Hi I am Susan Clements-Loftus. I am an interior designer and mother. I have just graduated from Plymouth College of Art with a degree in Interior Design and during my second year I began to develop The ZenCube. I have fostered many children and have become very concerned about the impact early life trauma has on our mental health. I have also witnessed the devastating effects of mental illness on adults. I wanted to design something that could help. Research reveals that environments can increase or reduce our stress, which in turn impacts on our bodies. What we see and hear, changes not only our mood, but how our nervous, endocrine, and immune systems work.
Being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings. Exposure to nature not only makes us feel better emotionally, it contributes to our physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones. It may even reduce mortality, according to scientists such as public health researchers Stamatakis and Mitchell. (University of Minnesota)
Nature Soothes Nature Heals Nature Restores
21st century life is very stressful and it's not going to get any easier. In the UK in 2018, there were 6,507 suicides, according to The Samaritans, a rise of 11.8%.
I have designed this exterior, sensory, well-being space so that people can take time out, away from the stresses of life, to reconnect with nature, to feel rested and restored. The ZenCube, inspired by Japanese Tea Houses is a glass room which, located in beautiful settings has panoramic views. It can also be installed internally with projected choices of footage and sounds of nature. Inside The ZenCube are recliners, an aromatherapy diffuser of essential oils, herbal teas and soft natural fibre throws. All five senses are nurtured.The ZenCube is sustainably designed, solar powered and has one way glass for total privacy. Guests will enjoy a lovely relaxing experience whatever the weather. Patients suffering from mental illness or undergoing treatment for cancer would be able to spend time in The ZenCube to help counteract the horrible effects of their illnesses.
The Internal ZenCube
I will use the money raised to work with an architect who specialises in sustainable design to develop The ZenCube. A prototype will be launched at the Chelsea Flower Show in a well-being garden. It will then be marketed to the spa industry, hospitals, offices, city centres and anywhere where people are suffering from stress and need time to breathe, connect with nature and feel rested.
Panoramic views from inside The ZenCube
“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better”
~ Albert Einstein.