Biophilic Design: More Than Aesthetics
Humans evolved for more than two thousand years outside, in open, airy spaces, and nooks and crannies to retreat to. These more private areas provided places of respite for greater focus. If you take a moment to consider what spaces you prefer to retreat to when you are working, or when you require focus to complete a complex task, you’ll realize the common thread to our ancestors and something innate to us all: the desire to be in and interact with nature.
In fact, interacting with nature isn’t just a desire, it is critical to our well-being. Many researchers have shared this conclusion and even coined a phrase to capture the feeling and longing for nature: biophilia. Design that incorporates natural elements, while beautiful, brings with it more positives than just aesthetics: “Biophilic design elements are shown to reduce stress, increase cognitive performance, improve healing, and positively affect emotion, mood, and preference.” (Browning et al., 2014).
If you wish to embrace biophilic design, we can help. Here are 4 effective ways to go back to nature and bring biophilia into your design.
1. Airy Acoustics
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention how improving acoustics is a simple and effective way to incorporate biophilic design. Walls and closures cause echoes and reverberation that cut through our focus. Design that improves acoustics and immerses us in a space that captures the essence of being outside should be a primary goal, and an easy one to achieve. PET is a natural and versatile material that can be formed into products for the wall, ceiling or even light fixtures or space dividers, all of which are easy on the eyes and ears.
2. Natural or Natural-Like
Nothing can quite replace natural light, but a properly lit space can have a large impact on how we feel about it. Think about incorporating well-distributed, lower temperature lights, in warm and calming light fixture shapes and colors. Adding dimmer switches is another consideration, as they would allow you to shift and transition the lighting within your space, mimicking the shifting brightness of the sun.
3. Bring The Outside In
Adding environmental features, like plants, organic textiles and textures or furniture or fixtures with natural finishes is at the cornerstone of biophilic design. When natural plants are not feasible, consider adding natural materials like wood or wood-like products, colors such as greens and brown, and shapes such as flowers or leaves.
Example: Acoustical Wood Planks
Stratawood is an acoustical product with wood plank front and PET felt backing. This combination of materials accomplishes two elements of biophilic design: it allows us to bring a natural element into the space while also addressing unwanted echo and reverberation.
Insider Tip: We now carry 13 different wood grains to choose from.
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Woodgrain printed PET felt can accomplish a similar, Earthy look while addressing the soundscape.
4. Organic Shapes and Colors
Consider incorporating shapes and colors straight from the natural environments including leaf and flower patterns. Wall treatments or space division panels are great options where you can incorporate a little bit of natural inspiration. Bonus points for selecting colors that also appear in nature.
Flowers can have a very calming effect on our psychology and overall health. Consider incorporating cut bouquets or potted plants into your design. Another option is a custom piece of art or a custom-printed panel with a natural design of your choosing. Learn about our printing capabilities here.