Biophilic Design the Key to Improving Mental Health, Productivity and Stress Levels

Sourced from Workplace Insight

An expert panel at this week’s Welcome to the Biophilic Concrete Jungle event in London made the case for incorporating the principles of biophilic design into the workplace, including for health and wellbeing considerations, the promotion of productivity and to address workplace stress and urban disconnection from nature. HOK organised the event. Panellists included Joyce Chan, Head of Sustainability and Trina Marshall, Regional Leader of Consulting from HOK, Professor Derek Clements-Croome from Reading University, Alexander Bond from Biophilic Design and Dr Ed Suttie from BRE.

Biophilic design is an extension of biophilia. It incorporates natural materials, natural light, vegetation, views out and other experiences of the natural world into the built environment. The discussion focused on sustainability, the fundamental values behind biophilic design and the emotional connection that people and places have with nature. It was noted that developers are increasingly engaging with architects on these principles when formulating a brief.

Super nature

Biophilia goes beyond nature, asserted Alexander Bond. The benefits of well thought-out design, colours, and lights incorporated into biophilic design means there are more than solely ‘nature’ benefits. It is difficult to translate or quantify the benefits to clients, who often expect to see the immediate effects. For people to feel fulfilled and motivated in their work, they need to engage with plants as people do have an innate interest to be close to nature.

Derek Clements Croome argued that there is a relationship between green elements and energy and sustainability. Looking ahead, biophilia is one important factor that will impact on the health of our nation.

During the discussion, it was also noted that there needs to be more biophilic design in schools, since it impacts the overall well-being of young individuals, helping their levels of productivity and positively impacting their overall health and development.

Finally, another compelling reason for incorporating biophilic design is because technology leads to a fast-paced and stressful workplace environment. Nature brings it back to the basics and allows us to become more in tune with living in the moment.

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