What is Biophilic Design?
What is Biophilic Design
Modern-day spaces are increasingly inspired by biophilia and art as a holistic approach to design.
Interior spaces with a Biophilic design are based on this human connection with nature, purposefully integrating natural elements, materials, and life forms into architecture and design. People have always preferred spaces with great outdoor views and it’s a place we gravitate to holiday, socialise or participate in a hobby or sport. Beaches, forests, lakes and snow fields are some of our favourite places to relax and recharge whilst reconnecting to nature.
Biophilic interior designs take it one step further to bring the outdoors in. It takes our bond with natural surroundings and works to apply it to our living spaces, resulting in measurable physical and psychological benefits.
Biophilic interior spaces are not just visually appealing and soothing, but evidence shows that such spaces have the power to heal and create a sense of happiness and well-being. Far from being a luxury, biophilic designs have been termed a “birthright” of human beings by the author of “Biophilic Design”, Stephen Kellert.
Research from around the world confirms that connections to nature and natural patterns are both appealing and stress-relieving. According to environmental psychologist Stephen Kaplan, it’s because they engage the mind effortlessly, an outcome that many of us crave in an effort to relax in these modern times.
Physicist Richard Taylor says it’s also because nature features the presence of repetitive, self-similar patterns called fractals, something our human visual system has learned to process with ease and enjoyment. Through brainwave and skin conductance research, Taylor and his team discovered that simply looking at fractal patterns in nature, whether through a window or within a piece of art, resulted in a shocking 60 percent reduction in stress.
Example of nature's fractures
Even NASA researched ways to help the psyche of astronauts living in windowless rooms in outer space. What they learned is that observation periods of nature’s fractals, even for less that 10 seconds and with only a periphery view, were sufficient enough to trigger the desired effect of reducing stress.
Fabric designs displaying examples of nature’s fractal
Designing a Healthy Living and Working Space
Biophilia is more than just a philosophy—documented research into biophilic design has been found to support cognitive function, physical health, and psychological well-being. To incorporate biophilic design into your home or office space is to encourage the connection between humans and nature, promoting staff wellness and productivity.
Biophilia and art influences in interior designs help architects and designers create a space that caters to the physical, mental, and emotional needs of people.
* Improve Health
* Increase mood and feelings of wellbeing.
* Improve productivity
* Reduce stress levels
* Mental restoration and reduced fatigue
Key Elements in Biophilic Design
The best biophilic design examples can now be found all around the world in any variety of settings, but they all have one thing in common - interiors that use natural materials, plants, lighting, artwork, imagery and other sensory design elements to give the user an experience energizes, refreshes, and connects them to nature.
Nature Views & Images
Gives a sense of security, reduces anxiety and helps with focusing. Paintings and photographs of nature have also been proven to have the same positive effect on mental well- being as being in nature.
Live plants increase oxygen levels. When oxygen reaches the brain, it encourages the release of endorphins, chemicals that produce feelings of pain relief and well-being.
Helps make you feel more awake and sleep better. The body's circadian rhythm relies on the changing of light to determine when to wake up and when to sleep.
Has a significant effect on you mentally. Ambient 'nature' sounds, such as birdsong or beach waves have been linked with feelings of calm and a better ability to focus
Examples of Biophilic Design in the Workplace
While stress is common in fast-paced working environments, companies like Metagenics are staying health and wellness focused with biophilic design elements built into their new office design
Metagenics new office space
Companies like Orgain are putting their health and wellness focus on display with a comfortable lunch room and adjacent game room designed to provide that often needed “mental break” to assist work fatigue. Outdoor, “de-stress” zones include a Zen garden, putting a green and tranquil water feature offering opportunities for employees to rest and relax or build connections with their colleagues.
In the words of Dr. Richard Jackson from the University of California Los Angeles School of Public Health, “We now know that developers and architects can be more effective in achieving public health goals than doctors in white coats.”
On average, one-third of a workday outside of the home is spent at the office. Therefore, in order to achieve public health goals and employee wellbeing and productivity in the workplace, Biophilic natural elements, eclectic spaces and creative thinking are essential factors to consider and adopt now in corporate design.