Following the Covid-19 pandemic, one study found that there was an increase in people experiencing depression, sleep disturbance and increased irritability. As a result of this, many are looking to reconnect with nature – especially as research has shown that exposure to green spaces or nature can increase productivity, calmness, concentration and general mental health. Here, Lewis Cooper, our Marketing Executive at Forbo, discusses the benefits of biophilic design in different commercial spaces.
What is biophilic design?
The term ‘biophilia’ was coined by Edward Wilson in the 1980s, and he is now considered the ‘founding father’ of the psychology behind biophilic design. He proposed the idea that human beings subconsciously seek a deeper connection to all that is alive and there are many studies that support this idea. Humans need a connection to the outside whatever environment they may be in. This could be something as simple as a desk plant, to an outdoor area full of plants, exposure to sunlight or materials that reflect natural aesthetics. But what are the benefits of biophilic design in commercial spaces?
This is probably one of the spaces biophilic design is seen most in, with the majority of offices allowing staff to have desk plants or adding some form of greenery to their office. It is also one of the sectors in which biophilic design can be best utilised and have the biggest impact. With such benefits as, improved air-quality, increased creativity, reduced stress and more, it’s clear to see why biophilic design is beneficial for offices. In fact, a study by Exeter university found that employees were 15% more productive when surrounded by just a few houseplants.
Education and biophilic design
Schools have an important role in teaching the next generation about the importance of the environment, and in an increasingly urban world this role has never been more prominent. By incorporating nature into schools, architects and specifiers can ensure they’re helping to engage young people in the world around them.
Not only is biophilic design important from this aspect, but the aforementioned benefits of concentration and productivity are obvious benefits in an education setting.
Taking advantage of nature’s natural stress relieving benefits is of great benefit for healthcare facilities, a place which many find stressful and intimidating. As such, by adding natural light and other likeminded design features, architects can subvert this thinking. Not just this but using natural textures within the design of the building can also have a similar effect, with studies showing that biophilic design in healthcare environments, can decrease post-operative recovery time by 8.5%. Pain medication also decreased by 22%.
Biophilic design is equally as important in public buildings, like council properties or libraries, areas that need to feel inviting and calm. By using natural surfaces or plants here, you can brighten the area and make visitors feel welcome. Especially in the case of a building like a library, creating a feeling of calm and peacefulness is important, something which greenery can do.
Incorporating biophilic design
Simply adding plants can be a good start to creating a biophilic space but it isn’t the only way. Specifying materials that are inspired by or are made with natural materials, such as stone and timber aesthetics, can help to create a connection to the outdoor world. Another way to incorporate biophilic design is through the flooring – especially as it’s the largest space in any building.
Our new range of carpet tiles,
Tessera Infused, is the perfect solution. Tessera Infused is a multi-height loop pile carpet tile, which provides a beautiful, organic mottled aesthetic and is available in an array of natural, earthy colours that create a welcoming and comfortable environment, at an affordable price. Not only this, but Tessera Infused has been designed to closely match other Tessera carpet tile ranges, such as Diffusion and Cloudscape, allowing them to be installed alongside each other. It can also be combined with our Flotex flocked flooring and Allura LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tile) collections – helping you to create beautiful integrated flooring schemes.