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Monday, October 19, 2009

Epigenetic Design ~ Deborah Burnett

Meet Deborah Burnett. I spoke with Deborah at length about Epigenetic Design. Say what??! Here is how its described by Deborah....

"What is EPIGENETIC DESIGN....and why is the relationship between genetics and the built environment so important? When it comes to human health, job performance, workplace productivity, sleep, cognition, and even how fast we heal, the answer is a shining bright light at the end of a long, dark, tunnel of windowless environments, overly bright nights, acoustically noisy and overly-chilled spaces, inadequate lighting, and design for the sake of aesthetics alone.

An emerging practice of intent-driven, evidence-based architectural and interior design devoted to a working knowledge of how the body and brain are directly affected by design related environmental cues, the case for universal understanding of EPIGENETIC DESIGN is becoming increasingly clear in light of recent scientific and medical research from world class universities and research labs around the world."

I came across Deborah's work though a newsletter I receive from Kohler. When I hopped over to her site, I was intrigued. I recognized that I was reading something very important plus with my background in health care, it was right up my alley. I called Deborah to discuss Epigenetic Design. She has devoted her work to uncovering and then educating about the relationship of interior design and health. She is even delving deeper to understand designs' impact on our genetic make up ~ things we need daily to lead a healthy, successful life ~ sleep, light, air quality, etc. Deborah graciously agreed to be interviewed for my blog. Here is an excerpt.....

Deborah: So since then I’ve been devoting my time specifically to reviewing the research, conducting clinical human studies and speaking at medical conventions, professional architectural and design conventions, women’s groups, and healing centers so that I can share this information on how the body and brain are being negatively impacted…. and how simple it is to do something about it ! And that was when I realized that EPIGENETIC DESIGN was occurring without anyone really understanding how or why it was happening. The studies showing the increase in kids math and reading scores and patients being discharged days earlier simple by being in rooms with natural views and large widows was making the news but no one in the A&D community knew how or whyit was working! It was then that I made the commitment to understand, learn and teach how and why these scientific studies were getting the results they were achieving from design related situations. Also it was at this same time that I began to realize that the very genes we carry in our humanness was being impacted by the environment in which we live. Thus EPIGENETIC is a term that I coined to show how the design of every space impacts the body and brain including something as important as the genetic expression and silencing of our genetic makeup!

To read the entire very informative interview about Deborah herself and the research she has done to date, click on the link below.
Paula Grace Interview with Deborah Burnett

Grab a cup of coffee or tea. The interview will make you do a bit of pondering. I always ponder best when I have a warm, soothing beverage in my hand to sip.

Let me know what you think? Will it effect the way you design or think of interior design?

1 comment:

  1. I'm just about to read the interview -- I will make some Jasmine tea :) I am definitely intrigued by the relationship between interior design and health -- can't wait to read!


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