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Bring the outdoors into the office with biophilic design
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Sun and warm weather can make it challenging to focus indoors, but some design tricks bring the outdoors into the office. Biophilic design incorporates light, plants and natural materials to bring nature indoors and promote focus, creativity and productivity.
The simplest definition of biophilic design is taking nature inside. By selecting natural materials, opening up spaces for natural light and adding plants and natural features for the workplace, the line between indoors and outdoors becomes blurred.
Biophilia was first coined by biologist Edward O. Wilson in 1984. The researcher used the term to explain the inherent connection between humans and the natural world.
It didn’t take long for the idea of biophilia to be expanded into design. Biophilic design is the true combination of built and natural environments – with an emphasis on maximizing productivity and happiness.
A connection to nature has a noticeable impact on overall productivity. Various studies from around the world have measured an increase in creativity, happiness and overall wellbeing. For example, natural sunlight and plants make a workplace 15 per cent more creative.
Although there are clear benefits to biophilic design, the majority of workplaces don’t have a deliberate approach to maximize light and natural materials within the workplace. There are a few reasons for this, including geography and budgets.
Some regions can take biophilic design to the extreme by removing walls between the indoors and outdoors. Calgary’s climate swings from hot to cold, so biophilic design in the city means creating a consistent environment indoors.
Biophilic design is often seen as an additional expense with limited payback. But it doesn’t have to be a huge investment. Adding plants into the office and using natural materials (such as wood) are effective and not costly. Another approach is selecting colours that are common in the natural world – greens, blues and browns. For the most part, any colour other than whites, grays and blacks is inspiring.
To stimulate workers throughout the workday, allow natural light to flow into the office with movable partitions and glass (clear or opaque) walls. Open office designs tend to be brighter and space dividers can still allow for privacy and noise control.
There are many components to consider when planning a space – and biophilic design is just one small part. Our professional office space designers can help you consider all the important factors to maximize your office furniture budget for a comfortable, creative and productive workspace.