Design Review: IDP goes to ABX 2019 (Season 1, Episode 6)

Inclusive Designers Podcast
Design Review: IDP goes to ABX 2019 (Season 1, Episode 6)
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  • By JANET ROCHE & CAROLYN ROBBINS
  • Edited by: Matthew Bogart
  • Profiled ABX 2019 Vendors: List & contact info below

• The IDP team makes their way through Boston’s annual ABX convention (ArchitectureBoston Expo) and talks to the vendors that presented products of particular interest to Inclusive Designers. ABX is a great place to get caught up on all the newest and greatest products and techniques, and talk shop. We explore products that incorporate the benefits of functionality and design, smart technology and of course, our favorite… biophilia.

Topics in this episode include: Discussions on how… brightly colored panels contributed to lowering the suicide rate in a very grey Alaskan town; smart technology helps open doors for those who can’t: a roaming plant store lets people who just need a plant benefit those in need; and a simple idea of putting fiber optics into terrazzo helps calm weary travelers at the airport (as well as people with autism, OCD and anxiety). This last one is super duper cool… so cool you are going to want to find a place to put one in your home!

Special Thanks To:

Contact Info For Our Profiled Vendors:

Transcript:

Design Review: IDP goes to ABX 2019

(Music)

Janet: In this series we will be discussing specific examples of design techniques that can make a positive difference for people living with certain human conditions.

Carolyn: The more a designer understands the client and or the community the more effective and respectful the design will be.

(music up, then lower)

Janet: Welcome to Inclusive Designers Podcast, I’m your host, Janet Roche…

Carolyn: and I’m your moderator, Carolyn Robbins.

Janet: We recently attended the ABX 2019 show which took place in Boston… to get a look of some of the new products that could be of interest to inclusive designers.

Carolyn: ABX stands for the … Architecture Boston Expo. It is the largest building and design tradeshow and conference in the Northeast.

According to their website, it is “the only place in the Northeast where you can meet face-to-face with over 300 exhibiting companies on the forefront of the latest building and design products, trends and cutting-edge innovations”.

Janet: ABX is presented by the Boston Society of Architects, or B-S-A, and before you say, that’s just for Boston, it is an internationally known show that attracts over 8,000 architects, builders, contractors and design professionals.

Carolyn: We took the opportunity to explore the floor at the Boston Convention Center and talk to all sorts of people about their products and services, and what makes them stand out from all the rest.

Janet: There were also some great organizations represented here. For instance, the Institute for Human Centered Design, or I-H-C-D. They provide education and consultation about best practices that go beyond the legal requirements to design places, things, communication and policy. They promote design that works for everyone across the spectrum of ability and age and enhances the human experience. That is the goal for all of us as inclusive designers too.

Carolyn: And, they also let us store our coats at their booth (J: Yes they did)… we want to give a big thank you to them for that.

Janet: And while we’re at it, let’s add a few more quick shout outs… one to the team at ‘High Profile’ magazine. They are a monthly publication, and also fellow podcasters with their ‘Build Better’ podcast… which has some interesting episodes, including one on the WELL accreditation.

Carolyn: And also, to ‘Dean & Derek’, the well-known Landscape Designers you may have seen on shows like ‘Victory Garden’ on PBS, or ‘Rock Solid’ and ‘Indoors out’ on the DIY network. Or you might have heard them more recently on their own ‘Let’s Go to Work’ podcast. They were very helpful, not only in sharing with us some very relevant podcast pointers, but also for pointing us to specific vendors at ABX they felt Inclusive Designers should know about.

Janet: One vendor they sent us to deserves mentioning. ‘Millennium Forms’ sells ‘Light Interface’ colored steel panels. It’s a very vibrant and creative siding option. They told us about an incredible project they did in Alaska in an area with a high suicide rate. They re-designed the community center with these colorful panels and a couple of murals, the suicide rate decreased significantly. Never underestimate the power of design and how it can affect someone’s well-being. This could be of particular interest to anyone working with trauma informed design.

Carolyn: We’ll post pictures of this and also the Kansas City museum that designer Jonathan Kharfen worked on. It draws people from all over just to see this unique and colorful building. You can also see more of ‘Millennium Forms’ work on their website. Check them out at ‘MillenniumForms.com’…

Janet: There were definitely some great products and vendors on the show floor we think inclusive designers will be interested in learning about… but some of the ones I found most interesting were the ones that came up with products that incorporated the benefits of functionality and design, smart technology and of course, my favorite, biophilia…

Carolyn: so, let’s start with a company that focuses on improving the quality of life and providing increased freedom for aging clients…

Janet: We talked with a husband and wife team that own a company called Home Healthsmith… Owner Bill Bohmbach and I discussed their projects and products for mobility and accessibility…

Carolyn: Let’s take a listen to your interview with him…

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• Bill Bohmbach/ Home Healthsmith

Janet: So today I am here with…

Bill: Bill Bohmbach from Home Healthsmith.

Janet: And what does Home Healthsmith do?

Bill: We specialize in accessibility for people in their homes, businesses.

Janet: Like what kind of accessibility?

Bill: It all depends on the structure that we’re dealing with, but primarily residential elevators, vertical wheelchair lifts, custom stair lifts. That’s basically the core of our business.

Janet: Now, are you seeing your business grow quite a bit over the last couple years…

Bill: The demographic with the aging baby boomers is driving our business continually. We’re experiencing 20 to 30 percent growth annually.

Janet: That’s pretty impressive. Right. So, you and I talked a little bit prior to getting on the air. And I see this beautiful two-thousand-nineteen PRISM Award winning, Silver Award winning, elevator that you did down here in the Boston Wharf District.

Bill: That’s correct. That was done down on Union Wharf.

Janet: Can you tell us a little bit about the project?

Bill: Yeah. This was a very special elevator. The fact that it’s all glass— a hoist way and a glass cab— makes it very unusual in a residence. We partnered with Apex Carpentry and Oasis Glass to create this. This was about a 14-month project from start to finish.

Janet: Well, it’s absolutely beautiful. And we will have that, pictures of it on InclusiveDesigners.com for those of you that want to check it out, it’s absolutely beautiful. You should really be proud of yourselves.

Bill: We are very proud of it. This was this was a very challenging project that pulled my whole team in all kinds of different directions. And we got it done.

Janet: It’s just amazing. And so you also, it looks like you also do outdoor lifts. Can you talk a little bit about them? What makes them special and unique to this particular industry?

Bill: I can. And like, for our outdoor lifts which typically will service a deck or some type of a landing outside of the home, we’ve teamed up with a manufacturer that produces a lift that’s all aluminum. And that’s very unusual in this business where most lifts are powder coated steel. The benefit of the all aluminum lift is obviously it’s never going to rust, and it’ll stand up to the harsh elements that we have here in New England. (J: New England, right, yeah) And it also runs on batteries (J: oh!), so that if you have a power outage in your home. (Right.) You’re going to be able to use this lift.

Janet: Oh, that’s a key component to it as well. I think that that’s terrific. Well, thank you so much for letting us stop by today and talk to you a little bit.

Bill: Well, thank you for stopping by, I appreciate it.

Janet: one last thing. Bill, is there anything you need to have our listeners know and how they can get in touch with you?

Bill: We operate and are licensed in three states in New England– Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. And if people need to get a hold of us, they can call our office in area code 401-293-0415 and a member of our team will be happy to address their needs and get them the help they need.

Janet: And for those of our listeners that might be outside of that three-state area, is there anybody else we can contact, any partners that you have?

Bill: Absolutely. We have an extensive list of other dealers for the products that we supply here in New England and across the country. And we’re happy to facilitate a referral.

Janet: OK. You heard it here first. All right. Thank you. Have a good day.

Bill: Thank you so much, this is my wife Linda, my business partner (J: oh, hi, Janet Roche, nice to meet you.) These guys are going to make me famous…

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Carolyn: That was a very ‘elevating’ discussion…

Janet: Elevating…? Got it. I enjoyed talking to Bill about the services Home Healthsmith provides, especially their beautiful award-winning elevator installation.

Carolyn: And just when we were wrapping up our conversation with Bill, his partner and wife, Linda, joined us and she told us about another way their company is special…

Janet: They just created a showroom called the “Independent Center for Adaptive Living” which lets you actually try out the many products that can be used to create a safe, accessible home…

Carolyn: Let’s hear what she has to say about their new home health showcase…

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• Linda Bohmbach/ The Independent Center for Adaptive Living

Janet: So, moving on from Bill, I’m now here with his lovely wife, Linda. And Linda, why don’t you go and introduce yourself and tell me a little bit why I am now talking to you.

Linda: So, Linda Bohmbach, I have with my husband, we’ve opened the Home Healthsmith, which is really focused on mobility and accessibility. So, anything that enables people to stay in their home. So, we call it from grab bars to the elevators. Why we’re talking now is because we’re in the process of developing and designing the, a showroom that is called the Independent Center for Adaptive Living. So, it is designed such that people could come in, try, feel, touch and demo. So, we’ve worked with the local kitchen company, an appliance company. We are also in partnership with one of the local and largest furniture companies in the state of Rhode Island, that, they have provided the adaptive beds; they’ve got the chairs; we’ve got the products to help an individual get up out of a chair. You know, let them get their balance. They may have a lift chair, but then they’re on a walker. So, as they get up out of that chair, they have to hold onto something. There’s a couch cane that’s out there that we use with those with those things. We have bed rails that we use with the new high low Nairobi bed that’s got three motors. So, the motive and the passion is to enable people to stay safe in their home and to let them know that it doesn’t have to cost them 30-thousand dollars in some case (J: or more) or tons more. (Right.) If someone’s in a hospice situation or a short-term rehab situation, what has to happen for them to come home?

Janet: Right. Exactly. And I think that this is a great idea. I love the idea of having the ability to kind of, literally touch and see for yourself that these things can be beautiful and integrated beautifully within your home and not also have to cost an arm and a leg and take six months to take care of. So. So now tell me, where is this and how can I come visit?

Linda: So, we’re located in Portsmouth, Rhode Island at 207 Highpoint Avenue. We are right off of the 24, Route 24. So, you can get it there from anywhere from Connecticut to Massachusetts to the Cape Cod to anywhere in Rhode Island. You can reach us by 401-293-0415. We’re open from 8-to-4:30 during the week, weekends and evenings by appointment.

Janet: Terrific. We’ll definitely have that all on our InclusiveDesigners.com website. Do you have anything that you want our listeners to know? Anything that might pop out at you?

Linda: I think it’s important when you’re working with a designer or an architect of any kind, even a construction company. They need to know what the mobility situation is. They need to know what they’re designing for. What works for you may not work for the other individual. So, it really depends. I mean, this client may have ALS, that situation is going to be completely different than someone that may be, have dementia. (J: Dementia. Right.) So those are so important. A number of things. MS. All those things need to be taken into account.

Janet: Yeah. The comorbidities, I don’t think are always are taken into account. It’s like, OK, you’re aging. You just need a grab bar. Good luck to you. And it’s just really not the case.

Linda: It’s not because, you know, we deal with, we have family members that have M.S… So, what they’re going through, we know what they’ve gone through and what they are going through. But we always say, don’t plan for now. So, if you’re, if you’re working with a client and they’re building their forever home. Think of 10 to 15, 20 years down the road. What’s going to need to, what’s going to happen? Smart technology is taking over. Embrace it. Look at it. Use it. Because it’s coming, even to the point there are products out there that you can, you can look on to a smart tablet or smartphone and determine whether mom got out of bed. Did mom turn the water on? Has mom even turned the TV on? (J: Right.) So, it’s amazing what technology can do now. And I always just say plan. Think of, think of the long term. Don’t think of now.

Janet: I think that’s actually very, you know, good and sage advice to really kind of keep an eye on the future. And, you know, it made me realize, I mean, we kind of talked a little bit about this prior off the air. But what do you say to those clients who say, oh, I don’t want the granny bar and it’s going to ruin the property value of my home, what do you say to those particular clients?

Linda: You’re talking about grab bars.

Janet: Yes. Well, they call home granny bars, right? I mean, you know, there’s a reason for it. There is a reason for it. I mean, I just want my listeners to know, I’m, you know, there are some beautiful grab bars out there now that don’t look anything like grab bars. I’ve seen them in all different shapes and sizes and colors and designs. So just kind of reminding our listeners about that. But what do you personally say to like designers and or, you know, clients, obviously, that get worried about that and putting this stuff into their homes?

Linda: So, to the point that you just said, there are companies that we work with that can make an absolute beautiful grab bar that it doesn’t look at first glance like a grab bar, but it really is. And I always say put them everywhere. You can, you can design a bathroom to where you can have one next to the, next to the commode where it doesn’t look like a grab bar. It’s a circular type of thing. You should always look to have a grab bar where you are stepping into a shower, walk, you know, walking into a shower. There are so many things that you can do now with those in terms of even the lever handles that you can use, in using those on cabinets in, in bathrooms. And again, it goes through. So, I always say, the more, to me, (J: the merrier,) the more the merrier. It’s true.

Janet: And I just want to remind our listeners that we’ll have all the information that Linda gave us and her husband, Bill. And we’ll have it on InclusiveDesigners.com. So, thank you so much, Linda. Thank you for being with us today.

Linda: Your welcome, thank you.

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Carolyn: Both Linda and Bill were very sincere in their desire to help inclusive designers with their projects and connect them to whatever resources are needed.

Janet: And I’m hoping we can take a tour of their new ‘Independent Center for Adaptive Living’ and also talk to them some more on the topic of aging in place. They are definitely proving that function does not have to be boring.

Carolyn: And now moving on to something a little more abstract, but definitely very cool, and also not boring, we noticed a booth we just had to stop and check out…

Janet: I met with Loren from Sensitile and was introduced to the concept of light manipulating materials. When you pass your hand over them, the light changes. They have the ability to create unique designs that can be very adaptable for use in healthcare. It may be an interesting choice for designers who are working on projects for clients with Alzheimer’s, Developmental Disorders and Autism…

Carolyn: We will definitely have links so you can see what it looks like, but meanwhile, here is more about Sensitile and how it can be used…

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• Loren Primeau/ Sensitile

Janet: We’re still here at ABX, and I walked by the booth and I saw sense-sa-tile, (L: Sensa-tile) Sensitile, and it had shiny objects in it. And I said, I have to stop and talk to this guy. So, for my listeners, for our Inclusive Designer’s podcast, why don’t you introduce yourself?

Loren: My name is Loren. I work at sales at Sensitile. We are a material manufacturer of light manipulating materials. So, they’re going to create materials that I can move light, change light in different ways, in different spaces. We do a lot of different things that are pieces that are just to create movement of light or using light to create light walls, light features. But also, we do things that are interactive and talking about kind of inclusive spaces, one of the most recent projects we did is we worked on a kind of a calming space in an airport. And the idea was to use the interactive material, so, as you move over it, it moves your light and shadow through the material. So, you’re having that moment for people who have those issues, who need to have that calm space, they can get caught in the movement of the light, in the material. and kind of get sucked into that for a second to let the world fall away around them so they could have that moment of respite before having to go back to the kind of the hustle and bustle of the world around them…

Janet: Especially at the airport. I mean, that’s just incredible. So, I was trying to figure out. How was I going to describe what I just saw? So, it’s like basically some sort of like concrete (L: a terrazzo) a Terrazzo, OK. And then on the terrazzo there are these reflections of light. Is that how that works? Or are they manipulated from an electrical source? How is this working?

Loren: So, there’s no power to it. What it is, is it’s using the fiber optic principle. So light is entering one light point and is being reflected out to another. So instead of reflecting light it is reflecting shadow so that you create a dark spot on one it is going to move that dark spot to another place. And so that movement and it kind of, it creates that spontaneous effect of not knowing where that shadow is going to appear in the material.

Janet: Right. Because I can touch it in one part and not at the other part, and then it lights up on one end and it’s not lighting up on the other end. And it, I just thought it was just so incredibly cool. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Loren: I think one of the nice things about it is everyone thinks it’s electronic. they think that its powered. it’s actually just using ambient light. So, there’s no power requirements, nothing that you need to install to keep it maintained. You just install it and it works with the space around you. You’re not having to think about how the technology is going to integrate 10, 20 years in the future.

Janet: When you installed this in the airport, what was the takeaway from the airport itself? Has it been, assuming it’s been implemented? I mean, are people finding this to be something positive? And are you guys going to be doing it to other areas of maybe areas that would be considered calming spaces for maybe like kids who have autism or…

Loren: That’s exactly what it was for. I couldn’t think of the words before, but that’s what it was for, it was for kind of a calming space for children and adults with autism. And it was kind of the space in the airport. I don’t know if they had planned to do it in other spaces, but we’ve done spaces like that, I know we’ve made also made children’s toys. We’ve worked with a company that made children’s toys using the interactive material. So early development kind of playing with that movement of light.

Janet: Interesting. Right. Oh, that’s really fascinating… is there anything else you would like, any of the inclusive designers out there to know about your product?

Loren: I think it’s about the fact that there’s no actual power technology physically in the material. So, it’s a material that’s going to last 10, 20, 30 years because it’s just using the ambient light in a space. It’s reflecting that light and using it in different ways that even if I change the space around it, I don’t have to figure out how everything is going to integrate with the power and with the lighting of the material.

Janet: And that’s so smart. And I just want to go and do a quick shout out to one of the panels that you also have here. And it’s a panel of the map of Boston. And I’ll have that on Inclusive-Designers.com, our website, and maybe even a picture with Loren. So. All right. So that’s about it. Thank you, Loren, so much for having us stop by today. Thank you very much.

Loren: Thank you. It’s been a pleasure.

Janet: Thanks.

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Carolyn: I’m still trying to think about where in my house I could put a small interactive table. They’re very cool.

Janet: Right, or a whole wall. And again, I can see it being used to design for different types of human conditions, or for anybody for that matter. The products that Sensitile had on display were really fantastic.

Carolyn: You might say that to help create a calming space, they’ve ‘unlocked’ the connection between light and design. And speaking of Locks, we should tell you about a new product line from Accurate Lock…

Janet: I was wondering when you were going to work in another pun, and there it is!

Carolyn: you know I couldn’t resist…

Janet: But yes, I spoke to Mark at Accurate Lock and Hardware, and learned about their Smart Entry web-based lock sets.

Carolyn: and we’ll let him explain a little more about that…

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• Mark Gallo/ Accurate Lock and Hardware

Janet: So, I am here now at …

Mark: Accurate Lock and Hardware, we’re promoting our Smart Entry mortis locks. So, it’s a web-based lock set. Enter with your iPhone or your Android. And that’s why we’re here today.

Janet: OK. And why don’t you introduce yourself to our listeners?

Mark: Hi, this is Mark Gallo. I’m the director of business development for Accurate Lock and Hardware out of Stamford, Connecticut. And here to promote our products from pocket door locks to our smart entry locks set.

Janet: Yeah. So, I saw as I was walking by, I recognized that, first of all, I love the fact that for, if you do want to use the handles on these doors for somebody who has arthritis, it’s not the round doorknob. So, this is very important for designers to keep in mind. But I also thought it was it was a great idea that now you can go and use your smartphone to open up the door. So why don’t you tell me a little bit about your particular product?

Mark: Sure. So, this lock set, this smart entry lock set, you could use a smartphone to open up your door and just click your smartphone and press on your lever handle to get in. So, it’s very easy and it’s intuitive to do that. So, no problem. This lock set, you could open your phone, your door, basically anywhere in the world to let somebody into your residence for cleaning the house or for maintenance, whatever the case may be. Accurate also has products that are electric latch retraction. So, you don’t even need any handles at all where you could just press a button and the door will just open. So those are great products as well…

Janet: Well, especially for people who might be, you know, maybe a quadriplegic or something like that, that they would have that, you know, instantaneous access to wherever they’re trying to go and have that independence as well.

Mark: Sure. So, for ADA, it’s just it’s a big part of our company. And we want to make sure that our, all of our front doors are ADA accessible. We also are very large in the ADA realm of a pocket door or a sliding door arrangement. So, when you have an ADA situation in a pocket door, you want to make sure that it’s spec’d up properly and anybody can call us at Accurate Lock and Hardware, and we could definitely tell you how to spec that out. So, you have a nice true ADA pocket door. It’s really important just to have high quality hardware on an ADA pocket door so nobody has to twist or pinch or grab a handle to open the door in any way. So, we want to make sure that it’s just very accessible for people to work through their pocket doors. And we have a lot of solutions for those pocket doors.

Janet: That’s great. So now your Accurate Pocket Door, does that still work on the same smart entry technology as the regular door? or Is it two separate products?

Mark: Well, great question. No, it doesn’t work on the smart entry. The smart entry is really for the front door situations. So maybe down the line we’ll have some smart entry for the pocket doors, but right now they’re more of a manual case. So, we’ll just have a high-quality product for those, for those pocket doors or sliding doors or barn doors and making sure those are ADA accessible. Again, we have a lot of solutions where you can visit our site or give us a buzz and we’d be glad to go over that with you.

Janet: Well, our listeners know by now, or hope that they know by now, that they can go to InclusiveDesigners.com, and we’re going to put up all your information on the website and let people go in and look at your products. And so, but we thank you so much for having us stop by today. Is there anything else you want designers to know about your product that maybe we haven’t gone over?

Mark: We just appreciate if anybody go to our site and see what Accurate is all about. We make our products 100 percent in the USA. We’ve been manufacturing in Stamford, Connecticut since 1972. Really quite proud of our products and hiring people locally to make our products and um very unique and very niche. So please visit us. And see what we’re all about. Thank you.

Janet: Well, terrific. Thank you so much, Mark. Thank you for taking the time out to talk to Inclusive Designers podcast listeners.

Mark: Thanks, Inclusive Designers… you guys rock.

Janet: We’re going to use that at some point, alright, great. Well thank you.

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Carolyn: And by the way, we do rock. And speaking of rocks, our next topic deals with biophilia…

Janet: I see what you did there.

Carolyn: Well, Biophilia does incorporate rocks and plants and nature into design. And our next vendor may help designers ‘branch’ out with new ways to add biophilia.

Janet: I talked with Janice Goodman from Cityscapes who is an expert on biophilia… And I learned about her new product line called Fernature (Fer-Nature) and how a great way to bring nature inside is taking ‘root’…

Carolyn: Good one.

Janet: I couldn’t resist…

Carolyn: I love it, I’m rubbing off on you… And here is your interview with Cityscapes…

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• Janice Goodman/ Cityscapes- Living Fernature

Janet: So here we are with…

Janice: Janice Goodman.

Janet: And Janice Goodman, what do you do?

Janice: I transform people’s lives through the power of plants.

Janet: And what exactly does that mean?

Janice: I own Cityscapes and we create healthy environments in the workplace by bringing interior landscaping in, and providing exterior landscaping and living walls, et cetera to bring nature indoors…

Janet: Which is something that I love. And so, you and I have talked a little bit beforehand and we’re talking about something near and dear to my heart called Biophilia. But I’m going to let you, the expert, talk about what that is and let our listeners know.

Janice: Well, I’ve been. I coined the term “biophiliac” That’s what I am. I am a biophiliac. I admit it. It’s OK. My husband knows and it’s nothing bad. Bottom line is biophilia, the innate human emotional connection to nature. Before the term was even coined many years ago, I’ve always felt it. I know that we all need to be in the presence, in nature. So basically, humans have been in existence for 200,000 years, but we’ve only been, so we’ve been in nature and wired, our DNA is wired to be in nature. It’s only been two hundred years that we’ve had urbanization. So, we’ve been stuck in cities with concrete and steel and why do you think there’s more stress and there’s more crime? Because we’re not wired as humans to be in these types of situations. By bringing biophilic design into our cities, outside and in, will make people less stressed. It will make productivity increase, absenteeism decrease. There’s so many studies going on right now that are proving that biophilic design truly helps humans in general, whether it’s inside, outside, in the workplace, in schools, the academics, the grades are higher by having parks closer to schools or by having plantings, you know, inside these buildings.

Janet: Right. It’s just amazing to me, was it, Roger Ulrich that did that study about the idea that if patients had access to some sort of biophilia, that they recuperate quicker and they have less and less pain and less need for pain medication. So, was that the study?

Janice: There are many, many, many proven studies that show how they’re, you know, the post op stays are shorter if they have access to a place that they can go to, like a nice healing garden or, you know, there’s a lot of hospitals, I designed one in Indiana for a landscape architect, the Parkland Cancer Center, that basically has a healing garden. So even if they’re stuck in their room, they have to go take a walk. They can go to a place where they can just, it relieves their stress or even access to have a window in your room proves that their stays are shorter, and their pain medication is less. So, there’s multiple, multiple studies on how biophilic design in these hospitals and health care facilities are helping. And it’s saving millions, if not billions of dollars.

Janet: Well, actually, this is kind of an interesting transition. So, I would think that if I was a listener, I’d be like, well, so how can I do this at home? And one of the products that you now have is you have furniture, right? Living furniture.

Janice: Fer-Nature…

Janet: Fern-Nature, ah, I didn’t catch that. No, I know I didn’t catch that at first. Very nice. Oh, yeah. Well, plant on words. So why don’t you tell me a little bit about your tables that you’re creating and how you can bring then biophilia into maybe, say your home, without a lot of fuss and muss.

Janice: So, about a couple of years ago, I did a conference and it was on biophilic design trends in the industry. So, one of the things I saw was this like little table and had some plants in it and I was like, oh, this is kind of cool. So, I started kind of thinking about ways that we can incorporate plants into some wood pieces and metal pieces. We’re bringing (J: all more parts of nature in some respects. Right). Exactly. So, we displayed here at ABX some of our newer pieces and it’s gotten quite a buzz. There are so many people interested in it. And again, there’s more organic elements like wood, you know, some of the wood tabletops. And yes, we can make them lower maintenance. And sometimes if people are, really have a black thumb, we can put preserved mosses and preserved ferns in them.

Janet: we’ll, Oh, that’s actually really good point, because I am notoriously, I say my apartment is where plants go to die. I know. And I feel terrible about it. But so that’s a really good, important part to know.

Janice: Yeah. So, we’re trying to make this, so, we obviously provide plant care for our corporate accounts so we can go in and take care of these tables. But if we, you know, we’re starting to look at, because it was such a residential, so many people wanted them for their homes. In fact, we sold a piece right off the floor today. So (J: that’s great). So, we’re trying to, so we have to ask the questions, are you good with plants or not? So, if they’re not, we will make the piece with less, you know, plants and maybe more preserved rocks and mosses and preserved ferns, so that it’s still very, it’s still biophilic because it’s still nature. And it doesn’t have to be alive to give you, its ‘biomimicry’…

Janet: There’s another great buzzword.

Janice: Yes. So, if we can steer people in the right direction for easier plants, or if they love plants, let’s get some really cool exotic y’know plants that they, that they can handpick for their tables. So, the Living Fernature has been like explosive at this show. It’s just so different. It’s not the norm. And I got to tell you, the trend for biophilic design, because I’ve been working with architects for thirty-seven years. I’ve been in this industry and I’ve owned my company for twenty-seven years. And there’s ebbs and flows. When I first started, plants were hot and went through a long period where I literally had to talk architects into putting plants in buildings because it was all about clean, crisp designs. Don’t put any greenery in there. And now it’s back and we are so busy and growing, we can’t keep up with the demand.

Janet: Yeah. No, it is crazy. And again, we’ll have to spend a little more time talking a lot more about Biophilia and your great, Fernature, (Janice: Fernature) Fernature furniture. I love that.

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Carolyn: I really like that she calls herself a “biophiliac”… And with their Fernature furniture, Cityscapes is bringing biophilia to the ‘table’ in more ways than one.…

Janet: I get it (chuckle)… meanwhile, I really like the idea that their ‘Living FerNature’ line brings biophilia inside in such a functional way. So, in case you haven’t heard, plants have a number of evidence-based health benefits. Studies have shown plants can knock out stress by calming the sympathetic nervous system and can also make people feel happier. More research shows spending time around nature has a positive effect on a person’s mood and energy levels. Plus, since it’s part of the furniture, you can add biophilia to a space without needing room for floor plants.

Carolyn: Janice said their vision is to transform people’s lives through the power of plants, and these tables provide an interesting way to do that. But she also has a separate more straightforward way of getting plants into the workplace, and it’s a charitable offshoot of Cityscapes…

Janet: It’s so great, it’s her way of giving back to the community. Cityscapes turned a food truck into a roaming greenhouse. It’s called Trans-Planted.

Carolyn: I’ll “leaf” the rest of the plant puns to Janice, and she has quite a few of them too… Let’s hear more of your conversation with Janice…

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• Janice Goodman/ Boston Cityscapes- Transplanted

Janet: … tell me a little bit more about this project that we’re standing in front of. I know, this is one of your babies. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Janice: Well, we created Transplanted, which is a roaming greenhouse, and it is a charitable offshoot. I have a lot of plant puns, sorry…

Janet: Who wouldn’t.

Janice: They never catch me with my plants down.

Janet: (laughs)

Janice: So, Transplanted is the coolest plant truck ever. So, when you think of a food truck. This is a plant truck. So, it’s a little roaming plant shop on wheels. So, we decided, I do a lot of charitable things in my personal time and with work, because we’ve been really just very grateful for the Boston community that we’ve been so successful, our company Cityscapes. So, we want to give back. And the way of giving back to our clients, as well as these nice local charities and international charities as well, is that we can actually expose them and raise money for them. So, we’ll go up to our client’s office buildings and they will get parking passes. We’ll plop down. They’ll sent it out to all their tenants to say, hey, Transplanted is here and everybody in the building comes down and swarms us and buys all these cute pots and plants. And it’s just the coolest thing. It’s all over social media. And we’ve already been on TV and in the {Boston} Globe and all these different things. It’s really exciting. So, all the profits go to the charity that they pick. So, our clients pick the charity. in some instances, they don’t, like today, this ABX show, we got to pick the charity. So, my daughter’s actually interning for Breaktime Cafe, which is a new nonprofit. These two Harvard seniors, it started off as a little project for college and it’s turned into this new nonprofit that they’re getting funded. And they’re opening up a restaurant cafe where they’re going to be hiring homeless young adults who have been basically kicked out of their homes for one reason or another. And they’re giving them a path of number one, they’re giving them work, and number two, they’re giving them like mentorship and getting them on their feet. And it’s really exciting. So, all the profits this week are going to this Breaktime Cafe. So, we’ve already raised over eleven- thousand-five-hundred dollars to local charities since June. So, it’s super exciting, super fun and exhausting. But I love it. Love it. Love it.

Janet: Well, thank you so much for spending the time today with us at
Inclusive Designers at our podcast. And I just wanted to let our listeners know that all your information will be up on our website. And so, they can get more of the information on the furniture and all the stuff that we’ve talked about. And also, we talked a little bit more about maybe even putting a little more stuff on there. I just winked at her, about biophilia. And then, we would love to have you back at some point and have like a whole, a full day of it. (Janice: I’d love to) Yeah, that would be great. Any last words of wisdom?

Janice: You can find out more information on BostonCityscapes.com or follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Transplanted Boston. My daughter, who’s in charge of the social media, would love to have more followers and do a story and all that fun stuff. So, thank you so much. It was a pleasure meeting you, ladies, and I look forward to our new podcast in the spring maybe, on biophilia?

Janet: That would be great. We would love it.

Janice: All right. Thank you so much.

Janet: Thank you, Janice. Bye bye.

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Carolyn: So it sounds like it ‘ex-seeded’ their expectations. More seriously, it’s great when a program like this is both a benefit to getting a little extra green into a space and also gives back to a worthy cause.

Janet: We plan on doing an episode on biophilia and I hope Janice can join us for that…

Carolyn: and that seems like a good point to stop for today.

Janet: ABX definitely provides some good resources for Inclusive designers…

Carolyn: and we hope you’ve enjoyed our review of it.

Janet: and of course, we’ll post more on all of the resources we covered in this episode on our web page at InclusiveDesigners.com…

Carolyn: If you like this podcast, please sponsor us on Patreon,

Janet: Hit the Patreon button on our webpage.

Carolyn: we look forward to your feedback too. Send us an email at info@InclusiveDesigners.com and let us know what you think, or if there are topics you would like us to cover.

Janet: Until our next podcast episode, stay well and stay well informed.
Thanks for listening.

Carolyn: Yes, thanks again.

 

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