Biophilic Design: Building a ‘Second Nature’ into the Office Space

Biophilic Design in the Office SpaceSuccessful organizations are capitalizing on the power of biophilic design to boost overall well-being in the office space, and the changes have been noticeable.

As humans we have an innate desire for connection with nature, known as biophilia. Biophilic experiences naturally reduce stress, improve cognitive function, and mood.

These are all benefits that can become ‘second nature’ in your office space with the infusion of biophilic design.

What is Biophilic Design?

Biophilic Design is an approach that combines nature with architecture and includes inspired, natural design elements that consider how buildings and communities function.

The successful implementation of biophilic design depends on the conscious connection that exists between physical and mental well-being and the natural world around us.

Biophilic Design Principles

The principles of biophilic design are rooted in nature. Early adopters referred to the style as organic architecture that merged imagery of nature, along with elements that remind you of being in nature, and plenty of natural light.

Stephen Kellert, a pioneer of this practice, created a framework of biophilic design principles that are still in use today. These include direct and indirect experiences you have with nature.

Direct experiences include natural elements such as light, air, and water. It also includes physical components such as plants and natural landscapes.

Indirect experiences include the use of natural materials, shapes, and colors that represent earth, water, and sky. It includes images of nature, natural geometries, and biomimicry.

Benefits of Biophilic Design

A host of scientific studies have shown that being close to nature, be that in the form of plants or natural light, is beneficial to your health. Being outside can be energizing, enhance your mood, and improve overall well-being.

The benefits of biophilic design in the workplace include increased focus, boosted immunity, and stress reduction. Natural elements put people in a better mood. In turn, they get along better with others, are better at problem solving and/or thinking creatively.

Spaces that support a holistic state of well-being also support happy employees, who perform better and take less time away. When people are happy in their work environment, they are free to concentrate energy on developing new ideas, or completing complex tasks.

Biophilic DesignBiophilic Design Examples

Successful organizations are taking advantage of unused exterior real estate to create inviting work and social spaces. Patios and lawn spaces can be transformed into outdoor settings where employees can work, play, or restore.

Inside, biophilic design shows up with large windows offering abundant natural light that highlights the outdoors. Office spaces that offer views of trees, water and other greenery help connect employees to nature while they’re inside working.

An example of biophilic design can be seen at Amazon at The Spheres, which houses more than 40,000 plants from the cloud forest regions of over 30 countries. The innovative workplace is designed to stimulate new thinking and creativity.

Another biophilic design example can be seen at Facebook with their massive nine-acre rooftop garden. There wasn’t space around the building for employees to walk and connect with nature, so they looked up. The goal of the outdoor space is to create a sense of community and connection among the Facebook team, which are key components of what the business is all about.

Another biophilic design example can be found at Etsy’s headquarters, which includes commercial furniture with materials that are better built for the environment, the employees experiencing them, and the planet. The roof deck is outfitted with solar panels that provide natural energy and a relaxing space for employees to get fresh air.

Implement Biophilic Design into the Office Space

Now that you know the benefits of biophilic design in the office space, are you ready to implement it? We can help. Contact one of our design experts for a free consultation.