Move Away. Move Back.
In our fast-paced culture, where we're expected to be 'always active, always available' making a conscious decision to switch off has become - paradigmatically - another thing on our to-do list.
At a time when technology can sometimes leave us feeling isolated, when we can't stand being bored for fear of slowing down and don't even know how to let our minds go blank... It's time to take a step back and get some perspective. Get away from the non-stop whirlwind and find ourselves. Move away. Move back.
Welcome on board.
There's no denying how much has changed in the last 16 months, and it's extended to how we view life itself and shifting priorities. Think about travel for instance. There's a trend for visiting remote regions. There's been a 100% increase this year for searches on "hotel in the forest"; and a 35% increase for "trip to the mountains".
Whether it's enjoying starry skies or a secluded white sand beach, we're looking to nature - and the wellness concept in general - to rediscover our mental, physical and emotional balance.
Wellness is no longer an isolated concept; it's about more than a bubble bath, downloading a meditation app or tucking into a healthy meal: it's a way of life. According to an Eclectic Trends study, up to 80% of consumers are demanding more "Wellness" and 75% say that brands don't offer enough.
This is why Noken Porcelanosa Group is taking us on a journey to the so-called 'blue zones'. These are places where people live the longest in the world, and there are specific characteristics that make them so special: the slow living mantra, a healthy diet, prioritising physical activity and taking the time to socialise, and following the Ikigai philosophy - a concept that encourages you to have a purpose in life. These ways of seeing and living life are common to all the regions - in spite of them being so geographically distant from each other.
Here's our pick of 5 destinations to inspire you to create your own sanctuary at home: a Wellness bathroom where you can listen to - and heal - your body and mind and enjoy the beauty of forms, colours and water. Where you can pause.
First stop: Okinawa, the Japanese elixir of eternal youth
Facts: it has the highest life expectancy in the world, and people are 40% more likely to live for over 100 years than in other parts of the country.
The secrets: they're guided by their moai, a group of five friends who commit to each other for life, and help each other into old age. Imo, an incredibly nutritious purple sweet potato, is an essential part of their diets.
Décor inspiration: Japandi
This is about stripped back minimalist interiors, with furnishings featuring straight, pure lines. Nature's influence can be seen in the materials used - such as wood, and the colour scheme - the perfect combination of earthy and green hues and pure white.
Our Pure Line collection is pure symmetry: pure forms, pure materials. It exudes simplicity and balance: wood plays the starring role, which is what makes it utterly unique.
Second stop: Nicoya: 'pure life' in all its splendour
Facts: the proportion of Costa Rican people who reach their nineties in good health is 2.5 times higher than in the US, and a fifteenth fewer people are employed in health care.
The secrets: the 'three sisters' of Mesoamerican agriculture: beans, corn and pumpkin. "They grow together, eat together and celebrate together".
Décor inspiration: Boho Chic
Wood is key, it reminds us that nature is at the heart of our beginnings. It is our very origins, so we should seek to blend into it, evoke it, in a bid to create rooms full of positive energy.
The Tono collection was designed by renowned architecture studio Foster+Partners. In collaboration with Porcelanosa Group, the firm conceptualised and shaped a collection that breathes purity. When put together, the individual elements create a holistic, harmonious space.
The collection focuses on the importance and integrity of materials, and the art of production.
Third stop: Icaria, "It'll happen when it has to happen"
Facts: according to several scientific studies, one in three Icarians reaches the age of 90. They have a 20% lower risk of cancer and are 50% less likely to suffer from cardiovascular diseases than in any other Greek region.
The secrets: they say they live with in three different time zones on the island: GMT, Greek time and Icaria time: because the people of Icaria simply don't see the need to be ruled by the clock, hence the proverb above that defines their lifestyle so well.
Décor inspiration: Mediterranean style
This is governed by 3 basic principles: functionality, simplicity and integration into the landscape. The materials of choice are stone, clay and wood, and the colour scheme is based on white, blue and earthy colours. The result? An ambience ripe for reflection and serenity, evoking the sea and the coast.
The Lounge collection by Simone Micheli features relaxed forms that awaken the senses, encouraging you to forget about time and enjoy every little moment.
Fourth stop: Ogliastra, where age is just a number
Facts: the ratio of women to men in people over 90 usually stands at over 4:1, in other words, there are more than four centenarian women for every centenarian man. But in this region, the ratio is closer to 1:1.
The secrets: in Sardinia, dietary habits are all about tradition, with a mainly plant-based diet and a small proportion of meat - and of course red wine. They say two glasses a day are a must.
What's more, people there stay physically and mentally active, whether taking care of their livestock or other more traditional activities.
Décor inspiration: Provençal
Italy is the birthplace of design, tradition and craftsmanship, as reflected in the nature-inspired materials used. Earthy and sienna hues predominate, right through to warmer shades like red to create the cosiest of rooms.
The magic of Sardinia and history of its ancestral artisan heritage runs through the Slender collection. It breathes life into this new contemporary take on the ceramic washbasin, hand-painted in a Finish Studio finish, which requires the utmost technical know-how and a sensitivity to design. Simply unique.
Fifth stop: Loma Linda, fed on a diet of faith
Facts: inhabitants of this Californian region live 10 years more than the American average, and rates of heart disease and diabetes are the lowest in the country.
The secrets: this is an Adventist community where religion has a powerful influence, which extrapolates to a healthy lifestyle and balanced diet. Tobacco and alcohol, for instance, are prohibited (they're considered vices) and their diet is based on plant-based foods such as nuts and pulses, low in sugars and salt.
Décor inspiration: vintage minimalism.
A retro, seventies feel, with wood accents and flooring, light colours, and furniture featuring straight lines: all key to the 'made in California' interior design style.
The Liem collection is a prime example: a reinvention of vintage style, with added personality. Soft, calm shapes and a more pastel colour scheme are key to this bathroom décor style, resulting in a natural and harmonious, modern space with retro vibes.