2016/17 is when biophilic design elements shot to success within the workspace. This will no doubt continue to develop and grow throughout 2018.
What is biophilic design? This is a trend that is becoming hugely popular no matter what the space is in question but we are especially seeing this design trend rise in our office spaces. Biophilia is defined as the human inclination to be connected to nature. In design terms, simply bringing the outdoors in. The more literal definition is a love of life or living things stemming from the Greek for ‘Philia’ meaning ‘love of’, the opposite being ‘phobia’.
The practice of biophilic design involves the application of diverse design strategies. These include three ways of experiencing nature in the built environment:
- The direct experience of nature i.e light, water,plants,
- The indirect experience of nature i.e images of nature, natural materials, organic shapes and forms
- The experience of space and place i.e prospect and refuge, mobility and wayfinding.
We are now seeing rooftop gardens, water features and nature – based walls, all contributing to employee health and well being. It has been proven that being in nature is beneficial on many levels for staff to feel calm, creative, happier, and healthier therefore creating a better work environment for all. We simply do not like being in enclosed or confined in spaces.
Natural light is one of the key elements in taking that step towards biophilic design. Not every office space is lucky enough to have much of this but ones who do need to embrace this!
The presence of natural vegetation, seen through a window or placed inside the office, also reduces stress and supports workers’ ability to focus their attention.
With today’s innovative technology, companies who lack natural light within the office space and are willing to spend can be extremely creative with use of light walls and sound effects giving people the illusion of being outdoors and close to nature, a more cost effective approach would simply be carpet that resembles grass!
Rooftop gardens and water features might be enough to scare companies and simply cause them to rule out the idea. Biophilia within the workspace can be achieved in baby steps within a reasonable budget.
Some simple tips to taken the first step of achieving Biophilia in your space:
- Bright /Vibrant colours – Blues, greens, yellows
- Views of nature/greenery (Take full advantage if available)
- Natural light
- Indoor greenery
- Quiet working hubs – A place for people to escape from the open plan
- Use of natural materials
In a nutshell, Biophillia is about bringing the proven positives of being outdoors and being connected to nature into the workspace. It is clear this new concept isn’t going anywhere and will only progress as time goes on. Research suggests elements of nature within the space will have an impact on influencing people’s decision to work for those companies who are embracing Biophillia.
Why wouldn’t you want to work in a space like this?! I’m off to talk to HR!!