A core purpose for architects and interior designers is to consider how commercial buildings impact not just on the environment but also on health and wellness.

In response to this, manufacturers and product designers are creating products that answer these demands, in terms of how things are made (process, and by whom under what conditions) and materials used (sustainable and not detrimental to health).


As opposed to “health” – the management of chronic illness – wellness encompasses aspects of our human condition that allow us to thrive, including how we flourish financially, physically, mentally, in our careers and within our communities.

The Mental Health Foundation NZ (MHFNZ) defines wellbeing as meaning we have, “the tools, support and environments we need to be who we are and to build and sustain lives worth living”.

A commonly used model to conceptualise well-being in Aotearoa New Zealand is Te Whare Tapa Whā, which conceptualises well-being as a wharenui, or large meeting house. Its foundations are the whenua (land), or one’s connection to the land and environment, including not just the physical environment, but the social one. 

Haze from the Heritage Collection by modulyss references the shifting morning mists in the landscape of Flanders. Lots of natural light and stunning views complete a calming space.


  • Lifestyle – including diet, exercise and quality sleep.
  • Connection with others.
  • Connection with Nature.
  • Optimism, gratitude and resilience.
  • Having purpose and helping others.


We are expected to live 6-8 years longer than our parent’s generation.

That means we will be working longer even if solely out of financial necessity; a 70,000-hour career could easily become an 85,000-hour career, longer time spent in the workplace over our lifetimes than ever before.

As wellness encompasses financial, physical, mental, career and community, we can see that the workplace is a major contributor to all these factors.

A human-centric interior design can:

  • Offer an optimal physical environment, for example acoustically, thermally and in terms of light
  • Cater to diversity
  • Make wayfinding easy and stress-free
  • Encourage connection and collaboration
  • Encourage movement
  • Make connections with nature

Etch from the Artcore Collection by modulyss made from 100% recycled, and recyclable yarn, with no VOCs. This space offers natural light, visual connection to nature, and invitations to use the space to move, maintaining physical and mental well-being.


The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) was established by USA company Delos seeking to improve health and well-being through the built environment and organisational strategies.

IWBI launched the WELL Building Standard in 2014 (Revised in 2018 to include organisational protocols) which is a performance-based system for measuring, certifying and monitoring features of the built environment impacting on human health, well-being and performance.

The connection between environment and well-being is based on medical research and WELL Certification requires adherence to multiple benchmarks.

The WELL standards can enhance our Green Star building ratings that focus on indoor environment quality. The Green Building Council of Australia (to which our NZGBC is tied) and IWBI work collaboratively to promote wellness – and health – in people-centric design, construction and ongoing operation of buildings.

Højer Kontrakt commercial flat weave broadloom from Fletco is 80% wool; natural fibres regulate interior humidity. The flat-weave style means the tendency for natural fibres to shed is mitigated. Both features contribute to air quality.


There are 4 levels of WELL certification: bronze, silver, gold and platinum.

There are ten WELL concepts that contribute to certification.

  • AIR
  • MIND

In Groove carpet tile from modulyss has thick, gridded yarn designed to trap and hold dirt, making it ideal for entry spaces and contributing to good air quality. Soft floors hold much more dust recirculation than hard floors.

The most relevant to carpets are:

  • Air quality – for example, low VOCs, moderating ambient humidity
  • Lighting – light reflectance for comfort and to support circadian rhythms for healthy sleep
  • Thermal – assisting to maintain comfortable interior temperatures, for example through the insulation of the floor substrate
  • Acoustic – comfortable sound levels from reverberation and foot-fall adding to ease of performance of a space acoustically, reducing stress
  • Materials – beyond toxicity, considering our long-term wellness in terms of sustainability

In New Zealand there are 30 WELL Certified projects, notably 2 Platinum-certified projects, Meredith Connell & 2 Degrees in Auckland.

Colliers have multiple WELL Certified offices around New Zealand.

Artcore from modulyss uses optimal light reflectance, with an acoustic backing for physical comfort. Soft tones, bringing plants indoors, creating opportunities to connect with people, natural light and views contribute to wellness. Yarn is 100% recycled nylon, and the range is Cradle to Cradle GOLD Certified.



The pleasure of experiencing a space is less quantifiable, as the human experience is individual and diverse.

Scientific research tells us that connection to nature is vital to our mental well-being, and of course, is a key principle of biophilic (nature-based) design. Carpet colour, pattern and texture can assist mental well-being by mimicking the positive effects we feel in nature.

Colour psychology should influence colour choices that support the human experience. Greens, blues and purples are ideal for well-being, fostering calm and creativity. Nature’s tones are linked to well-being as we know from biophilia. Pops of vibrant colour are well suited to stimulate energy, for example in collaborative meeting zones.

Artcore by modulyss uses soft tones and organic, subtle pattern & texture to calm, promoting creativity. Bringing natural features such as planting and the curves of the wood, soften and add to the biophilia in the space.

Creating spaces that are ‘legible’ is also stress-reducing. Using varied colours, textures and/or patterns to delineate zones and assist in way-finding is easily done with carpet tiles that are designed to coordinate and complement.

Designers of workplaces also acknowledge how much time we spend there, often leaning into creating spaces with more relaxed comfort, using textures more commonly associated with home and luxury. Using cut-pile carpets is a nod to a home environment, bringing a more familiar, plush feel underfoot as well as the visual softness we associate with a residential aesthetic.

Gleam tiles from modulyss in varied tones add a little fun, but also the cut-pile luxe feel we might associate with home, thereby adding to a feeling of familiar comfort


Given the area flooring covers in any fit-out, carpet is one of the key contributors to the health of a space and therefore the well-being of the occupants. It also has a truly significant impact on the sustainability of a project. Choose wisely for a well future.



https://www.buildmagazine.org.nz/index.php/articles/show/buildings-that-foster-wellness  Dael Climo


Duncan Young of Lend Lease https://archipro.academy/ace-duncan-young