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How can biophilic design impact an interior space?

For those of us working in an office environment full-time, we spend approximately 90% of our time indoors. With this, there is a growing emphasis on enhancing health and wellness in the built environment. The wellness of employees is particularly important to business owners, since their success heavily relies on it. While mobile technology has its advantages, it has also made it difficult for humans to unwind and relax naturally. Enter, biophilia, and further, biophilic design.

What is Biophilia?

The term biophilia originally came from Edward O. Wilson who wrote a book in 1984 titled “Biophilia”.

The book refers to the human desire to connect with nature and other forms of life. The author defines this as "the urge to affiliate with other forms of life", which can be traced back to our genetic heritage of living off the land and requiring natural resources for survival, such as food, water, shelter and warmth. This concept is evidently attractive to us in our daily lives, as we gravitate towards natural landscapes, and environments as a place of calmness and refuge. This is typically to escape the pressures of urban life.

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What is Biophilic Design?

Biophilic design is the concept of creating interior spaces that are natural, relaxing, nurturing and inspiring to be in, encouraging productivity. It involves the inclusions of natural elements into design, through either the use of natural objects (timber, plants and water features), or through the indirect application of texture and natural forms and colours. The ultimate goal of biophilic design is to create a natural space that satisfies our innate attraction to nature, even in urban environments where we spend most of our time.

The benefits of biophilic design in office spaces:

With an average of 12.5 million working days lost each year nationally due to work-related stress, anxiety or depression, the impact of health and wellness on business has become increasingly apparent. More research is being conducted on how the working environment can not add pressure to the employee, rather enhancing their mental state and experience. Incorporating elements of nature into the workplace has been proved to reduce stress, resulting in fewer work absences and sick days, hence resulting in cost savings for businesses.


How to bring natural elements into the workplace:

Natural elements can be brought into the workplace in several effective ways that require minimal maintenance and do not occupy valuable floor space. One approach has been to include small bursts of plant life around the office and introduce natural timber linings or furniture to evoke a sense of ‘being in nature’. These elements tend to highlight a “retreat” area for employees where they can unwind, away from the busy work environment.

By using the wall and ceiling space, precious floor space is not interfered, and biophilia can be achieved with minimal, if any change to the floorplan of the area. For example, panels made from natural materials and textures, including timber varieties can be installed to walls and ceilings in endless patterns and configurations.

Unlike typical office plants, these features can be appreciated from afar, allowing employees to benefit from their calming effects without being in proximity.


To discover harmonious biophilia for your next project, reach out to discuss product and capability options SUPAWOOD has to offer.

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