Considering the Principles of Regenerative Design for Your Project

An increasing number of designers and architects want to bring sustainable and regenerative concepts to their luxury architecture and interiors, both to create groundbreaking projects and to have a developmental impact.

But what exactly does regenerative design mean? How do we begin to consider the regenerative capacity of our projects?

The nature of regenerative design is to be holistic. So just as important to consider is the question of how regenerative design and luxury design projects as these regenerative endeavors support and co-create developmental impacts on individuals, projects, and design all around.

The 7 Principles of Regenerative Design

Carol Sanford, founder of the Carol Sanford Institute, educates businesses on how to embrace regenerative thinking and practices. She has identified the seven principles of regenerative design as: wholes, potential, essence, development, nested, nodes, and fields. 

Here’s a brief exploration of what these principles mean and how to apply them in design and architecture:

  1. Wholes: Any construct operates autonomously within a system, as well as interactively with other systems. All individual components are selected and operate with the effect on the whole in mind. This is the key element of regenerative design, as it impacts the language used in all related discussions.
  2. Potential: Rather than addressing existing problems and issues, designs begin with a focus on potential—that is, the intention and effect to be achieved. Thus, disruptive, more fulfilling, and more beneficial outcomes become possible.
  3. Essence: Each creation is unique, as well as specifically created for its environment, thus making it indispensable and non-displaceable.
  4. Development: Develop potential in each element of a creation, keeping in mind the holistic effect and increasing the capacity of the whole to evolve and be better.
  5. Nested: All designs are embedded within both greater and lesser systems, each playing a core role in the success of the entire whole, as well as other nested wholes.
  6. Nodes: In tackling an objective, projects target the points of highest and most systemic return—similar to how in acupuncture, a single point or set of points are recognized as most effective for achieving systemic regeneration.
  7. Fields: As a design operates within living, dynamic processes, it should make appropriate contributions to the system that benefits it as a whole.

How Can Regenerative Design Principles Help My Project?

So what are some shifts that can occur around this? Perhaps one of the most impactful is a shift in thinking to become more conscious vs. automatic or machine-like.

What does that look like?

First, designers can become more ambitious with their work by starting with the principle of potential. No longer do creators have to limit thinking only to attempting to repair that which is already broken. Instead, we can work from the heart of what we ultimately wish to achieve with our spaces and regenerative designs. Only by departing from the tried and tired can we achieve true disruptive innovation.

Second, we are reminded that luxury design can represent so much more than just stylish looks. Regenerative design places us at the forefront of modern attitudes and functionalities while respecting ancient wisdom. We are capturing the essence of our era itself by representing a smarter, healthier means of living in which we actively work as forces that enact regenerative development potential.

Finally, recognize that this is the age of regenerative design, and it represents unique possibilities for architects and designers. This reaches to the building of houses, our communities, and, perhaps even more importantly, serves to create a supportive field of evolutionary thinking. As co-creators of unique spaces, we are honored to share the beauty, the efficiency, and the vitality of the spaces that our clients want to support and live in.

We are spearheading the mind shift from sustainable architecture to regenerative.


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