Are you feeling stressed, anxious, or drained? Take a closer look at your environment! Our built spaces impact our mood, health and overall well-being. The good news is that we can design them to support us.
What does Biophilic Design mean?
The word "Biophilia" originates from Greek and means "a love of life and living things". The more elaborate explanation would sound like this - humanity's inherent desire to belong to and be a part of the natural world.
The term "biophilic design" was described by American biologist Edward O. Wilson in the early 1980s. He argued that humans have a deep-seated desire to connect with nature and that this connection is essential for one's physical and mental well-being.
Biophilic design: a concept incorporating nature into our buildings and urban spaces.
Biophilic design principles root in the understanding humans have an inborn connection to nature. From the earliest days of our evolution, we have relied on nature for food, shelter, and safety. Before humans evolved and gathered in large communities, we were in complete unison with our surroundings.
But in our modern, urbanised world, we often find ourselves disconnected from nature. We spend most of our time indoors, surrounded by concrete, glass, and steel. The need for this bond has remained indestructible. Even after building urban landscapes and creating new living environments, we still crave to spend our free moments in nature as much as possible. The only difference today is we do not go into nature in search of food. Instead, we seek refuge for our souls and mind.
Modern society has produced many obstacles to the beneficial experience of nature. We live in times when there is an increasing disconnect from the natural world, which is often perceived only as a resource to exploit. This separation reflects in all aspects of our lives - manufacturing of goods, education, health care and architecture.
Research shows that exposure to nature can improve one's mental and physical health, reduce stress and anxiety, and boost human productivity and creativity.
Here is where biophilic design comes in. By incorporating nature into our built environments, we can reconnect with the natural world and reap its benefits. Biophilic can take many forms, from large-scale urban planning to small, simple design choices in our homes and workplaces.
One of the core principles of biophilic design is using natural materials, such as wood, stone, and plant-based textiles.
Another element of biophilic design is the inclusion of plants and greenery. Not only do plants add beauty and colour to our spaces, but they also help to purify the air and reduce stress. Studies have shown that being around plants can lower blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety levels.
Incorporating biophilic design into your living space or apartment
Here are a few tips for incorporating the natural world into our built environments. It can be as simple as adding a few plants to your living area, or as elaborate as using natural materials, light and views.
- Add plants: Whether a small succulent on your windowsill or a large indoor tree, plants can bring life and vitality to your living space. Not only do they look beautiful, but they also help to purify the air and create a calming atmosphere.
- Incorporate natural materials: Wood, stone, and other natural materials can bring a sense of warmth and connection to nature into your living space. Consider using wood for your furniture or adding a stone accent wall.
- Use natural light: Natural light improves mood, productivity, and overall well-being. Make sure to take advantage of natural light in your living space by keeping windows clean and unblocked. Consider using sheer curtains or blinds to allow light to filter in. Did you know incorporating natural light and views of nature into our buildings can improve our sleep and circadian rhythms, boost our mood, and enhance our cognitive performance?
- Incorporate water: Whether it's a small fountain or a fish tank, the sound and sight of water can be incredibly calming and rejuvenating.
- Consider views: If you're lucky enough to have a nature view from your living area, make sure to take advantage of it. If not, you can still incorporate nature into your space through artwork or photographs of natural scenes.
By incorporating these elements of biophilic design, you can create a living space that feels connected to nature, calming, and rejuvenating. So, try to incorporate biophilic design into your living space and see the difference it makes!
Benefits of Biophilic Design
These days more people are adopting the remote work lifestyle. Biophilic design can help us create a balanced, more productive, and inspiring home-work environment.
- Supports cognitive function
- Supports physical and psychological health
- Increases productivity
- Increases creativity
The impact of Biophilic Design goes beyond only its aesthetic qualities. Biophilic Design is exceptionally beneficial when it comes to creating a healthy living and working environment. Green infrastructure can help decrease CO2 emissions, boost the biodiversity of plants and wildlife and even regulate the temperature of buildings.
While biophilic design can be incorporated into any type of living space, it is particularly important in urban areas, where people may have limited access to nature. Incorporating natural elements into the built environment can help to reduce the negative impacts of city living and provide a much-needed respite from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Overall, biophilic design has the potential to significantly improve the quality of life for people living in the built environment. By incorporating natural elements into the design of living spaces, we can create an environment that is healthier, more sustainable, and more enjoyable to live in.
So next time you feel overwhelmed or disconnected, consider bringing a little bit of nature into your environment. Whether it's a potted plant on your desk or a nature-filled courtyard in your office building, the benefits of biophilic design are undeniable. Let's embrace our connection to the natural world and design spaces that support our health and well-being!
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