The benefits of a ‘biophilic design’

The biophilic design is a growing trend in the modern office, proving more and more popular each year.

In last week’s blog, we briefly spoke about the biophilic design, but what is it and why are employers choosing to incorporate it into their office workspace?

Biophilic stems from the word biophilia, meaning a ‘love of nature’, and was coined by German psychologist Erich Fromm before being popularised by American psychologist Edward O Wilson in the 1980s.

He pointed at how the rapid rise of urbanisation in the concrete jungles of New York, Tokyo and London amongst others, were becoming more and more disconnected from nature.

As humans, we all have a deep-rooted genetic connection to the natural world around us. This, therefore, can affect our health and wellbeing.

The biophilic design, therefore, shifts away from the old, cubicle style office designs, to a more open, human-centered approach.

It’s no secret stress-related illnesses are a major contributor of disease, but when we think of nature, it provokes thoughts of an environment full of calmness and relaxation.

With this in mind, designing an office to allow in more natural light by creating large windows with open views of the surroundings or glass roofs, will invoke those positive feelings.


Natural light allows us to connect with nature

Imagine working long hours in a room without any windows, only artificial light and piped in air – doesn’t sound appealing does it?

But throw in some greenery and maybe some natural materials such as wood and stone, or even water features, and you wouldn’t believe the affect it has on our mental wellbeing and overall health.


Wood, stone and natural light are all biophilic elements

Research into the health benefits of biophilic designs, carried out by Bill Browning, founding member of the US Green Building Council’s Board of Directors, and Sir Cary Cooper, CBE Professor of Organisational Psychology and Health at Lancaster University, found an overwhelming increase to employees’ wellbeing.

Incorporating direct or indirect elements of nature into the workplace were found to reduce stress, blood pressure levels and heart rates, whilst increasing productivity and creativity.

It’s no wonder behemoth corporations such as Google, Apple and Amazon invest heavily in biophilic designs.

But they don’t just offer improvements to our health and wellbeing, the architecture behind the designs has been found to benefit different sectors.

For instance, in the hospitality sector it found people were inclined to pay more for rooms with biophilic elements, and in educational institutes, it found test results improved.

Overall, biophilic elements are being implemented into office spaces more so than ever, for their many benefits in health, wellbeing and productivity. Biophilic may not have been a word you had heard of before, but it certainly won’t be the last you hear of it.