Biophilia is simply the innate desire or affinity humans have to connect with the natural world.
Biophilic design may include any elements of nature such as plants, green walls, moss art, or art/paintings depicting or incorporating nature. It may also include simple architectural elements or accents made from natural products like stone, wood, or bamboo. Water features are another great example.
We all know that urge to reach out and stroke some natural element that attracts us. We often hear the exclamation “Are those flowers real?!” when we’re installing a new blooming rotation – a question that’s almost invariably followed by the automatic compulsion to do the touch test!
Biophilic design may even be as simple and subtle as building design that incorporates ample natural light and park views. It’s all about providing welcoming, compelling spaces where we humans feel at ease. Places where it feels comfortable and natural to spend time, whether at work or play.
More than simple aesthetics, biophilic design improves mental health and wellbeing. Investing in employee health and happiness is an investment in the bottom line. Biophilia affects the human system both mentally and physically. Increased overall wellbeing results in higher productivity and fewer sick days.
Forest Bathing has been popular with people in Japan since the 1980’s. Japanese culture embraced the benefits of plant life intuitively and now this article outlines the studies that prove what people already knew – plants heal. With meditation getting rave reviews from cognitive science, perhaps we can take another hint from our eastern friends.
You don’t need to implement staff field trips to the river valley to reap the benefits of nature. Implementing biophilic design into the workplace works on two levels.
Natural dynamic visuals
You know peace of mind and “aaaahhh” effect of watching a fire crackle, a waterfall, a tree rustle in the wind, or a pond with swimming fish? Imagine designing that mental state into the office. You can, with a biophilic design. Scenes of this nature (pardon the pun!) trigger Mu receptors which give the brain a dose of happiness.
Nature in the space
Having plants around cleans the air. Cleaning up office air can reduce the symptoms associated with Sick Building Syndrom (SBS). Symptoms like headaches, nausea, and dry eyes, nose and throats. Productivity killers. Plants to the rescue!
Want some Biophilic design in an office near you? Have no fear Greenjeans is here!