When an orange is no longer an orange

I am often reminded of the moment I was asked, during my Freshman year at RISD, to construct a realistic orange out of nothing but corrugated cardboard, a matt knife and Elmer’s glue. It had to have the texture of an orange, be able to be peeled, have removable sections, seeds within the sections, and that stringy white membrane that I have always painstakingly discarded before eating the juicy citrus. The project is a legendary rite of passage.

Being challenged to think differently about everything was the centerpiece of my design education. Call it creative problem-solving. Don’t think of the glue as glue; don’t think of the cardboard as stiff and unyielding; don’t think of the knife as just an instrument for cutting. Reimagine it all. Abandon what you know in service of what you don’t. And then begin.

When I think about the work I do now, what is happening in the world, and, in particular, the wellness world, I think a lot about that orange. Everything is different; everything is being reimagined and reset. We no longer live the way we lived pre-COVID; we don’t work the way we worked; we don’t eat, breathe and sleep the way we did before.

So why should the buildings in which we live, work and play be the same? They’re not. “I want crown moldings” has been replaced with “I want circadian lighting.” “I’d like an apartment with a terrace” has been replaced with “I’d like the inside of my apartment to be biophilic.” The demands are different, and architects and designers, developers, investors, technologists and scientists are all racing to meet these new and important demands. It’s no longer an option for an elite few; it’s the birthright of all to live in a place where wellbeing has been “built-in” and space has been reimagined.

If you don’t believe me, come to an event I’m producing on September 28, in New York City (IRL) and, of course, online. Because getting together has also been reimagined.

Join me and a who’s who of leading thinkers, researchers, developers, business owners and some favorite designers as they reframe the very idea of how we live in our spaces.

We will rethink everything together. But the oranges will be real.

Nancy Davis
Chief Creative Officer, Executive
Director, Global Wellness Institute, US

Wellness Real Estate & Communities Symposium
Tuesday, September 28, 8:00 AM-4:00 PM ET • In Person NYC & Virtual