This means that improving health and wellbeing within the built environment is becoming an increasingly hot topic, particularly among business owners whose productivity relies on the sustainability and wellbeing of staff. This concern has lead to particular focus being placed on the improvement of office interior and biophilic design, after all we now typically spend 40% of our waking week at work in the UK.
Alongside the beneficial side to the advancement of mobile technology, is the darker side in which we are steadily losing the ability to destress and relax naturally. This factor, along with the general shift towards urban living and industrial architecture, has sparked significant discussion on incorporating biophilic design elements into our interiors.
WHAT IS BIOPHILIA?
The term was first introduced by Edward O. Wilson in his 1984 book ‘Biophilia’. Here Wilson defines biophilia as ‘the urge to affiliate with other forms of life’, or in other words the idea that humans are innately attracted to nature and the natural world. This is a result of our genetic heritage of hundreds of thousands of years living off the land and needing to be close to an environment that offers food, water, safety, shelter and warmth. We can see this concept at play in our day to day lives, with people favouring natural landscape views and travelling to natural areas like the beach or countryside to escape the stresses of urban life.
WHAT IS BIOPHILIC DESIGN?
In order to create an interior space that is relaxing, nurturing, and one that fosters productivity, we need to design with human nature in mind. Biophilic design, in its simplest form, is the incorporation of nature or elements mimicking the natural world. There are both direct and indirect ways of approaching this; through direct connection with natural objects, plants and water or through indirect connection with the introduction of man-made features that mimic natural forms, patterns, materials, textures and colours. In short, successful biophilic design allows us to create this natural space that we inherently yearn for, but in the urban environment that most of us spend our time.
THE BENEFITS OF BIOPHILIC DESIGN IN OFFICES
According to HSE, 12.5 million working days were lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2016/17. This increasing awareness of the effect of health and wellbeing on a business has lead to more and more research into the working environment itself and how it can be adjusted to improve the employee experience. Creating a workplace with connections to the natural world has proven to alleviate stress, reducing sick days and therefore saving businesses time and money.
TREAT IT AS AN INVESTMENT…
By introducing plants and natural life into the office in various forms, including wall panels and tiles, many businesses have witnessed a boost in creativity and productivity. Plants also reduce dust, mould and CO2 levels, and reduce the likelihood of fatigue, headaches, coughs and many other afflictions, all of which are common causes of absenteeism.
And plants aren’t the only option; the incorporation of natural materials and textures such as wood and stone can have a huge impact on a space. These are not only visual stimulants but also provide sensory benefits through touch, scent and even sound, as natural materials can alter the acoustics of a room. Colours that we associate with the natural world, and green in particular, have also been found to boost employee motivation, enthusiasm and productivity, as we are intrinsically wired to seek these out.
HOW TO BRING NATURAL ELEMENTS TO THE WORKPLACE
There are various effective ways to bring biophilic design into the office, some of the most effective methods also require little maintenance and don’t impede on valuable floor space. Green pockets of plant life can be spread throughout the office or alternatively used to accentuate a ‘retreat’, a space away from the hustle and bustle.
You can utilise wall and ceiling space, and even pillars, by incorporating panels with natural materials and textures such as wood and moss. This mimics the structure and texture of trees, and gives you the opportunity to cover larger areas and introduce the earthy and green tones. Such features can be seen further away than standard office plants so staff won’t need to be up close to reap the benefits.
ACHIEVING BIOPHILIC DESIGN WITH ARCTIC MOSS
Vtec Arctic Moss is easily adaptable to form stunning designs and is an impactful way of bringing natural elements to the workplace. Not only is it simple to install, it soaks up sound and can be used to cover large areas or to accent particular areas within an interior with Moss Spheres and Moss Islands.
Fire retardant and generally maintenance free, you can merge tiles in one colour or mix it up with a choice of 16 colours. The result is a visually and sensually stimulating feature that combines many of the benefits of biophilic design, contributing towards an environment that encourages creativity, health, and wellbeing, and one that staff and visitors are drawn to time and time again.