The surprising world of biophilia and biophilic design

It may not be a word with which you are familiar but we guarantee you will be hearing a lot more about it.

What is it?

Biophilia, or the biophilia hypothesis is the idea that all human beings possess an inborn need to connect with nature and other life-forms. It was first suggested by psychoanalyst Erich Fromm ‘the passionate love of life and of all that is alive’ but it was American biologist Edward O Wilson that brought the term to public attention with his book The Biophilia Hypothesis’.

People function better when they have a connection to living things.

So what?

One of the key principles of biophilic design is the incorporation of natural materials into the built environment, colour, water, air, light, animals and…plants.

So highly do they rate its importance to employee comfort, wellbeing and performance, The International WELL Building Institute actually include biophilic design as one of the 7 indicators for their Well Building Standard accreditation.

Evidence points towards the positive effects of adopting biophilic principles in schools, hospitals, offices and factories, indoors and outdoors, in fact everywhere there’s people.

Yes, but so what???

The big ‘so what’ is that it does not take much effort to make a real difference and while many of the largest companies in the world are embracing the idea of biophilic design, results can be achieved without breaking the bank.

Here are a few quick tips

  • The simplest way of introducing nature to your office is by using plants (well, we would say that wouldn’t we!). ‘Real’ plants have additional benefits such as the reduction of air pollutants but preserved plants can also be effective in providing the biophilic effect of making any place feel more welcoming.

Shameless sales plug #1…here at Green Team we can create amazing designs using preserved moss, excellent for use where light or temperature issues prevent us from using living plants.

  • Make the most of natural light. In the office make sure that desks face the windows, not away from them and if practical, consider a skylight. Exposure to natural daylight is proven to enhance wellbeing, reduce tiredness and help with sleep (at night, not at work!)
  • Use natural colours. There is a whole different blog to be written about the use of natural colours at work, but for now, take our word for it that earth tones as well as the appropriate use of sky blues and greens can really help.
  • Incorporate natural wood, stone and water. We did say quick tips and we are not suggesting the installation of a water feature in the middle of the sales office but there are ways to bring the outside inside. Living walls are becoming increasingly popular and cost effective and, (shameless sales plug alert #2), we can advise on the installation and care, please call or email for more information.
  • Fresh air…open your windows (Tips do not get much simpler than this)

Biophilic design allows a deeper connection to nature, its principles are simple and the effects dramatic.

If you are interested in discussing any aspect of this fascinating subject please give us a call or drop an email to us with any specific questions you may have, as always, we will be delighted to help.