- People spend most of their time in manufactured spaces that are not always designed with wellbeing in mind.
- Biophilic design incorporates natural elements into nearly all aspects of these manufactured environments.
- With workers spending more time indoors, studies show Biophilic design can improve productivity and reduce stress.
Biophilic design aims to improve our wellbeing by strengthening our connection to nature in manufactured environments such as hotels, retail spaces and offices.
It’s an approach that’s utilised, championed and still being developed by those specialising in buildings – from the people who design and build them to those of us who inhabit them.
The concept from which ‘biophilic design’ originates – ‘biophilia’ – was coined by the psychoanalyst Erich Fromm in the ‘60s to describe our innate desire to connect with nature.
We spend around 90% of our time indoors, so the urge many of us feel to bring elements of the natural world inside is understandable.
Biophilic design is proving popular in offices, and not just because it looks good.
A study that took place in two commercial offices in the UK and The Netherlands revealed that offices with plants made staff 15% more productive than ‘lean’ ones devoid of greenery.
Even the global corporates are getting on board:
Our desire to reconnect with nature
In pre-industrial times, our lives were way more aligned with nature’s rhythms and cycles.
The food we ate, for instance, was seasonal and depended on the weather.
Our working day would revolve around natural light – as it still does for some workers in the farming industry. Daylight had a larger impact on our sleep patterns too.
Today, most people live in urban areas. The majority of our time (90%, as mentioned) is spent indoors, away from the natural environment.
During the first pandemic lockdowns, when many of us started spending even more time indoors, we began to feel the disconnect between nature and our “self” more acutely.
Which is why a growing number of us have been taking steps to reconnect with nature.
Some people have taken up gardening or go on regular walks in the countryside. Others have decided to bring a bit of the outdoors into their homes/ workspaces.