Building nature into design schemes

01/04/2012

Ambius brings the outside in with launch of biophilia toolkit

Recognising the fundamental difference between how a building looks and how it feels, Ambius, the world leader in enhancing buildings through planting, scenting and artwork has launched a free Biophilia Toolkit. Drawing on scientific studies which show the link between closeness to nature and well-being, the toolkit available from www.ambius.co.uk/biophilia provides key pointers for Architects and Interior Designers on the techniques and tools they can use to bring nature into building design, helping to create environments in which people naturally feel at ease.

Translating as ‘love of life’ or ‘love of living systems’, biophilia recognises the instinctive need for humans to be in touch with nature. A recent survey by Ambius found that 1 in 3 British workers (34%) have no access to green space for their lunch break*. This lack of connection with nature can have a very detrimental impact on health and well-being.

Highlighting 8 elements of interior landscape design, the toolkit offers an illustration of a workspace with clickable icons to explain different ways plants, as well as sound and smell can be used to enhance the environment.

The 8 elements of biophilic interior landscape design

  1. Create the feel of nature indoors through a degree of randomness and informality.
  2. Recreate the illusion of overlooking a landscape.
  3. Blur the boundary from outside to in.
  4. Create interest with light and shade through the foliage of interior plants.
  5. Use natural (and local) materials such as plant containers.
  6. Provide shelter and privacy.
  7. Incorporate the sound or sight of water.
  8. Use natural scents and perfumes to add an extra dimension.

Kenneth Freeman, International Technical Director for Ambius said: “Creating the right feel for a space can be frustratingly elusive. In many cases it’s because a connection with nature is missing. However, there are some simple techniques building designers can incorporate into design schemes that will offer that connection. The biophilia toolkit explains these tools and techniques in a very simple way, offering practical guidance on incorporating natural or nature-inspired elements into buildings to help people reconnect with the natural environment.

“Plants in particular are often treated an afterthought. If they are considered earlier in the design process there’s a better chance their benefits will be maximised. The beauty of plants is that they are truly multifunctional, they not only make us feel better, they can help remove toxins from the air, act as a cooling system and make great design statements.”

Kenneth Freeman concludes: “By applying the principles suggested by the biophilia toolkit, Architects and Interior designers can restore the connection with nature using natural materials and planting to add more than just an aesthetic value to a building.”

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