biophilic design

not just a trend

Biophilic design has to do with the built-in connection we as humans have with nature

The idea of introducing the connections we feel to nature into every environment we operate in, whether being an office when we work during the day or a hospitality environment at nighttime, maybe a restaurant or bar into the early morning hours, and even into other establishments like universities, colleges and schoolhouses.

Biophilic Design helps us feel more comfortable in our surroundings. This is more then a trend, Biophilic Design is about understanding of the needs we have as humans. Having natural elements is one way, quite an important way, of creating an environment the will reproduce the sense of the outdoors and act as a catalyst for individuals to give their best at all times without feeling over worked. 

The idea of introducing the connections we feel to nature into every environment we operate in, whether being an office when we work during the day or a hospitality environment at nighttime, maybe a restaurant or bar into the early morning hours, and even into other establishments like universities, colleges and schoolhouses.

Biophilic Design helps us feel more comfortable in our surroundings. This is more then a trend, Biophilic Design is about understanding of the needs we have as humans. Having natural elements is one way, quite an important way, of creating an environment the will reproduce the sense of the outdoors and act as a catalyst for individuals to give their best at all times without feeling over worked. 

When you feel stressed, anxious or tired, which can be common feelings while at work, you might take a walk to clear and center your mind.  Biophilic Design is based within the same principle, it’s good for us! If we can bring native textures and elements into the spaces we work and live its a win-win situation for business and our personal lives. Things that you recognize, like local images, smells or sounds can stimulate you and make you feel more comfortable. Right out of high school I worked in a call center it was a large space packed with side-by-side cubicles, the office was filled with massive windows, however, the blinds were always shut not allowing any light in.  This created the feeling of tight dark space. One day a colleague brought in a small plant, placed it on top of her desk, at eye-level, where everyone could see it.  Not one person walked by without noticing this new green element, most made comments but everyone smiled. Before long myself and other staff were jumping on the idea and brought in plants for the top of our desks as well. 

Within a couple of months the entire floor was covered in make-shift cabinet top plantings. Then someone opened a blind, at first it was just to give the plants some of the sunlight they crave. Shortly ALL the blinds were up and letting in natural light along with views of the surrounding gardens and sky. The feel and look of this office was completely transformed. The result being that feelings from the staff were improved, management was impressed as goals were not only met but being surpassed on a regular basis, everyone was in higher spirits, the call center actually became a welcoming and lovely space to work and interact.

There has been a ton of research showing the range of improvements made in the micro- and macro- sense after natural elements are designed into a space during a renovation of retrofit. Additionally, and as an extension, there is research showing the benefits of natural environments versus artificial and how they collaborate with our subconscious changing how we feel about our environments, social interactions and ourselves.  If we think and act cold we end up being cold, if we think and act in a warmer manner then we tend to capture a warmer spirit.  The essence of what we portray is the reality of our subconscious. Why not be the best we can be all the time? and create environments that allow our best qualities to shine.

Contemplating an update? Consider this, the improvement in work-flow, even if only by one or two percent will off-set any costs of renovation or reconfiguration.  When adding the Biophilic elements light doesn’t take up much space, but can open up an area with charm and splendor like nothing else can. In order of creating an immersive and spacious environment I like to start with the simplest solutions, the walls and openings can change the feeling of the environment with the clever use of sidelights, clear or transparent finishes combined with natural textures.  The change can be immense and immediate.

As an example of a great lighting experience, I think of a showing of Mamma Mia I saw in Toronto a few years ago.  The story takes place in Greece in the summer time. This is a place known for it scenic beauty, heat, color and life. In order to produce that feeling of being in another place the set designers used absolutely no ‘roofing’ and instead had wide open spaces allowing the ‘sun’ light to enter the stage and flow throughout the audience, each person became enveloped by the shine.  Its no fluke that the term ‘Mother Nature’ has been around for so long, nature does care for our bodies and minds with the same strength and intention as our mothers. Protecting, healing, nourishing and sustaining us. Through this connection to nature we are ‘mothered,’ supported and restored. 

As humans when we have the ability of getting out of our normal artificially built environments, even if just for a short while, and leave our problems behind.  This lets nature in allowing a healthier more balanced perspective shine and grow. I believe there has been a period of disconnect whether caused by materials that were brought in such as plastics or by lifestyle and habits, always (even right now) starring at screens on top of lighting our spaces with artificial lights instead of natural sunshine.  There are many forms of biophilic design elements, our senses are extensive in what they feel and how sensitive they are, in order to create a successful biophilic design you must include a range of elements to match the expanse of your senses. As more people embrace the fact that we need more nature in our lives the wider the expanse of what is considered Biophilic Design will grow. 

When I first started Googling biophilia there were only three or four main points that were discussed repeatedly, now a Google search will produce hundreds of topics and avenues to research. The umbrella has and still is growing. Our built environments are harsh, grim and full of sensory deprivation, by adjusting design intentions slightly we can start creating calming atmospheres that allow one to connect to the personal change and growth happening within everyone of us at all times. In nature there is a restorative and rehabilitative quality that Biophilic Design that is embracing and driving forward.

CONTACT us

Send Denyse a message if you need assistance Designing nature into your space! You can call us on +1 (905) 433-7189 or  +1 (800) 803-1235 if you have any questions or would like a personalised quotation. 

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Blog Written by Denyse Zajakovski