Biophilic Design – What is it?

Design Trends

Biophilia simply means ‘the love of nature’. Biophilic design is the aim to reconnect humans with their instinctive love of nature

What is Biophilic Design?

In its purest sense, Biophilia simply means ‘the love of nature’. Biophilic design is the aim to reconnect humans with their instinctive love of nature. Think of a list of places that make you feel great. Unsurprisingly natural environments such as the beach, forests and mountains are mentioned time and time again. however, Ribble Cycles surveyed more than 1,000 adults in Britain finding the average person spent 92% of their time indoors on a weekly basis. If as humans we chose to spend our free time amongst nature where we feel happiest, then it makes sense that wherever possible natural elements should be included within our built environment not only to make us feel happier but to make us healthier too.

So why is Biophilic design beneficial? Incorporating direct or indirect elements of nature into the built environment has been proven through research to make people healthier. For example, it reduces stress, blood pressure levels and heart rate. It has also been proven that including elements of Biophilic design within a workplace environment can increase productivity, creativity and self-reported rates of well-being.

There are 14 principles of Biophilic design which are:

 

We wanted to apply these principles to one of our own workplace designs so we will analyse this bespoke meeting hub in the new Welsh Power HQ in central Cardiff and see how many of the principles we achieved.

Nature in the space.

1 & 8. Visual connection with nature/ Biomorphic forms and patterns. We installed a real feature moss wall which has become the focal point of the office. This brings colour and texture to the space and also has great acoustic properties.

  1. Non-Visual connection to nature. The moss wall is made of real moss providing a tactile experience.
  2. Connection to natural systems. This building has windows on each side and one of the best views of Cardiff. This allows the occupants to look out over Bute Park and see the seasons changing.

9 & 10. Material connection with nature / Complexity and Order. The central structure is made of Walnut faced timber. The design is inspired by the many layers of plant matter being compressed underground to form coal. This stacked design is also featured in the glass manifestation. The main carpet used throughout the office is Interface Composure. This range is inspired by natural rock formations. We have uses it alongside Human Nature Kiwi which replicates grass.

  1. Refuge. The central meeting zone acts as a refuge in the open plan office. It provides a comfortable, quiet space within the open environment. The office also includes two small private work rooms hidden behind the moss walls.
  2. Mystery. The central hub restricts the clear view of the office, therefore, creating a sense of mystery.

 

If you would like to implement these principles into your workspace here are some ways;

  • Living Walls
  • Water features or fish tanks
  • Feature carpets or wall finishes that mimic natural colours and textures

Simpler options:

  • Add plants to the environment
  • Access to fresh air
  • Relocate your workspace to be near a window to allow light


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