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4. The headquarters of
McKesson Medical-Surgical in Richmond,
Virginia, was designed
following the WELL
which focuses on
grows. Companies such as Crate and Barrel now offer products using
foam without flame retardants. “You’re starting to see a lot of retailers follow the lead,” she says.
If today there are more naturally based and responsible synthetic products
on the market than ever before, that’s largely due to the impact of rating systems like LEED, which has been joined by such competing, and in some cases
more rigorous, standards as the Green Building Initiatives’ Green Globes and
the Living Building Challenge from the International Living Future Institute.
One of the more recent rating systems, the WELL Building Standard, is
focused exclusively on human health and wellness rather than simply on
materials or performance. “WELL is really at the forefront because it goes
a step further,” says Boomhouwer, whose firm recently completed a headquarters for McKesson Medical-Surgical in Richmond, Virginia, following
WELL standards. “It’s a certification process we as interior designers can
have a greater influence on.” Among the items in the standard’s scorecard are
nutrition and employee fitness, as well as connections with nature.
“With WELL certification, our company has truly been able to demonstrate its commitment to better health,” says McKesson’s Brian McCaffrey.
“With improvements in employee nutrition, fitness, mood, performance, and
more, we expect to continue to see the benefits of WELL for years to come.”
Certainly, the industry continues to face challenges when specifying for natural products and minimizing impact on the environment and
human health, be it in the transparency of products, how they’re treated and
transported, or how to find them in the first place. Yet given how health is
increasingly seen as a business imperative, there’s no doubt that the market
is transforming, and in a way that makes awareness and information more
important than ever.
Brian Libby is a journalist, critic, and photographer covering architecture, design, and the
visual arts. He has contributed to The New York Times, Salon, Dwell, and Architectural
Record, among other publications. Based in Portland, Oregon, Libby writes the popular
Portland Architecture blog. I