Why Incorporate Biophilic Design into Our Homes and Offices?

Biophilic design is something of a buzzword at the moment, and rightly so. Homes and office spaces that base their design around the natural world and the inimitable beauty that can be found therein are growing exponentially. 

What is biophilic design? What benefits will we enjoy from it? How can we implement it in our space?

What is Biophilic Design?

The term stems from the root word, biophilia, which is a love of nature. As humans, whether we realise it or not, we are hardwired to seek out and immerse ourselves in the beauty of the natural world. 

When we are tired or stressed, we try to find quiet tranquillity in a visit to the beach, a walk in the woods, or simply a view of the sky and rolling hills. We are perpetually fascinated with tiny ladybugs, beautiful clouds, and the fresh smell of rain after a hot day. 

We have a genetic connection to and are inspired by all things natural. Therefore, it was no great leap to find that this concept, when applied to our immediate environments, brings only positive results. 

Biophilic design takes sunlight, vegetation, views, and other experiences from the natural world and incorporates them into our built environment. 

To what effect?

The Benefits of Biophilic Design

If you think that having a well-lit office with fresh air and living plants is simply a preference or a nice-to-have, then we have some interesting information for you.

The World Health Organisation has stated on several occasions that stress-related illnesses are some of the main contributors to disease in our modern age. Therefore, the reduction of stress is a priority if we want to avoid heart attacks, strokes, or mental illness.  

Living as we do in an almost permanent state of fight or flight results in the suppression of our parasympathetic nervous system and disrupts our natural internal balance. Frustration, anxiety, and fatigue follow, draining us of our ability to cope and even serves to reduce our ability to concentrate. 

The solution for this state lies in nature. 

A fascinating study on the effect of the natural world on our minds says, “Scientists are beginning to find evidence that being in nature has a profound impact on our brains and our behavior, helping us to reduce anxiety, brooding and stress, and increase our attention capacity, creativity, and our ability to connect with other people.” (If you have time, read the full article here.)

Health and wellness aside, businesses do well to consider the financial impact of bringing nature inside. 

One study discussing the economic benefits of biophilic design relates the following: “In the last twenty years, studies examining the human attraction to nature have yielded convincing evidence that link interactions with nature with positive gains in productivity, increased healing rates, and even enhanced learning comprehension, in a wide range of sectors. 

“These investments in health and productivity may affect more sectors than initially anticipated. The monetary gains from providing people access to biophilic design elements produces results ranging from remarkable sales boosts in retail stores, to taxpayer savings stemming from improved student test scores, to safer urban communities.”

Architects and interior designers, Oliver Heath note some of the key benefits of biophilic design:

  • Office design: productivity can be increased by 8%, rates of well-being up by 13%, increases in creativity, with reduced absenteeism and presenteeism
  • Hospitality design: Guests willing to pay 23% more for rooms with views of Biophilic elements
  • Education spaces: increased rates of learning 20-25%, improved test results, concentration levels and attendance, reduced impacts of ADHD
  • Healthcare spaces: post-operative recovery times decreased by 8.5%, reduced pain medication by 22%
  • Retail: the presence of vegetation & landscaping has been found to increase average rental rates on retail spaces with customers indicating they were willing to pay 8-12 % more for goods and services.
  • Homes: can become more calming & restorative with 7-8 % less crime attributed to areas with access to nature and can command an increase of 4-5% in property price.

Implementing Biophilic Design 

There is certainly a science and art behind the best implementation of biophilic design in your home or office, but the concept itself remains within reach of us all.

Natural light

Offices that make use of glass partitions and large windows welcome in natural sunlight. Our homes too will benefit from expanses of glass to allow us to take in outside views and allow the healing and beneficial rays of natural sunlight into our space. 

Vegetation

Not only can we overlook our gardens from our office chair, but we can go one step further and bring living plants indoors. The sight and smell of green vegetation, flowering plants, or even the stimulating odour of herbs is another easy way to satisfy our cravings for nature. 

Wood

The grain, feel, and smell of wooded furniture will always trump its plastic or metal counterpart. There’s something ancient about wood; its warmth, colour, and beautiful ageing patina which we simply love. Why not introduce more wood into your home or office whether it be desks, chairs, or ornamental pieces?

Our talented team at GHI can’t assist you in choosing the right office furniture to satisfy your biophilic design plans, but we can help you to welcome in glorious, warming sunshine and the incredible beauty of the outdoors. Chat with our team to find out more.

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