Fyra Designs New Office for CBRE With Wellness in Mind

Soft textures and muted hues create a calming atmosphere inside the new CBRE office in Helsinki. Photography by Riikka Kantinkoski. 

In Finland, a country often ranked as the “happiest” in an annual U.N. Sustainable Development Solutions Network report, design and wellbeing go hand in hand. So when CBRE, an internationally recognized real estate consulting agency, tasked local firm Fyra with creating a new workspace in Helsinki, the team set out to take biophilic design to the next level.

When envisioning the space, the designers focused on creating a playful office with plenty of elements that invite exploration and discovery, while maintaining a distinguished aesthetic. The resulting facilities feature an internal zone, used only by employees, and an external zone that acts as a showroom and collaborative space. “One of the project goals was to make choices that genuinely impact the well-being of employees,” the design team notes. “From a designer’s perspective, this was an ideal starting point.” To do so, the team considered optimal air circulation and quality, natural light, fitness, and employees’ overall comfort, incorporating greenery and water points throughout. And for moments that call for some R&R, designated “mindfulness spaces” offer the perfect opportunity to reset. 

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Shelter Design Architecture Adds a Wellness Annex to Troutbeck Hotel in Amenia, New York

The volumes, one for fitness, the other a spa, are roofed in standing-seam aluminum and clad in larch reclaimed from a dismantled 1950s Hudson River bridge. Photography by Nicole Franzen.

“What drove me to start out on my own was 2016,” architect Jennifer Preston says dryly. “It marked an important internal shift for me as a woman in architecture.” She opened Shelter Design Architecture that same year and shortly after convinced Pedro Marmolejos, a former colleague at BKSK Architects, to come on as co-principal. Now a four-person team, they work remotely (and did so long before COVID-19), Marmolejos out of New York City and Preston in Vermont.

Shelter principals Pedro Marmolejos and Jennifer Preston. Photography by Nicole Franzen.

A wellness annex to Troutbeck—an Upstate New York hotel owned by Anthony Champalimaud, son of Interior Design Hall of Famer Alexandra—proved to be a project “encapsulating everything we stand for,” Preston
discloses. The bucolic site already had a wedding barn. Shelter added two similar structures—one taller, one
longer, totaling 4,800 square feet and joined by a covered breezeway—to house fitness and spa amenities. The interiors of the chapel-like volumes shift in scale and modulate in affect depending on function. Echoes

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Kingston Lafferty Design incorporates wellness spaces into Belfast co-working office

Dublin interiors firm Kingston Lafferty Design has incorporated green walls, a yoga studio and rooftop terrace across the eight floors of this co-working office in the centre of Belfast, Northern Ireland.



a plant in front of a window: Green walls and sofa in the Urban HQ office by Kingston Lafferty Design


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Green walls and sofa in the Urban HQ office by Kingston Lafferty Design

Commissioned by property developer Magell, Kingston Lafferty Design (KLD) was asked to create warm and welcoming interiors for the 2,787-square-metre office — called Urban HQ — which breaks the traditional office mould.



a person sitting at a table in a dark room: Above: a custom pendant is suspended in the walnut-clad boardroom. Top image: green walls feature throughout the office


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Above: a custom pendant is suspended in the walnut-clad boardroom. Top image: green walls feature throughout the office

Informed by how the boundaries between work and leisure have become increasingly blurred in the past decade, the firm said it wanted the complex to provide workers and visitors with relaxed and informal spaces as well as areas for focused work.

In addition to the more traditional private working booths, open offices and meeting rooms, Urban HQ also features dedicated wellness and focus rooms, co-working areas, coffee docks and a central lounge and event space that employees can move freely between.



a room filled with furniture and vase of flowers on a table: Curtains help to separate spaces


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Curtains help to separate spaces

“Psychologically, it is beneficial to have

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Six Key Residential Wellness Design Trends For 2021

Wellness design was a strong and growing trend before Covid-19 reached our shores early last year, but it has exploded in popularity as the virus increased awareness of the links between home and health. It’s likely that the trend will long outlive the pandemic.

That’s partly because so many Americans have spent so many more hours at home considering what works for them and what doesn’t in their living spaces, have had to start working in existing or improvised home offices, set up distance learning stations for their children, possibly started doing bulk shopping online and needing more storage, inexplicably couldn’t find toilet paper in stores last Spring, and wished they had bidet functionality in their toilets; sequestered ill family members in spare rooms, or moved an older relative out of a nursing home or assisted living facility.

It’s also because the virus was shown last summer to be mostly transmitted via airborne spread in poorly-ventilated spaces, elevating the importance of indoor air quality management and improved ventilation.

Here are

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