Sonja Bochart

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You know that feeling when you enter a space, and it just feels right? It may be the way the sunlight cascades through the space, the sounds you hear, the sounds you don't hear, the use of natural materials, expansive views to nature and water, maybe even in perfectly-placed, meaningful artwork. Imagine yourself in that space, and how you may even feel as though you can breathe deeper; maybe that you even feel more alive, inspired and happy.

I have been aware of my deep connection to the potential of wellbeing in design, since early in my life. I believe the innate intelligence of the human body is too often forgotten, and is actually quite responsive and sensitive to the spaces that surround us. I know this through both my own personal experience, as well as through an understanding and review of the associated research findings. There is a substantial and growing body of knowledge demonstrating how the built environment has substantial influence over our entire state of wellbeing; our levels of fatigue, stress, cognitive function, happiness, physiological and physical health, healing and more. Design matters. In designing for people we have an incredible opportunity and a responsibility to help create spaces of compassion, wellbeing and hope for our communities.

How are some ways in which we create these spaces? Through thoughtful intention, listening, skill, connecting leading research to practice, creativity, biophilia, systems-thinking, team workshops, attention to detail and cultural, project-specific responsiveness.

My greatest hopes and intentions as a designer are to inspire both human and ecological wellbeing for these essential spaces in which we work, play, live and heal.

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