Bio-what?! An insight into my latest passion.
You know what it’s like when you discover something fantastic: you want to tell the world. This blog may not have global reach (yet!), but I’d love to tell you about … biophilic design.
The term describes enhancing human well-being through designs which bring nature to the fore. The simple aim is to increase connectivity to the natural environment, despite being in the built environment. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
To me, biophilic design describes simply how I work. I’ve been biophilic for years by instinct, so it was wonderful to discover that I was part of a movement – one which began back in the 1980s. It was popularised by writings of Edward O Wilson, the American biologist, who realised that urbanisation was disconnecting us from nature.
Today, as more than half the world gets crammed together in cities and technology distracts us from the natural world, biophilia matters more than ever. The World Health Organisation believes that alongside cardio-vascular issues, the largest contributor to disease is now poor mental health. If our buildings exclude nature, we will become ill, but the converse is true: research shows that incorporating nature (directly or indirectly) into the built environment reduces stress, blood pressure and heart rates – whilst simultaneously increasing productivity, creativity and a sense of well-being.
What does this mean for people like you and me? It means taking a human-centred approach to the design of cities, offices, homes and interiors – actively building-in elements that promote well-being.
Businesses like Apple, Google and Amazon are investing heavily in biophilic design. In a war for talent, they know that happier employees in tune with their environment are likely to contribute more and stay engaged for longer.
So how do you implement a biophilic design? Ah, that’s the subject of my next blog, due out on 16 September.
However, if you can’t wait, get in touch and I’ll wax lyrical about biophilic design – currently my favourite two words.