Our planet is a delicate ecosystem where humans, animals and nature are all interdependent. That is why on the 22nd April, the United Nations is celebrating International Mother Earth Day, a global event focusing on promoting harmony between nature and humans.
Aside from sustaining humans at a very basic level, nature also makes us feel better. Research conducted by the University of Oxford reveals that maintaining a connection to plants and nature can vastly improve our mental wellbeing. This supports the concept we often talk about called “biophilia”, which is based on the idea that humans have an innate need to connect with nature and the natural environment. It is especially important when you consider the proportion of people living and working in urban environments.
The addition of plants and other ‘biophilic elements’ to a workplace can improve productivity, wellness and even reduce sick days. In light of International Mother Earth Day, here are six important trends from Ambius’s Biophilic Design Trends report, that are changing the way people work, engage, and perform in the office environment:
1. Sustainably-sourced and Reclaimed Woods:
Wood is perhaps the most popular biophilic construction material, used for office features like tables, room dividers, doors and floors. Rather than using medium-density fibreboard (MDF), reclaimed wood has a more natural and authentic appearance helping to connect people with nature and, the fact it’s re-used and recycled from its original purpose is great from a sustainability angle.
2. Eye to the Sky:
Ceilings are having their moment in the design spotlight. From hanging plants and skylights to statement ceiling designs, the ceiling is the next frontier for interior designers and architects. For example exposed wooden ceiling joists are increasingly popular and have biophilic properties – they are also the perfect place for a hanging basket, allowing plants with long leaves to dangle freely. Carefully positioned skylights not only allow natural light, they can provide a unique of a natural habitat.
3. Green Integration:
Increasingly, organisations are expanding the scope of plant-based design features to include things such as large green installations, living walls and moss walls to help transform indoor spaces into something natural and beautiful. When consulting clients and experts for our Biophilic Design Trends Report, we found that architects and designers are incorporating these elements during pre-construction and renovation, rather than adding them post-completion – an indicator of how front-of-mind green integration has become.
4. Biodynamic Lighting:
This next evolution of commercial lighting involves introducing lighting systems that mirror natural sunlight conditions. During winter months, or in offices with reduced access to natural light, this lighting innovation can help to regulate the human body’s natural circadian rhythm, leading to improved sleep and mood regulation, regardless of your proximity to a window.
5. Divide and Prosper:
Green wall dividers are a new space-enhancing element, providing resolution to many challenges that face open office environments. Green dividers are agile and adaptable for dynamic work spaces, while incorporating a natural biophilic component cost effectively.
6. Flooring and Restoring:
Carpet and flooring designers are beginning to incorporate the unique elements of biophilic design, such as natural stone, wood and forest floors into flooring designs, with the goal to create natural textures that have similar qualities to being outside.
With International Mother Earth Day on the horizon, why not attempt to create a connection between nature and your workforce, by injecting some of these biophilic trends into your office space. For more information about the latest biophilic design trends, read our report, or contact your local Ambius office.