We wrote about biophilic design – conscious decisions to weave elements of the natural world into workplace refurbishments – back in 2018 but it is a principle that should have greater role in office designs moving forwards.
Even the most hardened of ‘insiders’ were challenged in 2020, turning to daily walks for exercise, fresh air, a change of scenery and even a sense of solace. Now many of us don’t want to lose our connection with the great outdoors as life, slowly, starts to return to normal.
Not just for those who have a newfound appreciation for big skies and beautiful landscapes, biophilic design is especially important for employees who have not been able to work from home – especially if their office is in an urban location.
As we move through 2021 and beyond, we will start to address our mental health and morale as a collective nation. Office environments will have a role to play, with existing evidence showing how flora and fauna can have a positive impact in our places of work.
An Australian study by the New University of Technology Sydney in 2010 found: “Staff who had plants placed in their offices showed reductions in stress levels and negative feelings of a magnitude of 30 to 60%, while those with no plants recorded increases in stress and negativity of 20 to 40%, over a 3-month test period.”
This is in addition to research showing how pot plants reduce indoor air pollution – not just the CO2 from colleagues breathing but also emissions from furnishings, furniture and equipment, such as computers and photocopiers.
Our previous biophilic design blog reveals the 5 cornerstones of this design movement. While using natural materials, such as wood and stone, and maximizing natural light are on the list, the use of plants remains at the biophilic heart.
One of MPL’s most recent projects - Buckingham Gate in London – is a modern example of how luxe design principles can be blended with a biophilic theme. Our installation included a living wall of ‘bun’ moss – a lush, tactile plant that’s extra low-maintenance as it draws moisture from the air to stay alive. We also built bespoke floor planters and specified a number of other plant pot holders throughout the design for added aesthetic and health benefits.
Please feel free to contact us about incorporating biophilic elements into your commercial fit out. We have experience in the smallest of additions (hanging planters perhaps) to the grandest of gestures (ask us about the indoor trees and grass at Lanes Group plc.).