Good design may be invisible, but never irrelevant. We humans journey through any given day receiving hundreds of stimuli that our senses are picking up and feeding our brains without our being aware. Depending on the stimuli, the result may be an inexplicable feeling of unease or wellbeing. The sum of many small design choices makes the difference between happy people or dissatisfied people.
Let’s take a moment to appreciate the innovative and human-friendly design of Edmonton International Airport. It’s easy to miss the little things when we are weighed down by bags, checking compulsively for our passport, and searching screens for flight numbers. Edmonton International has been designed to soothe your reptilian brain. EIA has subtle, but impactful, biophilic elements that contribute to a calm state of mind for travel.
One of our favourite biophilic elements at Edmonton International (although we may be biased) is this wave design of planters. These happy Dracaenas perform multiple functions. The curving form of the wave eases traffic along the terminal. The human brain responds more positively to soft natural lines rather than hard angular lines. The plants act as a natural barrier to create a place of refuge away from the bustling traffic between gates. Teamed with big comfy earth tone couches, and lots of natural light streaming through large windows, this space encourages travellers to relax. It’s a lovely place to sit peacefully and catch up on emails between flights, or to transition into vacation mode before you leave the city. Living plants always receive top marks in the human impact of biophilic design.
Natural timber elements in the ceiling that you may not even register are not wasted – they’re part of creating an ambience that runs deeper than your conscious mind can account for. Note also the ample natural light and airy spaciousness that makes the main thoroughfare a far more pleasant place to transit than it might have been with lower ceilings and only artificial lighting.
When travelling to or through the United States, travellers are treated to a piece by Jason Carter, a local indigenous artist who incorporates biophilic mimicry into his work. The artwork offers the traveller a moment of reflection upon the place they stand before moving onto the next port of call.
Of course, biophilic design is also an excellent opportunity to pay homage to the place of origin. As an airport of the prairies, Edmonton International makes a gentle nod to the crops that cover and feed the area, with this delicate, biophilic mimicry design.
The piece de resistance – the amazing living wall, lovingly tended and obsessed upon by our dedicated horticultural team.
With all of these elements at work and EIA’s variety of destinations, we Edmontonians need never lose our sense of wonder.