This way we get to know our client better. How they live, what are their needs and habits, how they use their space, how do they feel and what they want to express? We dive much deeper than simply finding out what images they like and what trends appeal to them.

Holistic design interconnects the mind, body and spirit and balances them to create spaces that help us flourish.

In modern societies we spend around 90% of our time indoors so it is extremely important to make the spaces we inhabit as supportive and beneficial to us as possible, so we can heal and thrive. Of course the skeptic in us would say: "Just go outside, spend more time in the nature." However, the way our lifestyles have evolved since the 90s (when this study was conducted) show the opposite is happening. We are becoming increasingly an indoor species. In a modern society, total time outdoors is the most insignificant part of the day, often so small that it barely shows up in the total. So, of course the best remedy is to just spend time in nature but since in reality that is not the case for most people, it is crucial to start looking at our interior spaces from a holistic standpoint and interconnecting our visual, physical and emotional needs to live comfortably and stress-free in our chosen environments.

We need spaces that are not just visually appealing and support us functionally but also spiritually - which is our connection to our community, our purpose and how we take care of ourselves.

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