The Future of Interior Design
Wednesday, 28 Feb
Industrial, science and technological advances have been essential ingredients of modern life. However, these developments have also had a significant affect on the way humans interact with nature.
As modern humans began to construct enclosed spaces for shelter from elements, such as homes and workplaces, a progressive divergence from the natural world occurred. Although built environments have been crucial to humankind’s survival and evolution, recent studies have shown that living in cities can have adverse effects on mental and physical health, quality of life and wellbeing. Owing to this, a new framework for addressing these deficiencies in contemporary building and landscape has been established3.
Biophilic design refers to an innovative design practice that incorporates natural materials into the modern built environment, such as light, vegetation, and views of nature. A growing body of scientific research across a wide range of sectors – work, education, health, recreation, housing, and community – has revealed that contact with nature can have a profound impact on health and quality of life. What is more, studies have shown that exposure to nature can reduce stress, enhance creativity and clarity of thought, improve wellbeing, accelerate healing, and increase productivity2.
With mounting evidence on the prolific benefits of biophilic design, it is evident that natural elements need to be introduced into future development of our built environments. Through tapping into our innate inclinations towards nature, we can provoke optimal physiological responses from employees, whilst eliminating unnecessary environmental stress and financial losses due to absenteeism and presenteeism1.
Incorporating biophilic design techniques in the workplace can result in the following benefits2:
- 6% increase in productivity
- 15% increase in wellbeing
- 15% increase in creativity
- 10% decrease absenteeism/tardiness
So what should organisations consider when making changes to office design2?
- Windows. Design the space to maximize the sunlight and natural views coming in
- Greenery. Potted plants are a great start, but don’t stop there; living walls and flower gardens make a stunning impact
- Biomimicry. Get inspiration from nature. Integrate naturally found patterns, structures and materials into the design; for example, the structural strength and bioclimatic properties of shells, hives, webs and crystals.
- Air. Provide operable windows when possible. If this isn’t an option, ensure proper air flow
- Water. Add a water feature. The appearance and sound of water elicit feelings of serenity
- Tone/texture. Use varying wood grains, concrete, and brick. Paint walls and choose textiles using colours found in nature
- Physical connection. If space is available, create an outdoor sanctuary employees can retreat to (rooftop patio or staff garden, as examples)
- Emotional connection. Create an emotional connection through sensory engagement. Enjoyment through senses employs the mind without fatigue; it exercises it, tranquilises it and enlivens it.
- The Economics of Biophilia. 2018. The Economics of Biophilia. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.terrapinbrightgreen.com/reports/the-economics-of-biophilia/. [Accessed 28 February 2018].
- Biophilic Design: The Benefits Of Nature In Office Design | Truspace. 2018. Biophilic Design: The Benefits Of Nature In Office Design | Truspace. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.truspace.ca/biophilic-design-the-benefits-of-nature-in-office-design/. [Accessed 28 February 2018].
- Thorpe, A., 2007. The Designer’s Atlas of Sustainability. 1st ed. Washington: Island Press.