In recent years evidence suggests that increasing numbers of employers are investing in the atmosphere and style of their workplaces in an effort to increase their staff’s happiness and productivity. In direct response to this, they are seeing positive results in their company’s output and achievements. Indeed, there is no doubt that one’s environment has an enormous effect on wellbeing – both physically and mentally. However, with so many different design options to choose from, it can be difficult for business owners to know where to start with an office renovation. Biophilic office interior design is just one of the many concepts to consider. The idea of bringing the outside inside and merging the natural world with the working world is one that is gaining ever increasing traction, and for good reason. Below is more information on this revolutionary style of decoration and architecture. Biophilic design comes from the term “biophilia”. It refers to the desire that is ingrained within us as human beings to connect with nature and our natural surroundings. Biophilia, in the realms of decoration and architecture, focuses on bringing key elements of the world into the workplace, thereby connecting it to nature. This might lead one to picture an office filled to the brim with plants, however whilst greenery is a key element in biophilic office interior design this technique goes far beyond plants and shrubbery. The concept emphasises a number of components: natural light, open space, earthy colours, organic shape and a sense of community, to name a few. Stephen Kellert, a professor of social ecology, was an advocate for biophilic design. In his book Biophilic Design he defines it as, “the inherent human inclination to affiliate with nature that even in the modern world continues to be critical to people’s physical and mental health and wellbeing”. The importance of the connection between mankind and nature has long been recognised. Evidence can be traced back as far as Victorian times, when people would regularly flock to seaside towns in the hope that the sea air would aid them in rest and relaxation. This time also saw a keen interest in gardening lead to an increase in the number of public botanical gardens, proving that a strong relationship with nature was highly valued. The idea of bringing elements of the natural world into work spaces is based on the consideration of the office as a community. The intention is to create working environments that support social mingling as well as an individual’s mental and physical wellbeing. Including some of the key components mentioned above can help workers to engage with their surroundings and enjoy spending time in their workplace. There are countless benefits to employing biophilic office interior design. Bringing nature into everyday life is proven to boost physical and mental health in a number of ways. Increasing exposure to natural light can dramatically increase employee’s productivity and energy levels, as well as improving their mental and physical health due to increased levels of vitamin D. Utilising outside areas by adding tables and seating provides staff with the option to work outside when the weather allows, and reap the benefits of fresh air and natural light. Including plantlife in various areas can improve air quality by increasing oxygen levels, thereby improving employee’s health. Overall, these types of offices are proven to encourage employees to be more active, thereby improving their mood and increasing their performance. Biophilic office interior design can be achieved in small ways, through the use of plants or artwork, or in larger ways by converting outside spaces into workable areas. There is potential for offices of all sizes and funding levels to embrace biophilic design. The best way to achieve this is by employing a professional design company who can advise you every step of the way. Daniel Freeman is a consultant for Buildgen, a company specialising in integrated office design and build. Builgen has garnered a reputation for excellence in office interior design by combining solid design and construction management, a commercially-proven project development process and unique application of a 360º service. They provide the perfect blend of creativity and efficiency.
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