For Part Two of Blair Costello’s experience at the LUXE Living Well Summit in Los Angeles, click here.


Newly promoted to Principal and Owner at Vera Iconica Architecture, Blair Costello leads our firm as Director of Interiors & Healthy Living. Blair was recently invited to speak at the Living Well summit hosted by Luxe Interiors + Design, a print and digital publication known for covering the latest and greatest happenings in the design industry. As of late, the brand’s attention has shifted to wellness, particularly the future of wellness in the home. With 15 years of design experience from New York to Jackson Hole, including the Vera Iconica Wellness Kitchen™, who better than Blair to speak on Vera Iconica’s cutting-edge wellness design philosophy? Keep reading for Blair’s reflections on the conference.

Conference Reflections from Blair Costello, Director of Interiors & Healthy Living

My recent experience with the LUXE Living Well summit was one for the books, and the invitation to speak was exciting! The event drew industry professionals from around the country, united in the belief that design has the power to facilitate living well. LUXE and the selected speakers presented wellness topics across four pillars: Rest, Nourish, Create, and Transform.

I had the privilege of speaking alongside experts including Max Lugavere, wellness journalist and New York Times besetting author, Dr. Sara C. Mednick, sleep researcher and cognitive neuroscientist, Jonsara Ruth, co-founder and design director at Parsons School of Design Healthy Materials Lab, Caleb Anderson and DeAndre DeVane, co-founders of the Well-Designed initiative, Edward Leaman, innovative brand leader, and Jeremiah Brent, celebrated designer. Quite the lineup!

Though topics ranged from sleep and color to landscape and kitchen design, all of our presentations shared a common thread: the importance of sustainability and evoking change in our practice to influence behavior, lifestyles, and environmental impact. Included in my presentation was the idea that good for you is good for the planet. That really resonated with people.


Naps are powerful healers when it comes to focus, creativity, and execution of tasks and behaviors. Dr. Sara C. Mednick spoke about her book, The Power of the Downstate, which covers the positive effects of rest on our performance as humans and our ability to adapt.


Eating an omnivorous, diverse diet with little processed foods improves our health across the board, both physically and mentally. Of importance are eating and shopping locally, preparing our own meals, and getting moderate exercise. Max Lugavere provided key insights on nutrition and the issues facing our food system, namely, we should be eating for nutrition and not changing our diets based on the latest fad. 

I joined the stage to share the benefits of the Wellness Kitchen which you can read more about hereVera Iconica’s Wellness Kitchen was developed under the premise that the kitchen is the true heart of the home. We design the space to comfortably gather, entertain, and nourish one another. Design considerations include food delivery, storage, preparation, cooking, social activity, consumption, and disposal, alongside attention to healthy materials, systems, and construction techniques. 

Vera Iconica Wellness Kitchen™ at the WHIT home in Lake Nona, Orlando, Florida

We have a long way to go when it comes to repairing much of the toxic nature of our industry, but there is hope. There are incredibly intelligent and creative people out there developing new, healthy, and sustainable products all the time! In line with this idea, Jonsara Ruth talked in-depth about the work of Parson’s Healthy Materials lab and burgeoning manufacturers with healthy sustainable products. She encouraged us to use them as a resource and keep the conversation going.


As the keynote speaker, I was honored to kick-off the conference with my presentation, Transformative Design Rooted in Values. I shared with my peers how, as architects and designers, we have the power to transform how our industry impacts the planet as well as our clients’ lives, behaviors, and lifestyles. There are many ways to do this. For some, it might be crafting conscious construction details and material selections throughout a building. For others, it might be working toward legacy-quality, heirloom outcomes that are healthy and free of toxics. Either way, designers are leaders and we have the power to transform the world around us. I look forward to sharing more of this presentation content in VIA’s online Journal in the coming weeks. 

Conference Highlights

After the morning programming, Pamela Jaccarino, Editor in Chief of LUXE, moderated a panel discussion with Ed Leahman (California Closets) and Jeremiah Brent (Designer and TV Host) that further pressed the value of ritual, mindful living, and the power of design to impact lives.

We also participated in an exercise on letting go hosted by the founders of Well-Designed. Well-Designed is a membership-based organization that knows full well the struggles of the stressful, demanding profession we have all come to know, love, and be a part of. Their programming provides much needed support and rejuvenation.

Every person at the LUXE conference contributed to a palpable energy all geared toward the future of design and living well. The speakers were inspiring, the attendees were engaged, and the location couldn’t have been better for the topic at hand. I met fantastic professionals and learned from each interaction. We’re at a thrilling turning point in our profession and society, and it’s the perfect time to focus on smart, healthy, lasting impacts as design professionals.

Stay tuned for an overview of my presentation, Transformative Design Rooted in Values, in the coming weeks!