Holly Hallam, managing director of international hospitality design studio DesignLSM says the physical and mental wellbeing of customers are vital factors in the design of today’s hospitality spaces – including hotels, restaurants and bars; creating a guest journey which stimulates the senses and leaves an individual feeling refreshed and energised.

Holly said: “Interior design is so much more than creating a visually appealing space for people to eat, drink, socialise, and work in. Considering wellbeing is a fundamental building block in the strategic design process for 21st century hospitality spaces.

“The design should of course be aesthetically pleasing, but it should also play its part in enhancing the health and wellness of a person, stimulating the other senses - sound, smell and touch – as well sight.

“Wellness should not just be considered as a subject in relation to a spa experience; it is an environment. It’s essential to strategically think outside the aesthetics and more about the overall sensory experience to create memorable, healthy, mindful moments.”

Recent research has shown that nearly 10% of adults in the UK say they feel stressed every single day of their lives, with only one in five UK adults saying they never suffer from stress.

Holly said: “Our senses enable us to observe and understand the world around us, sending messages through receptor cells to our brain, using our nervous system to deliver those messages.

“Through intelligent design, which ignites multi-sensory experiences, we are able to create restorative environments that enhance moods and generate a feeling of overall wellness that are appropriate for that specific brand, physical space and desired guest experience.”

From music within the restaurant which influences the pace at which you dine, to scents which stimulate a feeling of tranquillity on the walk from a hotel room to the spa; these are all factors which Holly and her team, who have been responsible for some of the hottest hospitality interiors in the UK and overseas, take into consideration when designing a social space.

Headquartered in Brighton, DesignLSM creates interiors for the hospitality industry, both in UK and overseas, with recent projects including Jiji restaurant in Islington; Chourangi in Marylebone; Klosterhaus in Bristol; Gaucho in various UK locations; 100 Queen’s Gate Hotel in Kensington; Sumosan in Qatar and Nac, Riyadh.

Holly added: “When it comes to physical design, thoughtful, spatial planning is key, with circular seating booths and sections containing lounge seating encouraging connection and engagement with one another, which has been lacking from the lives of the majority of the global population in recent times.

“In addition, the carefully-considered integration of biophilic design - a concept used to increase connectivity to the environment through the use of nature - can create sensual sanctuaries in this ever-growing digital world.”

An example of this is at The Market at 22 Bishopsgate in London. Holly said: “Designed to put user experience and human interaction at its core, 22 Bishopsgate is the first major London building to embody the structural and cultural shifts in how people work and live. It’s also the first building in the UK to apply for the WELL Building Standard providing a healthier environment to work and reside in.”

Open spaces, maximising the external views and daylight within the space, tactile materials, lighting, warm and neutral colour palettes, quiet areas and smooth lines and curved surfaces are vital elements of the design in this building, with an objective of helping to reduce anxiety and stress.

According to Holly, several design principles dictate the energy and atmosphere created by a space. For example, colour can dictate the energy of a space. Bolder, brighter and heavier palettes are energy-giving, while more neutral tones create a sense of calm and relaxation.

Holly concluded: “The role of the interior designer continues to evolve, according to both consumer and client demands. We shouldn’t underestimate the responsibility we play in generating a feeling of inner wellbeing for everyone who visits the spaces we have an influence upon.

“Taking a holistic approach and gaining an in-depth understanding of the guests needs and desires before designing will continue to allow us to deliver beautiful spaces that provide immersive experiences to support healthy physical and mental wellbeing.”