How a biophilic design will transform your office 


When the American sociobiologist Edward O. Wilson recognised urbanization was having a detrimental effect on mental health in 1984, he developed biophilia to address the disconnect between humans and nature.

In recent years, there has been an increasing influence of biophilic office designs creeping into workplaces all over the world. The revolution has been prompted by a series of studies that reveal office environments are not good for the workers that inhabit them.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) predicts that stress-related illness such as mental health disorders and cardiovascular disease will be the two most significant contributors to work-related illnesses next year.  

Studies have shown that access to outside views of natural settings together with windows that invite in sunlight have a significant impact in the wellbeing, energy and productivity levels of employees. 

Skylights and glass walls can increase light and allow people access to outside views, whereas green walls, rooftop gardens and plenty of interior plants increase greenery which adds to the visual appeal of the office. Thanks to numerous benefits, the biophilic revolution is well under way. 

A Remedy for Sick Building Syndrome

Poor air quality is another contributing factor to ill-health amongst office workers. Toxins from furniture polish, chemicals from cleaning agents and fumes from outdoors have been found to cause “sick building syndrome”.

In 1989, NASA’s Clean Air Study found a plethora of common indoor plants neutralize the effects of sick building syndrome by removing toxic agents and providing better air quality. 

Elements of Nature

Biophilic office designs should not simply rely on natural light and toxin-free air. They should incorporate living plants, and an abundance of natural materials such as wood, stone, glass and sand together with earthy tones like brown, green, and light blue.

Natural elements that invoke the movement and warmth of the environment have an impact as visual features. Moreover, they promote emotional stimulation and reduce stress in high-tension environments. 

A prime example of incorporating elements of nature are vertical wall gardens. Green wall projects create a partition which includes an automated irrigations system with remote monitoring whilst plants act as a living walls which double as a natural air-filtration system that improves oxygen levels. 

Expanding into the outdoors

As well as bringing the outdoors indoors, interior office designers have been looking for ways that utilise outdoor areas in a variety of innovative designs. What we’re starting to see are more instances of rooftop gardens, balconies with plants and seating arrangements, and car parks transformed into gardens complete with park benches. 

Outdoor spaces not only add a welcoming extension on to your office space, but they also help to stimulate employees and improve mood and job satisfaction. As a result, companies benefit from consistent levels of performance and staff retention. 

The modern workforce looks for employers that provide an eye-catching setting they want to spend their days in and prefer to work for companies that care about their health and wellbeing. Biophilic office designs satisfy both conditions – and can have a positive impact on your bottom line to boot.