The ever-evolving world of design has brought us to the exciting forefront of the intersection between nature and indoor spaces, specifically in the context of office environments. More and more, designers are turning to biophilic design as an innovative method to bring about well-being, productivity, and an aesthetically pleasing ambiance in the workplace.
But what exactly is biophilic design, and how can it be incorporated into office furniture? This article aims to delve into this concept and provide a roadmap on how we can integrate nature into our office spaces, right down to the reception desks.
Understanding Biophilic Design
Before we explore how to apply this concept to office furniture, it’s essential to comprehend what biophilic design is. Biophilic design is based on the concept of biophilia, a term popularised by the Harvard biologist and passionate conservationist, Edward O. Wilson.
Biophilia refers to humans’ inherent attraction to nature and natural processes. Biophilic design is, therefore, the act of incorporating aspects of nature into the built environment to foster this connection and harness its many benefits.
Biophilic design principles include direct experiences of nature such as natural light or greenery, and indirect experiences of nature such as images of nature or natural materials.
The Benefits of Biophilic Design
Research shows that integrating biophilic design elements in workplaces can significantly improve the employees’ well-being and productivity. Exposure to natural light, for example, is linked with improved mood and alertness, and reduced fatigue. Natural elements like plants can reduce stress levels and increase job satisfaction. By integrating these elements into office furniture design, we create a healthier and more productive workplace.
Incorporating Biophilic Design in Office Furniture
The principles of biophilic design can be beautifully and practically incorporated into office furniture in several ways:
- Materials: One of the most direct ways to incorporate biophilic design is through the choice of materials. Using natural materials such as wood, bamboo, or stone in office furniture like desks, chairs, shelves and tables can create a sense of connection with nature. Additionally, finishes and colours inspired by nature can further enhance this effect.
- Plants: Integrating plant life into office furniture is another effective way to bring nature indoors. This could include having potted plants on desks or built-in planters in storage units. A green wall can also be a dramatic and inspiring addition to the office environment.
- Natural Light: Designing office furniture with a consideration for natural light sources can enhance the connection with nature. Glass-topped tables or desks can help to distribute natural light, creating a bright and energising environment.
- Shapes & Patterns: Incorporating natural shapes and patterns into the design of office furniture can subtly evoke the feeling of nature. For instance, a desk may feature an organic, wave-like shape or a pattern inspired by tree bark or leaf veins.
Case in point: Reception Desks
Reception desks are often the first point of contact anyone has with an office – this makes them a perfect canvas for expressing your commitment to biophilic design.
A reception desk made from reclaimed wood, for instance, not only has a beautiful natural aesthetic but also carries an important message about sustainability. Incorporating a living wall behind the desk or built-in planters can also add a vibrant touch of nature. Allowing for plenty of natural light to fall onto the desk can create a welcoming and serene ambiance.
To make a strong biophilic statement, consider incorporating organic forms and nature-inspired textures into the design of the desk itself. The curves of a river, the patterns of a leaf, or the texture of a tree bark can all provide inspiration.
Incorporating biophilic design into office furniture is more than just an aesthetic choice; it’s an investment in well-being and productivity
As we continue to spend a large part of our lives indoors, particularly in the workplace, fostering a connection with nature becomes more and more crucial. By integrating natural elements, from the materials of our reception desks to the plants on our tables, we can create office spaces that not only look beautiful but also support our natural affinity for nature.