Having launched this week with its first pop-up at the Business of Home’s Future of Home conference, Well-Designed presents a simple concept with big goals. The venture, founded by designer Caleb Anderson and DeAndre DeVane, was formed on the basis of creating a wellness community that could prevent burnout and stress in the design industry while offering a re-examination of how design choices can impact health, wellness and the world at large.
It’s a new type of service, but one that is desperately needed within the industry, especially given the current economic context. Burnout is always a threat, but as designers and architects become more overworked and understaffed due to a constant rising demand mixed with an array of challenges posed from project to project, it is all too easy to get worn down. In fact, the entire idea of Well-Designed was born out of Caleb’s own experiences with burnout.
What makes Well-Designed so unique, though, is that it’s more than just a chance to reset: it’s a chance to learn.
Enabling Those to Do Better at All Stages of Professional Development
The organization is based on a membership model that caters to career professionals at various levels with student memberships also being offered through academic institutions. To start, these memberships will be offered through the New York School of Interior Design, though the venture aims to gradually expand beyond New York for its offerings. Programming will then fall into three separate categories:
- One-to-three-hour events focused on individual wellness practices.
- Full-day workshops led by various experts.
- Three-to-five-day nature retreats filled with hands-on experiences.
Not only will these practices, which feature therapeutic elements like Ayurvedic breathing techniques and aromatherapy, be used to relax and heal, education will also be given on how to better incorporate these practices into their daily lives. For instance, a recent pilot included blissful yoga while the instructor offered guidance on handling stressful, design-specific scenarios.
Practitioners will also work to explain the science behind the practice. For Anderson, it’s one thing to tell people that they can use aromatherapy to relax after a call or meeting. It’s another thing entirely to tell them why aromatherapy helps in aiding stress.
“It’s bringing in that relevant information, so that it’s not just, ‘Oh, this fragrance smells good,’” says DeVane in an article with Business of Home. “Instead, this is actually what is happening in your body and in your energetic experience, and [we explain] how this is contributing to supporting you in a very known way.”
Elevating the Industry, One Workshop at a Time
Beyond helping its members, Anderson hopes Well-Designed will teach designers and architects how their choices can be used to impact other people’s health and wellbeing, and even the world at large. It’s a sentiment borne from his own experiences: to do good for yourself is to do good for others. It’s why education and discussion are so broadly encouraged at the workshops. There’s even a module where participants are invited to share their own experiences and insights.
It’s a push, both say, to go beyond discussions of aesthetics and dive deep into how decisions can impact health and wellbeing, and it’s one they hope to be able to take to the world one day.