Biophilic design is an innovative interior design technique that takes natural materials and brings them inside, reconnecting humans back to their natural habitat. A number of studies have shown the benefits of bipohilic design as alleviating stress, promoting better focus, and improving physical health and mental well-being. Most biophilic-designed offices feature metals, wood, stone, greenery, and lots of natural light. The design is usually very minimal, but another office design trend coming into play is texture. Texture is a natural occurrence in biophilic design, as it is in nature, and it can be a nice interactive moment for the employees in your office. Let's take a look, in greater detail, what a biophilic office can offer you in regards to design and employee well-being.
Design Elements of Biophilic Design
Light- Studies on "practices for higher performance in schools," have proven that natural lighting accounts for a 26% higher rating of productivity in students, which correlates to students learning in a room lit with florescent bulbs only.
Patterns- Much, if not all, of natural structure is fractal. Fractals are essentially infinite patterns which can be found on natural surfaces, like wood. Infinite repetition isn't necessary for your office design though, simple patterns should do the trick. Experts that study biophilic design have suggested that patterns may naturally cause humans to feel relaxed.
Greenery- Plants have been known to have healing affects and there have been studies that may prove it to be fact based. In one study, patients in a hospital recovering from gallbladder surgery healed faster with trees outside their windows as compared to those without trees or without windows.
Wood Grain- A Canadian study revealed that the majority of subjects viewed wood grain as more warm, inviting, homey, and relaxing as compared to all other tested materials. In Japan there was a study on a wood panel room as compared to a steel panel room, in which they found the wood panels decreased feelings of depression and steel increased those feelings. In the same study they noticed a decrease of blood pressure or no change in the room with wood, while in the steel room there was an increase.
How Biophilic Design Helps your Workplace
Gallup research finds that workers with high well-being perform better. Having employees that are satisfied in their work environment will keep your employees around for longer periods of time with high productivity. This, in turn, can save employers time and money.
For example, a study in Europe revolving around adding biophilic elements to the workplace found that 88 percent of workers said their sense of well-being improved because of these elements. According to the same Human Spaces report, European workers had a 13 percent increase in well-being in spaces with biophilia.
What can you do to Bring Biophilic Design to your Space?
- Access to natural light and big windows
- Texture and patterns incorporated in your office design
- Adding wooden elements such as chairs or tables.
- Earthy color palettes
- Placing plants around the building
- Incorporating running water sounds, whether on a sound track or having a fountain.