Biophilic Design: The Basics

by Wade Larkin on

Biophilic Design: The Basics

Biophilic design is a philosophy that encourages the use of ecological systems in workplace or commercial settings; encompassing elements of nature such as greenery, water, and natural lighting to create a healthier and more productive built environment.

As humanity has developed, it is fair to say that our connection to nature has been progressively diminishing as the prevalence of technology increases urban density. However, a quiet revolution has begun to change the way people think about office space. Recognising the importance of maintaining a natural connection in the indoor areas where we spend a majority of our time, biophilic design is increasing in popularity.

To define biophilic design, it is more than just adding plants to indoor spaces – it is a belief system intended to improve collective mental and physical wellbeing beyond pure aesthetic.

Looking to learn how to incorporate biophilic design into your office space? Let’s take a look at what biophilic design is and examples of this principle for office design so that you can become a part of the movement and appreciate the rationale behind the dimensions, elements and attributes of biophilic design.

Why Is Biophilic Design So Important?

The modern world requires us to spend a substantial amount of time in confined space and built environments, leaving us longing for any semblance of contact with natural elements. Incorporating nature within indoor spaces decreases stress and helps cultivate a more positive outlook on life.

For example, a landmark 2019 study in Denmark found that children exposed to more greenery had 55% less risk of mental health problems later in life than those who weren’t.

Effectual understanding in how to incorporate biophilic design has been demonstrated within research to reduce stress, blood pressure levels and heart rates whilst increasing overall mental well-being. With it not being uncommon for employees to spend 40+ hours a week in an office space, incorporating natural elements can inject a positive perspective and develop a more harmonious atmosphere. As a consequence of biophilic design, creativity and productivity will experience a boost due to increased levels of comfort and calm.

An injection of greenery, colour and natural lighting has also been found to benefit physical health. The introduction of plants and greenery, for example, can improve air quality as vegetation absorbs airborne compounds and provides water vapour into the air, appeasing inhalation and decreasing susceptibility to office viruses and allergies.

Moreover, alteration to the office environment conveys that management places importance on workplace condition and employee wellbeing. Biophilic design has also proven an effective way to develop company identity, acting as a visual representation of branding. A display of natural elements within a commercial or urban setting through the use of greenery, texture, shapes and materials are sure to leave a welcomed and surprising impression on any visitor.


How to Incorporate Biophilic Design in a Commercial Fit-Out

The dimensions, elements and attributes of biophilic design are broad and are subject to the extent of one’s imagination. Firstly, maximising light and introducing fresh air are easy applications of biophilic design.

Outside of this, the inclusion of natural materials in furniture is extremely effective. Wood furniture or upholstery with natural and recycled fibres, for example, can create a welcoming and comfortable environment. NPS Commercial Furniture recommends +Halle’s upholstered furniture, which can be customised with Instyle’s range of recycled fabrics with colour reflecting those prominent in the natural world. Want to inspire collaboration? Check out the Thinking Works EONA Meeting Table, built from post-consumer recycled materials.

Adding plants to the design of commercial space is an easy way to bring the outside, inside. This could include green walls, planters, trees or multi-use furniture purpose-built for incorporating greenery. Consider introducing water features to develop a soothing atmosphere and ease thought process. A small indoor fountain is an excellent use of space.

Adding invigorating colours that can be found in the natural world is another effective, practical application of biophilic design, made easier by the beauty of modern manufacturing. Place some comfortable furniture around with +Halle, include communication boards with Lintex, add in some lights with Pedrali or develop quiet spaces with Framery’s revolutionary soundproof meeting rooms. Another consideration could be replicating the organic shapes found in nature through your furniture selection. Pieces such as the +Halle Plasma sofa have soft, flowing edges that mimic those found in nature.

What Certifications and Standards Exist in Biophilic Design?

Biophilic design was philosophised on the basis that people’s health and wellbeing should be the central consideration in design. As such, NPS Commercial Furniture offer products from brands like Actiu and Framery that operate off of the WELL Building Standard and take a holistic approach when incorporating natural elements into built environments. WELL measures attributes of a building that impact occupant health by looking at seven concepts:

Air: Optimise air quality.

Water: Optimise water quality, analysed on strategic placement and accessibility.

Nourishment: Encourage healthy eating habits – provide healthy choice and knowledge regarding nutrient quality.

Light: How light is used indoors, and its level of improvement to energy, mood etc.

Fitness: Is physical activity encouraged? Provide an opportunity for exertion.

Comfort: Ergonomic furniture, distraction-free zones for productive work and mentally recharging. Acoustic and thermal considerations.

Mind: Support mental health, open dialogue, accept feedback etc.

    Employ Biophilic Design with NPS Commercial Furniture

    NPS Commercial Furniture offer a wide range of high-quality, ‘green’ commercial furniture and accessories that contribute to biophilic design considerations in commercial, education, health care, public spaces, and hospitality fit outs. Servicing all of North Queensland, NPS Commercial Furniture can quote, supply, and install state-of-the-art furniture for your indoor space, with exclusive access to both leading international and Australian brands.

    To discover more, contact us today on 1300 889 194, or visit one of our showrooms to experience the quality of our products and how they convert to tangible, stylish commercial solutions.