While the concrete jungle was not yet a “thing” in Wordsworth’s time, his poetic works stand testament to the relevance of nature in the human experience. Things are no different today, but workspaces tend to offer quite the opposite.
Austere, stark, and dare we say, without a heart, most offices allow little or no access to nature. And this is where biophilic design – design with an affinity to nature – can be an absolute game-changer. The approach primarily integrates the natural world into man-made office ecosystems to create a green, serene working space. In fact, a study published by the National Institute of Health states that biophilic design can indeed boost mental well-being and productivity.
Ushering nature into the workspace
With most work taking place indoors, biophilic design aids human connection with nature as professionals grapple with day-to-day tasks. This can be achieved by incorporating natural elements such as green walls, hanging planters, indoor gardens, tall plants, etc. into the interior spaces. Green grassy rugs, natural wood furniture, stone finish conference tables with curved edges, etc. can make the office space look calming and welcoming.
Biophilic design – More than meets the eye
Speaking of nature, the sounds and fragrances of nature are just as vital as the sights. These subtle, yet crucial touches can be added with audio recordings of the sound of waves or chirping of birds; and plant oils or floral fragrances, which all have a rather relaxing and soothing effect on the senses. One can take the biophilia design game up a notch by adding natural shapes, colours, and textures to the office space.
Nature beyond biophilia
Additionally, interiors should be designed in a way to allow maximum access to natural ventilation and light. While this may not directly fall under ‘biophilic design, it does drive the feeling of oneness with nature. Along these lines, access to outdoor spaces can be used as rooftop gardens, terrace break-out zones or open workstations, etc.
Biophilia is all about celebrating natural elements in a workspace by activating the senses and the feeling of oneness with nature. The design style is gaining traction in an increasing number of workspaces owing to its many physiological and psychological advantages; ranging from improved attention and stress and anxiety reduction to increased innovation and creativity. So if you’re looking to go green at work, make sure you do it from the inside out!