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Project of the Week: SBID Awards Winners 2019

This week’s instalment of the #SBIDinspire interior design series features the SBID Award winning project for Healthcare & Wellness Design. The Salt Room encompasses innovative, receptive and modern design reflected through a prism of artistic and quirky vision. The actual halotherapy areas feature rare Himalayan salt decor accompanied by a relaxing café/retail unit and kids play area. The walls of the hallway and kids play area were hand created by an artist using all-natural paint to recreate a jungle themed fairytale trail. Diana Interiors Group used a creative approach to create space that promotes rest and calm, yet features a modern and artistic style.

SBID Awards: Healthcare & Wellness Design winner sponsored by the Stone Federation

Company: Diana Interiors Group

Project: The Salt Room

Location: Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria

What was the client’s brief? 

The project was located in the heart of the city centre with a complete refurbishment required as the venue was previously a casino. The prime, busy location meant that a catchy design is needed to attract passing footfall. Overall the key factors outlined in the brief included:

  • Open, walk in spaces so clients can move freely from zone to zone
  • Casual spaces to allow client to escape from the stressful day-to-day life
  • Clean yet extravagant salt room areas
  • Kids playground area with educational activities zone and space for games
  • Chillout café area with commercial stand
  • Natural, organic look

What inspired the interior design of the project? 

Nowadays we live in dynamic, often stressful environments which impacts our wellbeing significantly, hence more spaces which encourage relaxation and care for our health should be created. With this project we recognised an opportunity to demonstrate that interior design can influence sustainability and has environmental impact. Our inspiration came from the theme of organic nature and personal wellbeing. For that reason, we intentionally used animal and plant wall drawings, as we believe children should be inspired to look after the planet from a very early age. Our studio was very keen to undertake a project within the Healthcare & Wellness sector as it shows that private commercial organisations can be responsible and promote sustainable practices. We believe this is one good of example of it.

Diana Interiors Group healthcare and wellness design for The Salt Room
Diana Interiors Group healthcare and wellness design for The Salt Room

What was the toughest hurdle your team overcame during the project?

The Salt Room required enhancements to the heating, air conditioning, and ventilation systems in addition to the installation of a halogenerator to ensure that there is an effective, unchanging amount of the dry salt to be dispersed, and mitigate any corroding of the salt in the environment.

What was your team’s highlight of the project?

Harmonising zones with such a different purpose and infusing The Salt Room brand into the interior design. Certainly, the highlight of the project was the art work. Every single element of the wall drawings were hand created by an incredibly talented artist using all-natural paint. We wanted to recreate a fairytale from the entrance to the kinds zone, so we followed the animal pattern all the way through. It took us months of work, but we are very proud with the final result.

Why did you enter the SBID Awards?

Winning a SBID International Design Award is truly a high achievement, not only because these awards are recognised as one of the highest accolades in the interior design industry but also because they are an opportunity for a designer to find out what the public and technical experts think about their work.

It allows an artist to be at the forefront of design ideas and this is exactly what we aim to do in our studio. SBID Awards carry credibility and help build the reputation of a business, so every successful interior design studio would be thrilled to be among the arena of the finalists. The competition was very stiff, but we faced the challenge positively, and are extremely proud and honoured that our project was awarded.

Questions answered by Diana Shimbova, Group CEO and Lead Interior Designer at Diana Interiors Group

If you missed last week’s Project of the Week featuring a playful residential design with bold colour schemes and striking artwork, click here to see more.

We hope you feel inspired by this week’s Healthcare design! Let us know what inspired you #SBIDinspire

SBID Awards 2019 | Healthcare & Wellness Design Winner sponsored by Stone Federation

Can nature really increase our health and wellbeing? SBID Council expert, Oliver Heath is a qualified Domestic Energy and Green Deal Assessor who founded an architectural and interior design practice combining sustainability, consumer engagement and communications to inspire the uptake of future thinking in the built environment. He promotes happier, healthier places to live and work through his projects as designer, writer, and TV presenter. Oliver shares his thoughts with SBID on how Biophilic Design in interiors can impact health and wellbeing. 

There is a growing body of evidence to suggest spending time in nature can increase our health and wellbeing. In fact, healthcare experts are now prescribing time in nature to alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. However, we are spending less than 10% of our time outside,[i] and most of the time we do get to spend outside is still in the urban environment. So, what can we do when our day to day lives don’t support getting out into nature?

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SBID Members, Bespoke by Evans use their expertise in the art of tailored textiles to comment on how bespoke fabric design can enhance care environments and contribute to improving wellbeing, engagement and style within an interior design. 

Designing bespoke textiles for care home environments is far more complicated than simply making fabrics look pretty. Unique textile designs that are tailored to specified interior design projects go beyond simply the look of a design and incorporate the everyday needs and demands of modern care. Guests, residents and staff alike are all important considerations whilst also addressing the specific age, mobility, sight, hearing and memory the care home cater to.

Whilst the style and aesthetic are still important (especially when relatives are going through the process of finding the right home for a loved one and first impressions count), substance and practicality need to be provided. Of course, as an easy option, a generic interior fabric from the many pattern books available to an interior designer could be chosen for a care home, but it raises the question, “will a generically designed fabric better support staff and help residents enhance their lives, each and every day?”

Home away from home

Each care home is different and so too is every resident. A bespoke fabric designs allows for the flexibility to adapt surroundings to specific needs; chairs, cushions, curtains, bedding and more can reflect desired characteristics within the care environment whilst overall, enhance the personality of a property. There is a strong public misconception of care homes being outdated or clinical, but with the ability to create any design, pattern or colour, a care home can easily be made into a ‘home-away-from-home’. In recent times, there has been a strong emphasis to create domestic-like appearances in care. This domestic-like appearance may help with the transition into care and also help residents to understand their new surroundings – what better way to make a space feel like a home by allowing a personal touch with a bespoke design?

A bespoke textile design will offer endless possibilities. Whatever your inspiration, it can be become a finished fabric. Stimulating textures, rich colours and contrasting patterns on bespoke fabrics can be used in private rooms or communal areas giving a coordinating warm look across a care home. Previous research suggest that colour has a profound impact on wellbeing; with bright colours leading the way in helping us feel energised. Designs married to these colourways can help us engage in everyday activities, remind us of the times gone-by or boost well-being through a more personalised approach.

Bespoke fabric design blog by Bespoke by Evans featuring Evans Textiles bedroom scheme armchair detail
Bespoke Fabric

Safety and comfort

Style is nothing without substance. Every fabric that is used for soft furnishings within a care environment has a requirement to meet the British Standards. Every care home has a duty of care to ensure everything in their power is done to reduce the risk of fire and improve the safety of their guests, staff and residents alike. A simple change to inherently flame retardant, British Standard certified fabrics will reduce the fire risk in any environment and can be coupled up with a multitude of designs through a bespoke fabric design service.

The considerations of a bespoke design on flame retardant fabric may encourage residents to retain and indeed regain some independence, help address impairments associated with old age and promote positive emotions through visual stimulants. A good example of when bespoke designed flame-retardant fabrics can provide both safety and comfort is on the chairs and sofas around a care home. As an everyday piece of furniture, chairs and sofas are an imperative soft furnishing item. The fabrics used as such, should offer prevention from any long-lasting damage that could be caused by accidents; easily wipeable, waterproof and durable. Having breathable fabrics will also be much more comfortable for residents when they are sat for prolonged periods of time. With the possibility of being able to get any designs printed and upholstered onto a chair, residents can benefit from contrasting coloured panels to help remind people with cognitive loss of where to sit, help reduce confusion and lessen any distress.

Other benefits of specialist healthcare fabrics may include infection control with anti-bacterial properties, blackout or dimout fabrics offering optimal light entry/exclusion and the ability to easily disinfect and wipe down the fabrics.

Choosing the right specialist fabrics

Selecting the right fabrics that are ‘fit for purpose’ and the right textile design partner is of paramount importance if you wish to enhance not only the look but the wellbeing of a care home environment. At Bespoke by Evans, our highest priority is you and your client. We’re able to offer a dedicated textile designer to deliver artwork catered to your next interior design care project. In doing so, we will help you create comfort, safety and wellbeing for the residents.

Whether your next care home project is a simple refresh or a full renovation or new build, we’re happy to deliver on your brief and budget. We take the hassle and time out of looking through generic pattern books and we would never ask you to settle on a design that you aren’t completely happy with. We offer our expertise, so you get the exact design that meets your clients’ requirements. Our bespoke fabric design service is tried and tested amongst some of the UK’s leading interior design agencies and offer care homes stand out, one-of-a-kind fabrics for their guests, residents and staff alike.

Bespoke by Evans are a proud SBID partner and unlike other bespoke fabric services, the initial design concept is completely free of charge. There are zero charges on fabric samples and no bulk commitments on orders – you can order from as little as 10 metres per design or colourway. To find out more or request a complimentary brochure visit or call 0161 320 2121.

Member of the SBID Education Design Council and Founder of Super Power Agency, Maxine Sloss shares how her life-long experience as a professional designer and history using art as therapy has shaped her perspective on creative environments and the essential impact they can have on wellbeing and learning. Her current realm of expertise is also informed by the Super Power Agency mentoring centre which aims to improve literacy, foster aspiration and boost self esteem through the most fundamental super power; the ability to read and write.

As a designer for almost 20 years, I saw first hand how aesthetics can change peoples behaviour and how creative environments can transform attitudes from outside in. I found joy in transforming a space into a more delightful environment for an individual, or a group. There is a clear body of evidence and understanding which highlights the direct link between our surroundings and our mental health. This in turn could be described as unconscious therapy, bringing out the best in us without us being aware it is even happening. Creating spaces for a client that use expression and communication is often life changing! Clients often get a clearer understanding of the language of colour, texture, harmony and abundance and also a greater understanding of the art and artisans used in the interiors. Changing the energy of their spaces was frequently very therapeutic for the clients.

After training as an art practitioner, I realised that Art Therapy and Design are one and the same thing. Working with children who needed time away from the pressure of mainstream school and were struggling to keep up in the school system, only confirmed all I had learnt.

The spaces created to help children engage are therefore essential to their wellbeing. There is no difference between the needs of a client wanting a secure, creative space in their home to write or unwind and a child who needs to feel secure and be given a great sense of wellbeing.


Aesthetics: Colour & Light, Abundance & Variety, Harmony, Play, Magic & Surprise, Celebration

There are many aesthetics that are required to help stimulate our brain with emotion and hopefully create a sense of natural wonder and in turn, a feeling of great pleasure and contentment. These are the same elements that were used when transforming a school classroom into a creative space for art therapy, or recently, in transforming a school bus into a creative library space to inspire creative learning for children with low literacy skills.

Colour & Light

Using colour was my signature design trait as it has always had a profound effect on my happiness. Transforming dark spaces using colour into light spaces for learning is key; natural light is essential and can make the best of classroom environments with the right choices of paint colours.

Colour has a very transforming effect on wellbeing. I have watched clients gasp with delight at a newly painted room and we have to ask ourselves, “why do most children paint rainbows and adults do not?” We are often preconditioned to think that as we age, colour is childish and frivolous, with neutral hues often being thought of as the more ‘mature’. Colour works on a deep emotional level, mentally and emotionally, changing our mood and sense of wellbeing. Knowledge of colour theory can help us express our feelings in an artwork. The importance of colour has been transmitted into our everyday language; you can be red with anger, green with envy and tickled pink. We often speak of cheerful bright colours, as well as sad and dull ones. A grey day may be depressing and result in the blues. Colour also has immense spiritual significance and has been intertwined into religious ritual throughout time. This can be seen in saffron robes of Tibetan Buddhist monks, to green being the sacred colour of Islam. Colours have the power to symbolise and communicate with an extraordinary immediacy, which words can never match. Colour therapy is a noted form of therapy, which can work alongside art therapy for children. Colour therapists believe that the seven colours of the rainbow relate to the body’s seven main chakras. How does creativity and colour contribute to our emotional wellbeing? It is believed that a catharsis takes place through positive use of colour. For example, if we are feeling sad or let down, wearing bright colours immediately changes our mood and a positive shift of energy occurs.

Red – gives courage and strength and shows a pioneering spirit. Red is the colour of exhilaration and often, a colour of war. For example, Roman Soldiers carried red battle flags and many nations have had red battle tunics. In the western world, red can also mean love/passion, action and dynamism.

Orange – an energetic colour, without aggression. It frees and releases emotions, stimulates the mind; renewing interest in life. Orange can lift spirits and is the colour of laughter and humour of frivolity.

Yellow – is happy, uplifting, optimistic and logical. It is also mentally stimulating and bright. In Jungian psychology, yellow symbolises the flash of insight called ‘intuition’, which seems to come from out of the blue – the visual field of the right side of the brain. It builds self confidence and encourages an optimistic attitude.

Green – creates a feeling of comfort and relaxation, calmness and space, lessening stress. Offering balance and links to nature, green helps us to connect with the natural world.

Blue – is the colour of communication. It is calming, relaxing and healing. Blue is used for the introvert to come out of their shell because it reduces nervous excitement. It relates to self expression, speech and the ability to communicate our needs.

Indigo – is a sedative colour. Soothing. It is believed in certain religions that indigo is the colour of divine knowledge. Indigo children are highly sensitive beings, with a strong sense that they want to make a difference. These children are said to have an indigo-blue aura. The aura is a field of luminous radiation surrounding a person and these auras can be different colours.

Violet – creative, intuitive and stimulates the imagination. It is associated with luxury, e.g. royal purple, as in some early cultures purple dye was extremely difficult and expensive to produce.

The painter who famously taught colour analysis, Wassily Kandisky (1866-1944) used colour to express emotional experience, rather than a reflection of nature. The painter Mark Rothko (1903-1970) used colour to convey a range of sensations near to what he described as a ‘religious experience’ thus illustrating that colour can transcend you to a happy place. Across every continent and every culture, colour dominates and permeates our lives. Colour surrounds us. Feeling and nourishing our senses; our minds, bodies and spirits are profoundly affected by it. Paul Klee (1879-1940), one of the greatest colourists in the history of painting, succinctly summarised its impact upon him; “colour possesses me. I don’t have to pursue it. It will possess me always. I know it”.

Abundance & Variety 

Providing a therapeutic space with a variety of sensory stimulation. Our brains cannot develop in isolation. It requires a constant dialogue with its surrounding environment. Children particularly adore the abundance of textures, colours, and shapes. This can be jars of pencils, a variety of books, coloured stationary, jars of badges, buttons, and art material. It is well known in Europe, particularly in the Netherlands, where therapy called Snoezelen is used for developmental disabilities to create multi-sensory environments, letting the patients gravitate to the sensations that feel good for them. Watching students rummage through jars and jars of crayons or feeling their way through jars of buttons in an art space is a joy to watch.


Harmony offers visible evidence that someone cares enough about the space to invest energy in it. Often the students we work with come from disorder. Disordered spaces have been linked to feelings of fear, anxiety and depression, causing a negative effect on their behaviour. Creating ordered vignettes of beauty with colour and shape can almost certainly lift spirits. For example, the small things make a huge difference; from toys placed with books, to beautiful flowers and plants.


Everyone is born with a huge capacity to play and it’s very important to reconnect with that in a creative space of learning. Our culture needs more play. When we play, we learn without even realising it. Time diminishes and often our fear of self consciousness fades. This is obvious by the amount of adults dying to dress up on the Super Power Agency Bus in our dressing up costumes, releasing their creative inner child. Children go wild with the amount of play costumes available and all books they can touch and read – their joy is wonderful to behold. This play also removes the stigma of the dull, uninspiring classroom as they are blissfully unaware that learning is just about to become a lot more creative!.

‘Creativity is intelligence having fun’ – Albert Einstein

Adults and children dressing up for Super Power Agency featured in how creative space can inspire children, SBID Education Council blog post by Maxine Sloss
Adults and children dressing up for Super Power Agency featured in how creative space can inspire children, SBID Education Council blog post by Maxine Sloss

Magic & Surprise

The permission to believe in magic is the true joy of childhood, from Santa Claus to fairies living in the garden. This magic is captured in thousands of books from Harry Potter to the Lord of the Rings. Creating spaces with the element of magic gives a huge sense of enchantment. Surprise an unexpected object can be in its contradiction, great for diverting the mind and creates humour and wit. Every student at the Super power agency adores the spider man hanging from the dashboard of the bus. They don a cape and immediately think they can conquer any disability in their writing skills!


Reflective materials of all kinds can create sparkle; metallic, glitter, sequins are all associated with a celebration. The dressing up costumes and accessories on the Bus are designed to sparkle to celebrate the children who enter the Bus and in turn, the start of their creative learning with the agency. ‘Glitter celebrates’, Carrie Fisher once said; ‘Its happy. It makes you look like your up for a good time’.

Maxine Sloss
Founder of the Super Power Agency

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