’Biophilia ‘an innate and genetically determined affinity of human beings with the natural world.’ Biologist, Edward O Wilson
If we were to ask ourselves, where do we feel most calm, most productive or most creative? I doubt the answer would be within our office space, but instead, outside, with nature. This gives us the perfect opportunity to revolutionise our work spaces. As modern-day humans we spend 90% of our time in buildings, meaning that our health and wellbeing is directly influenced by what we have built. The human race has spent thousands of years living in close proximity with the natural world, evolving with it and becoming genetically at one with it, yet we wonder why we struggle with productivity within four grey walls.
Biophilia challenges this.
First theorised by Edward O Wilson in the 1980’s, Biophilia explores our connection and love with nature, and the psychological benefits of incorporating nature and natural processes into our lives. Think of how much fun you had playing outside as a child, why we give and receive flowers, decorate our homes with plants and connect with animals – its all because of this genetic connection, a connection which at its core make us happy.
Oliver Heath, a pioneer in biophilic design claims that in offices where a biophilic element exists, workers report a 15% higher level of wellbeing, which in turn shows a 6% rise in productivity! All positives! But how do we achieve this?
1. Make the most of natural light
Lose the bright sterile artificial lighting, though often the easiest choice it creates eyestrain and often headaches – therefore a negative effect on your workforce. Install sky lights, have desks closer to windows and remove heavy blinds. You could even introduce an outside work area for the warmer months.
2. Introduce plants
Though this is an incredibly simple idea, it is no less effective. Even a potted plant can add a ‘natural’ and more welcoming feeling to an office space, they can also provide many health benefits; by reducing dust and mould, not to mention the vast health benefits of CO2. Cleaner air equals a happier, healthier and more productive workforce. Don’t just stop at a potted plant, offices around the world are ever more frequently incorporating plants into their architecture! Living walls, draping vines, trees spanning several floors, even indoor ponds. Singapore is a prime example of a city embracing this aspect of biophilia. However, if you don’t have green fingers, simply seeing a natural landscape as a feature wall or on canvases dotted around has also been proven to improve mood and concentration.
3. Incorporate natural materials
Materials such a wood, slate, granite, marble and cork, not only look creative and classic but inspire thoughts of nature. Utilise these resources as finishes, furniture and flooring. They are all extremely durable and cost friendly.
4. Use natural colour schemes and shapes
Colour has been proven to alter a person’s mood, blue calming, green motivating, yellow energising. Involve earthy tones into your design, as well as nautical colours- to speak to those who are most comfortable by the sea. You could also use colours typically associated with fruits and flowers, as these are what we have been attuned to seek out. When considering patterns and shapes of furniture opt for irregular ‘organic’ shapes made in natural materials over mass produced geometric ones.
Essentially Biophilia is about giving your staff space and choices to do what makes them comfortable. As if comfortable and relaxed there’s no end to the creativity.
Apollo can help you incorporate this exciting design into your office space. Contact us today to start on your journey … welcoming the outdoors in.