biophilic design

Updated : Feb 20, 2020 in Health at work

Biophilic design in office space arrangement

The natural environment has a much bigger impact on human beings than we thought. That’s why it’s been so popular lately to arrange office spaces in a way that provides the employees with contact with nature.

Longing for nature in architecture

Highly urbanized spaces have only made the living environment for people for less than two centuries. Which makes them fairly new from the historic point of view. After all, our ancestors did live in different conditions for centuries, which in many regards was better for maintaining emotional balance. If we were to move them in time and place them in a bustling, loud and crowded urban area, they would likely be terrified by such surroundings. Despite our species showing extraordinary flexibility when it comes to adaptation, there are still some limits.

The ubiquitous noise, crowd, inflow of information have an impact on our well-being to a much larger degree than we used to believe. Some of the people living in cities, in an attempt to improve the quality of their lives, move to the countryside. This increasing phenomenon has inspired one American biologist to coin the term biophilia, which means love for nature. The biophilic design, which will be discussed further below, is a popular trend in architecture these days that consists of creating spaces that are friendly to humans, adapted to their needs and enabling them to Interact with nature.

biophilic design

How does nature impact our well-being?

The research that forms the basis of the trend referred to as biophilic design has been going on since the 1980s. It covers the impact of residential buildings, work environments and health care facilities on the human body. It turns out – which shouldn’t really be a surprise to anyone – that spaces designed in a way that allows people to Interact with nature have an impact on their performance, quality of leisure, regenerative processes, health and overall well-being.

That’s why a growing number of buildings are made with a focus on providing their future users with optimal conditions. This also applies to office spaces. Research shows that a work environment created in line with the principles of the biophilic design reduces stress in the employees, increases their productivity, stimulates creativity and contributes to a lower number of sick leaves.

3 main principles of biophilic design

If you’re thinking seriously about changing an office space into a more attractive one, the first thing to do should be looking into the offers labeled with a biophilic design slogan. Remember to exercise caution when renting or buying a new space, though. Not all offers labeled with this graceful term match the actual condition of the interiors.

What are the 3 main principles of biophilic design that will help you make sure if a particular space was really built in line with that trend?

  • Above all, the biophilic design puts emphasis on the direct contact with nature. Not with the imitations of it, like plastic flowers. The key elements here are plants, natural light, water, air flow, picturesque view outside. It’s all about getting all human senses engaged in a contact with real forms of nature.
  • An equally important thing is the materials the furniture, walls, finishings and other pieces of equipment are made of. These should be natural materials, especially in places where Direct contact with nature is not possible (like the centers of large urban areas).
  • Another element that has to be taken into account is the shape and decor of interiors. Offices designed according to the biophilic design promote focus, creativity and motivation. The key point in arrangements is to recognize human needs and adapt the interior to them to the largest possible degree.

Experts say that the biophilic design sets the course for the architecture of the future to follow. Thanks to advanced technologies we will be able to adapt the work environment to our needs more and more. Of course provided that we don’t fall victim to a climate disaster before that.

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