Over the last couple of years people have started to notice the movement of workplace Biophilia, many people will have walked past or through Biophilic offices without even realising! This Biophilic development is growing across London and many other major cities, in particular we are seeing the expansion of green and living walls that are now being incorporated and considered in new office and building designs. But this isn’t just a trendy new trend that everyone has jumped on the bandwagon for, this is a new way of living. These days offices, and even schools and retailers are turning to the world of Biophilia and looking to mother nature for guidance.
Image Credit - Oslo Side Chair,© 2020 Lekker Home
Biophilia meaning the love of life and living things can be introduced in many ways to a workspace environment such as: textures, images, colours and materials from the natural world. Especially as we are becoming more and more disconnected from the outside world and our natural surroundings. It has been shockingly predicted that by 2050 2/3 of people will be living in an urban area. This shows that Biophilia is more important than ever before and is a necessity for design where these principles need to start being introduced into the built environment. This may be through having a living wall, to just a few house plants or even just having an amazing view of the outdoors to look at.
Wunderman Office in São Paulo Designed by Mariana Klingelfus Pinheiro, partner at the Pitá office. Photo: Rafael Renzo
The Healing Properties of Biophilia
Natural textures and materials, sunlight, plants and water aren’t just ascetically pleasing, there is some powerful research that indicates that these elements can help enhance cognitive function, improve productivity and lower stress levels. This is all down to the impacts of nature having a calming effect on us. Did you know that our brainwaves can shift into alpha state which comes from our everyday high activity to our beta state? The alpha state is used for problem solving, creative and resourceful state. Furthermore, living walls can help with cleaning the air we breathe which is a great feature to have in an office where you will be spending most of your day in.
Microsoft’s Mid-Market Offices – San Francisco, Designed by Blitz Architecture + Interiors, Photograph: Cortez Media Group + Officesnapshot
The office for DPG creative communications agency, Image Credit: Archilovers
We recently came across the Human Spaces research which stated a 6% increase in productivity among employees in a working environment that contains natural elements. In particular the study ‘ The relative benefits of green versus lean office’ proves this, as research was discovered that showed employees who are in offices with natural greenery saw a 15% increase in productivity over a three month period, compared to those who worked in an office that had no greenery.
Office Design Trends 2020, Designed by Buzzispace
We can become Healthier Happier People
It is possible to become healthier happier people within the office or even working from home. As in a recent study that took place in 2016 called ‘ The snowball effects of healthy offices’ where research implies that people that are exposed to natural wall murals, house plants artificial or natural are shown to have an increase in their work performance by 10% and 76% of people felt more energised , 65% felt healthier and 78% felt happier! These are amazing results and show us the importance of why we need to start incorporating the Biophilic elements into office design.
Designed by , Insightful Environments Image credit - Frovi
Although, when it comes to office design you still need to remember that just having a plant on your desk is NOT Biophilic design. There are so many elements that make up Biophilic design and all need to be incorporated in order to create a Biophilic environment to work in. Using plants as your starting point is a great way to begin! Here are our top four plants which we would recommend including in your office to help purify the air you work in: Aloe Vera, Spider Plant, Peace Lily and Fern.
Workplace One Offices - Toronto, Designed by Straticom, Photograph by Bob Gundu | OFFICESNAPSHOT
Is Going Green the Answer?
NeoCon 2017, experiential design, biophilia, and innovative colour-play Designed by Mohawk Group Photo by Mohawk Group
Biophilic Inspired Seating - Huddlebox® by Workagile
Incorporating Biophilic design in your office design could include patterns of nature also known as biomimicry. This could be through carpet patterns, office dividers and even seating and desks. You could even put in water feature into the office. A great example of this is the reception area at Cundall Engineering’s officein London, where they have a remarkable piece of art inspired by the structure of a beehive. This was the first office in Europe to achieve the WELL Certification. This is an amazing achievement to achieve for internal office design. Google HQ is another great example of using Biophilic design elements within their office such as natural materials, light, patterns and water.
One Carter Lane, designed by architect firm - Studio Ben Allen Photo Credit © Dirk Lindner
Google Office of Zurich,Developed by Swiss architecture studio Camenzind Evolution
Some great ways you can start incorporating Biophilic design into the office is through creating a living wall into a communal area of the office. When it comes to the interior side of things, we would recommend that you opt for landscape or botanical photography that you could put up around the office. You may even decide to invest in nature – inspired flooring or wallpaper or arrange office furniture around natural light to help optimise you employee’s health. If your office contains an outside space, consider creating an outdoor seating area that will encourage employees to go outside and have fresh air even if this is just on their break or maybe in warm weather they could even work in this outside area. Although, all these elements may cost, these are worthwhile investments for both your employees and the environment that you work in. By implementing these changes in to your office you will soon start to see the change of a happier, motivated and productive employees who enjoy coming to work.
A meditation room at WeWork’s Chinatown location in D.C. Image via WeWork.com
At Harleen McLean Interiors we offer Biophilic EDesign Consultation that allows you, the Office, Space or Homeowner, the ability to implement the design in your own time, in a way that suits your budget best. Our e-design services are a collaborative effort, where you have the opportunity to work one on one with me through E. meetings, phone calls, emails and on site.