For years, urban planners have erected cities with little consideration for preserving the natural environment. As a result, people have become more and more alienated from nature. Current research shows that well-being is greatly increased when one is able to experience nature throughout the day. Although “sustainable” or “green” design focuses on reducing the environmental impact of our built environment, it does not address the notion of bringing the outdoors in. Biophilic design, on the other hand, brings the natural environment inside.
Biophilic design is thought to enhance creativity, minimize stress, and foster wellness. The restorative quality of nature expedites healing as it relates to stressors in the workplace. “Biophilia is the humankind’s innate biological connection with nature. It helps explain why crackling fires and crashing waves captivate us; why a garden view can enhance our creativity; why shadows and heights instill fascination and fear; and why animal companionship and strolling through a park have restorative, healing effects. Biophilia may also help explain why some urban parks and buildings are preferred over others.” – Terrapin Bright Green.
I had the great pleasure of attending a talk given by Bill Browning, founding member of Terarapin Bright Green, a consulting firm specializing in maximizing workplace efficiency by modulating the physical environment. He spoke specifically about creating refuge spaces at work to give employees a place to relieve stress and re-center throughout the day. His insight on physical interior design as it relates to an employee’s emotional state was enlightening and I cannot wait to incorporate his theory into my commercial design.