Updated: Aug 26
WHAT IS BIOPHILIA?
The word itself means life (bio) and love for (philia), so the term denotes humans deep natural affinity to be with nature. Biophilic design looks at how we can integrate nature into architecture, interiors and the man-made world around us. It allows us to enhance our urban environment by incorporating natural elements.
RECONNECT WITH NATURE
Introducing nature back into the indoors can greatly improve air quality, enhance
mood, cognitive function and so much more. With research indicating that the average person spends 80 - 90% of their life indoors, introducing nature into these dwellings allows us to still benefit from nature. A study referenced on live science. com found that “Plant-filled rooms contain up to 60% fewer airborne moulds and bacteria than rooms without plants.” Additionally, a study conducted in Texas, comprised of 450 office workers found that those who worked in an office with windows and plants were over 30% more content and satisfied in their work environment compared to those without either. Numerous more studies support the idea that nature and plants are calming for people and allow us to reconnect with nature even in our urban environments.
BIOPHILIC DESIGN AND REDUCING STRESS
The world health organisation has classified stress as the “health epidemic of the 21st Century”. Mentalhealth.org conducted studies showing 74% of the UK population felt overwhelmed with stress in the last year. In conjunction, studies conducted by the Journal of Physiological Anthropology show that plants have the ability to reduce stress through our interaction with them, such as smelling and touching. Additionally, another study conducted in Japan looked at stress indicator levels, such as blood pressure and pulse, for office workers. It looked at the effects of having plants in the workspace and found after 4 weeks of introducing plants that the participants stress indicators had reduced by 27%. This, with a multitude of other studies
shows just how impactful it can be having biophilic elements in our urban environments.
IMPROVING PRODUCTIVITY WITH BIOPHILIC DESIGN
Plants have been shown to boost productivity and improve both concentration and memory retention. One study conducted by Exeter
University found that having indoor plants improved productivity, concentration and well-being of office staff by 47%. Within that same study, they found that simply being around plants could increase workers memory retention by 20%. Furthermore, research looking at education facilities and plants found students working 20 - 25% more efficiently, with improved test results and reduced agitation in those who had ADD and ADHD. With studies showing these results, it makes sense to incorporate biophilic design not just in restaurants and cafés but also offices, homes and schools.