Biophilic Design

Improving health and well-being in the office environment

Mother Nature Is Calling …

Have you ever wondered why nature landscapes are popular choices as screen backgrounds or even screen savers?

It’s because nature has a healing and remedial effect, especially while your working.

 

Research has proven that access to outdoor views, fresh air and plants improves employee well-being.

 

If you’re looking around your office and notice the lack of mother nature , it might be worthwhile to point out that integrating natural elements into the workplace isn’t simply an aesthetic move – it has economic benefits too.

Contact with nature has been shown to reduce absenteeism and improves employee productivity and retention.

 

Up until recently, biophilia, has been somewhat overlooked in commercial design. These days, hospitals, schools and workplaces around the world are starting to incorporate natural elements into their design.

 

Want to champion biophilia in your office? Here are some changes your workplace can make.

 

QUE THE PLANTS!

Let’s face it, a workplace that has no touch of fauna is dull and dreary. Green is considered to be a welcoming and trustworthy colour. Why not spruce up your reception area or waiting room with some greenery? Or how about adding some wall art and a nice plant or two to your bathrooms? Plants especially can make a usually drab scene appear livelier and more inviting. Adding plants to the workplace is also a great way to filter indoor air pollution,reduce stress, and muffle noise. You can go as simple as potted plants for employee desks all the way up to beautiful living walls.

Utilizing a traditionally horizontal medium on a vertical face, living walls can transform any vertical structure, inside or out, in a façade of living plants. Plant green walls with lush foliage, colourful flowers or swaying grasses; form into living logo’s, letters or images.

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than one seeks.” John Muir, 19 July 1877

LET THERE BE LIGHT!

Natural light reduces eye strain for workers and improves mood. Try removing curtains, window blinds or furniture that obstructs natural light, Locate common areas (for example meetings rooms or receptions) near the windows instead of giving a few key employees the desirable window seat and use indoor lighting that replicates the spectrum of natural light. If you’re undergoing construction, consider skylights perhaps?

Exposure to natural light to is vital to employee health and architectural designs of office environments should place a high priority on natural daylight exposure for workers.

Leveraging varying intensities of light and shadow that change over time to create conditions that occur in nature.

VENT, VENT, VENT!

Not in the emotional way. In the fresh air circulation way…Historically for building developers, air quality was never a high priority. As buildings were designed to be increasingly airtight to increase their energy efficiency, there were no efforts to offset the build up of airborne pollutants with increased ventilation. Believe it or not, just sitting at your desk exposes you to some pretty nasty pollutants. It’s not uncommon to find things like formaldehyde, radon, mould, solvents, volatile organic compounds, lead dust, and pesticides lingering around workplaces. While its best to choose products that avoid pollutants in the first place, proper ventilation can also keep the air clean.

“Sick building syndrome,” a term coined in the 1980s, describes the increasingly common maladies caused by improperly designed and ventilated buildings

MIMIC OR INCLUDE NATURAL SHAPES, COLOURS & MATERIAL

Varying textures (soft and hard) and ceiling heights can create a more welcoming space for occupants. Wood, water, and stone can be incorporated into design and furniture. Nature photos (landscape/seascape photographs or artwork) on the wall or nature inspired wallpapers can boost employee happiness and productivity.

Material and elements from nature that through minimal processing reflect the local ecology of geology to create a distinct sense of place.