We’re kicking off our ‘Holistic Homes’ series with London-based House of Grey founder and interior designer, Louisa Grey.
Louisa Grey marks the first in a series of interviews with architects and interior designers who typify ‘holistic design’ principles.
This inspired approach factors in how design impacts human health and wellbeing. At the heart of this approach is developing deeper connections to our spaces by choosing features and materials that make us feel good, with inherent health benefits. Considering that which often makes us feel the best is derived from nature, holistic design and sustainable design go hand-in-hand.
With Louisa, we dissect the meaning of ‘living holistically’ and explore how she and the entire House of Grey team embrace this rounded approach – specifically their concept of ‘Circular Salutogenic Design’. We also delve into the sustainable side of her practice and what she hopes the future of design will look like.
What does ‘living holistically’ mean to you?
Louisa Grey: Living holistically means living in harmony with yourself and your physical environment. This means considering how items and materials look and how they make you feel.
How do health and wellness practices go hand-in-hand with design?
Louisa Grey: Through our own research and practice, we have developed a strong understanding of the impact of materials on human health and wellness. We have become cognisant of the harmful toxins, chemicals and plastic-based fibres prevalent in most modern homes. These man-made materials are accepted by society as the norm as they are mass-produced and presented as the only option when making choices for an interior space. Our philosophy is centred on eliminating these substances and providing healthy alternatives derived from nature.
“At House of Grey, we are proud to say we are no longer simply finding sustainable design solutions; our work is now focused on eliminating the problem altogether and leaving a positive design legacy.”
– Louisa Grey
Your practice is based on a concept called ‘Circular Salutogenic Design’. Can you please explain what Circular Salutogenic Design is and what it entails?
Louisa Grey: Our purpose is to create interior landscapes with inherent health benefits and minimal environmental impact. We have developed a whole-person-whole-world approach to designing and building spaces for our clients, combining our signature aesthetic with ‘Salutogenic Design’ principles and cradle-to-cradle materials. We call this Circular Salutogenic Design.
Originating from the healthcare industry, Salutogenic Design is about consciously incorporating health benefits into every aspect of a space to promote recovery and restore people back to health actively.
Cradle-to-cradle materials are natural materials that are inherently good for human health and actively promote circular design – the aims of which are to eliminate waste and pollution from the creation process, regenerate natural environments, and keep products and materials in use and out of landfill.
Crucially, Circular Salutogenic Design involves harnessing the abundance of nature rather than utilising its limited resources. This, in turn has a calming effect on a space and a restorative effect on a person.
What are your favourite three sustainable materials to work with?
Louisa Grey: Clay for its ability to regulate humanity and eliminate harmful mould, limestone for its durability and resistance to water, and wool for its thermal and acoustic qualities.
What major changes do you hope to see concerning sustainability and design over the next five to ten years?
Louisa Grey: I would love to see natural, chemical-free, circular materials become the norm – materials sourced from nature, free of toxins and VOCs, and have as little negative impact on the Earth as possible. Our collaboration with lime-wash paint company Bauwerk is an excellent example of how these kinds of materials can benefit the user; made by using a variety of natural bases including clay, stone, chalk, earth, slate and limestone, the collection [‘Silence’ by House of Grey] provides a healthy alternative to widely available chemical-based paints.