How do you move nature, with its sense-soothing benefits, into a downtown office building? Biophilic design, one of the hottest trends of the latest seasons, might come in handy here. It is about much more than just the clichéd flower on the desk.
Agnieszka Niedzielska, Workplace Planning Manager
Biophilic design has been the number one hot topic for some time. It is based on the belief that, as an integral part of the ecosystem, a person cannot function outside of that ecosystem and, deprived of contact with nature, he or she gradually loses the energy to live. Interior design with strong references to nature is the remedy for apathy in the workplace, as it improves wellbeing.
Biophilic office spaces are often finished in various natural materials such as wood, bamboo, cork or stone. Round-shaped furniture with wooden or veneered elements will work great here. Warm colours are widely used, and the colours of the earth are dominant: beiges, browns, shades of rusty red and of surrounding nature – from green to the natural colours of flowers, sky and water.
Of course, there must be vegetation too. Designers usually reach for reindeer moss, which doesn’t need watering, or special self-irrigating systems. Photo wallpapers with natural landscapes, or wallpapers with floral motifs (eg. bamboo or monstera leaves) offer a more affordable solution. Plant motifs are also printed on fabrics – eg. sofa cushions or upholstery. There are also flower pots – you can put them on the floor, cabinets and shelves, or hang them under the ceiling.
Biophilically designed space is perceived with all senses. The sense of touch and hearing are as important as eyesight here. Soft carpet flooring, thickly woven rugs, soothing sounds of a running stream or singing birds in rest areas are just some of the popular solutions.
Finally, wellbeing is strongly impacted by light. Large windows overlooking greenery are the best option. If you can’t have them, modern technology offers good solutions, such as adjustable intensity and colour of artificial light. In a biophilic office, lamps play both a functional and a decorative role – for instance, their shape can refer to birds or vegetation.