Interview with Bonnie Casamassima, the Keynote Speaker of the 2020 CHRYSALIS AWARDS

We are thrilled to have Bonnie Casamassima, Principal of Interweave People Place, speak to attendees of this year's CHRYSALIS AWARDS.

Bonnie was kind enough to answer some questions about presenting at the award ceremony and her thoughts on remaining healthy and happy during the COVID-19 crisis. Please read further for her responses:

What excites you about the CHRYSALIS AWARDS

       The fact that it honors the people and the projects that help make our community thrive. So many people work hard every day to make our community and world a better place.  It's incredible that the CHRYSALIS AWARDS focus on celebrating those inspiring people. 

Why are you excited to speak at this event?

       I'm most excited to help celebrate the heart-lead and energizing people who make our sustainability community such a powerful place! 

Due to the global pandemic, a lot of people are spending a lot more time at home. What’s your #1 tip for harnessing health and happiness at home? 

       Our built environments have a direct impact on our biological, psychological and sociological wellbeing. We intuitively feel it and there's an ever-expanding body of scientific evidence that helps us understand the how and why. 

       #1 tip is hard because, as we know, a holistic approach is what makes a healthy and regenerative environment thrive. If one tip is a must then I recommend increasing the indoor/outdoor connection of your home. This field, known formally as Biophilic Design, seeks to incorporate the essence of our natural world in our built ones. When done successfully, we can see powerful health and wellbeing benefits. Consider things as simple as opening your blinds to optimize your views to nature and access to daylight. (I know it sounds very simple, but you'd be surprised how rarely we do this!). This benefits us by aligning our circadian rhythms (our body's internal clock). If possible, sleep with your bedroom on the east of your home (in the northern hemisphere) so you rise with the sun further aligning your circadian rhythms. 

       Open your windows in nice weather to increase natural ventilation. The EPA estimates that our indoor air can often be 3-5 times more toxic than our outdoor air. This is often due, in a large part, to the off-gassing of the toxins in our materials and the sometimes less than optimal ventilation of our spaces. On that note, other ways to increase the indoor/outdoor connection are to integrate regional non-toxic natural and recycled materials with natural colors and patterns. 

       Finally, incorporating an ecosystem of space types providing support to a range of emotions and people's needs from quiet reprieve (such as a small tech-free corner reading nook with warm colors) to active socialization (such as a bright family room with natural daylight, materials and patterns) can support the overall emotional wellbeing and happiness of everyone in their home. 

       Ultimately, everyone is different and celebrating that is what can make life so amazing! Above all, it's most important to honor what supports you most. If you feel most alive, happy and healthy surrounded by bright green polka dots on your wall in your outdoor patio then celebrate it! (Using Zero VOC paint of course). 


Bonnie Casamassima, LEED BD+C, MFA

Bonnie Casamassima is the Principal of Interweave People Place. She is an Interior Design professional with expertise in workplace strategy, biophilic design, sustainability and research-driven environments. Her collaborative support focuses on guiding clients through the process of understanding how their spaces can be designed to enhance their wellbeing, productivity and support their intentional quality of life.

She is an Adjunct Professor of Interior Design at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), serves on the board of Sustainable Design Collaborative Atlanta and is a LEED BD+C Professional. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Interior Design from The University of Tennessee and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Interior Design with a focus in environmental psychology from SCAD.



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