What is Biophilia
Biophilia is a word/concept that is being mentioned more and more, especially in the world of interior design and architecture. Biophilia, a term originally coined by E.O. Wilson, refers to the idea that humans have an instinctive bond with nature.
Biophilic Design is more than just an interior design trend, it takes the core concept of biophilia and aims to bring it into places where there is a distinct separation between humans and nature. The idea is simple: bringing nature closer to humans in the built environment greatly improves our health and well-being, both physically and mentally.
Impact of Biophilia
The World Health Organisation expects stress-related illness (mental health disorders and cardio-vascular conditions) to be the two largest contributors to disease by 2020. Multiple studies have shown that having direct access to nature can minimise feelings of stress, enable better focus, mental stamina, and increase productivity.
One such recent, and very relevant, pieces of research in to these effects was carried out in a study called ‘The relative benefits of green versus lean office space: Three field experiments’, by researchers at Cardiff University. They took two groups of office workers who were exposed to different levels of contact with nature and recorded their levels of productivity. Researchers found that the workers who had exposure to natural greenery recorded a 15% rise in productivity over a three month trial period, compared to those who worked in a space with no greenery or natural elements.
Numerous other studies on the benefits to the built environment through improving a connection to nature have found the following positive impacts:
- Office - productivity can be increased by up to 15%, rates of well-being up by 13% and increases in general creativity
- Hospitality - guests willing to pay 23% more for rooms with views of Biophilic elements
- Education - increased rates of learning 20-25%, improved test results, concentration levels and attendance, reduced impacts of ADHD
- Healthcare - post-operative rates of recovery reduced by 8.5%, reduced pain medication by 22%
- Retail - the presence of vegetation & landscaping has been found to increase average rental rates on retail spaces with customers indicating they were willing to pay 8-12 % more for goods and services
- Homes - can become more calming & restorative, with 7-8% less crime attributed to areas with access to nature and can command an increase of 4-5% in property price
Incorporating Biophilia into your workplace
There is a huge number of ways that Biophilia can be incorporated in to the workplace, from small changes to full fit out and workplace design. Here are a few examples: