Amazing open space with living wall and curving staircase
Biophilic Design

Benefits Of Biophilic Design: Improve Your Health and Wellbeing

In the world of design, we often find ourselves seeking inspiration from nature’s beauty. As the saying goes, ‘a breath of fresh air can do wonders.’ And that’s exactly what biophilic design aims to achieve. Drawing on our innate connection with the natural world, this innovative approach brings the outdoors in, creating spaces that not only look stunning but also promote our well-being.

If you’ve spent any time working in a grey office building with fluorescent lighting, you know the palpable sense of relief and relaxation you get when you step outside into the fresh air and natural light. Or if you live in a city and take a weekend break in the country, the relaxing effect of sitting out on a deck looking out at trees, grass, a lake or a beach. Biophilic design is harnessing that positive impact to use in your daily spaces, wherever they are located.

Through a blend of houseplants, natural light, and thoughtful design, biophilic design has been proven to have numerous psychological and physiological benefits. Let’s dive into the research and explore the remarkable advantages of incorporating nature into our built environments.

Key Takeaways

  • Biophilic design has numerous psychological benefits, including improved mental health and emotional well-being.
  • Biophilic design can also offer environmental benefits, such as increased energy efficiency and reduced carbon footprint.
  • Incorporating natural elements like natural light and colors in design can have a positive impact on cognitive function and overall well-being.
  • Biophilic design has been successfully applied in various settings, including office spaces, urban areas, healthcare environments, and retail spaces, with noticeable benefits in each.

Introduction

You’ll be amazed at the numerous benefits of incorporating biophilic design into your space. Biophilic design is a concept that emphasizes the importance of incorporating natural elements into the built environment.

By integrating biophilic design principles, such as the use of natural light, green spaces, and biophilic elements, we can create spaces that have a positive impact on our well-being.

One of the main benefits of biophilic design is its ability to improve our mental and physical health. Research has shown that exposure to nature, even in a simulated form, can reduce stress levels and improve cognitive function. By incorporating natural elements into our spaces, we can create a sense of calm and relaxation, which can have a profound effect on our overall well-being.

In addition to its impact on our health, biophilic design also has numerous environmental benefits. By incorporating green spaces, such as gardens or living walls, we can improve air quality and reduce energy consumption. Studies have shown that access to nature can also increase productivity and creativity, making biophilic design a valuable addition to any workspace.

Overall, the benefits of biophilic design are vast. From improving our mental health to reducing our environmental impact, incorporating natural elements into our spaces can have a transformative effect on our lives.

So why wait? Start incorporating biophilic design principles into your space today and reap the countless benefits of a natural environment.

From Modernism to Biophilia

The evolution of architectural trends from the stark modernism of the 1960s-1980s to the emergence of biophilic design in contemporary times has been remarkable. During the blunt modernism era, the predominant use of angular concrete shapes created cold and unwelcoming spaces that lacked the understanding of how the built environment influences human well-being. These structures isolated people from nature, and as a result they hindered creativity, productivity, and overall health. The absence of natural elements like greenery and sunlight left occupants disconnected from the natural world. 

However, the rise of biophilic design in the 1980s introduced a transformative approach to architecture. With a deeper understanding of the relationship between human psychology and nature, designers began incorporating natural elements into interior and exterior spaces. Living walls, water features, and the integration of organic textures became hallmarks of this new design philosophy. Biophilic design purposefully tapped into our innate affinity for nature, resulting in environments that fostered harmony and well-being. Today, we witness a renaissance in design, where the power of nature is embraced to promote sustainable architecture and enriching human experiences.

The main aspects of biophilic design

The rise of biophilic design is a response to the growing recognition of the benefits that the natural world can bring to our built environments. Biophilic design involves incorporating elements such as water features, fresh air, green walls, and other biophilic design elements into interior spaces to create a more natural and soothing environment. Here are the main areas of biophilic design which can bring nature and the natural world inside; we’ll look at their benefits in this article:

  • Patterns, shapes and colours found in nature
  • Natural light and views
  • Plants and nature
  • Water features

The wellbeing superhero? Houseplants

Houseplants have been shown to have a positive impact on our mental well-being. Numerous studies have demonstrated the psychological benefits of incorporating houseplants into our living spaces. One of the key findings is that being in the presence of plants can lower our heart rate and reduce feelings of stress. Research has also revealed that having houseplants in our environment can lead to positive changes in our cognitive performance.

Studies have shown that being around plants can significantly improve our attention span and concentration, helping to combat mental fatigue. In fact, test results have indicated that individuals who work in an environment with plants tend to have better cognitive function compared to those without greenery. The presence of houseplants can also enhance our mood and overall sense of well-being.

The human body has a natural affinity for nature, and incorporating houseplants into our indoor spaces helps create a biophilic environment. This connection to nature has been found to have numerous positive effects on our mental health. By bringing nature indoors, we can create a soothing and calming atmosphere that promotes relaxation and reduces stress.

In conclusion, the psychological benefits of houseplants are well-documented. Incorporating greenery into our living spaces can have a profound impact on our mental well-being, improving cognitive performance, reducing stress, and enhancing our overall mood. So, why not bring some houseplants into your home and reap the many benefits they have to offer?

The psychological benefits of natural light

Natural light has been shown to have a positive impact on our mental well-being. When it comes to biophilic design, incorporating natural light into indoor spaces is crucial for creating a healthy and productive environment. Research has consistently demonstrated the psychological benefits of natural light, making it an essential element in office design and urban areas.

One of the primary reasons why natural light is beneficial is because it fulfills a fundamental human need for connection to nature. Our bodies and minds have evolved to thrive in natural environments, and natural light helps to bring a piece of the outdoors into our indoor spaces. It has been found that exposure to natural light can improve mood, reduce stress levels, and increase productivity.

Incorporating natural light into office design is particularly important, as it has been shown to enhance employee well-being and job satisfaction. Studies have found that workers in offices with ample natural light experience fewer health issues, such as headaches and eyestrain. Furthermore, access to natural light has been linked to improved sleep patterns and circadian rhythms, leading to better overall health.

In urban areas, where access to nature is often limited, incorporating natural light into the built environment becomes even more important. By incorporating natural features such as skylights and large windows, urban spaces can create a sense of connection to the natural world, improving the well-being of residents and visitors.

In conclusion, natural light plays a critical role in biophilic design, offering numerous psychological benefits to individuals in indoor spaces. Incorporating natural light into office design and urban areas not only fulfills our fundamental human need for connection to nature but also promotes mental well-being and productivity.

Reducing stress with natural colours

As we discussed earlier, the psychological benefits of natural light are well-documented in the context of biophilic design. Now, let’s explore another aspect of biophilic design that has a profound impact on our mental wellbeing: the psychological benefits of natural colors.

When it comes to biophilic principles, incorporating natural materials and colors is essential. Natural colors, such as shades of green, blue, and brown, evoke a sense of calmness and tranquility. Research has shown that exposure to these colors can reduce stress levels, enhance cognitive function, and improve overall mood.

Incorporating natural colors into the patterns of biophilic design has a positive effect on our mental wellbeing. Whether it’s through the use of biophilic design features like living walls or the strategic placement of plants, the presence of natural colors creates a connection to nature that is vital for our mental health.

Additionally, natural colors can also have a positive impact on indoor air quality. Using natural materials in the design of our spaces can help reduce the levels of indoor air pollutants, promoting a healthier environment for us to thrive in.

As the field of biophilic design continues to grow, there is an increasing body of research supporting the positive effects of natural colors on our mental wellbeing. Incorporating these colors into our built environments is a practical and effective way to enhance our overall quality of life.

Natural shapes and curves lower stress levels

Explore the positive impact on our mental wellbeing when we incorporate natural shapes and curves into our surroundings. As humans, we have an innate connection to nature, and incorporating natural elements into our built environment can have profound psychological benefits.

When we surround ourselves with natural materials and embrace the principles of biophilic design, we create spaces that mimic the natural world. These spaces can promote a sense of calm and relaxation, reducing stress and anxiety. Natural shapes and curves found in plant life and green areas are visually appealing and can evoke feelings of harmony and tranquility.

Research has shown that exposure to natural shapes and curves can improve cognitive function and creativity. In open workspaces that incorporate these elements, employees report increased focus and productivity. Natural shapes and curves also have a positive impact on our overall wellbeing, promoting a sense of connection to the natural world and fostering a greater appreciation for the beauty and complexity of nature.

By incorporating natural shapes and curves into our built environment, we can create spaces that support our mental wellbeing and enhance our quality of life. Whether it’s in our homes, workplaces, or public spaces, embracing the beauty of natural processes and open spaces can have a profound impact on our mental health and happiness.

Physiological health benefits of biophilic design

Moving on from the psychological benefits, let’s now delve into the physiological health benefits of biophilic design. This design approach not only impacts our mental well-being but also has a positive effect on our physical health.

One of the key factors contributing to these benefits is the activation of our parasympathetic systems. Biophilic design, with its incorporation of natural elements, such as large windows that provide ample views of the outdoors, helps stimulate our parasympathetic nervous system. This activation promotes relaxation, reduces stress, and lowers heart rate and blood pressure.

By bringing nature into the built environment, biophilic design provides a space that mimics the natural world. This nature of the space has a profound impact on our immune system. Exposure to natural stimuli, such as plants, sunlight, and fresh air, strengthens our immune response, making us less susceptible to illnesses.

To further illustrate the physiological health benefits of biophilic design, consider the following:

  • Increased airflow and ventilation due to the presence of plants and open windows
  • Reduced levels of stress hormones, such as cortisol, leading to improved cardiovascular health
  • Enhanced overall well-being and productivity of building occupants

As we continue to explore the benefits of biophilic design, it becomes clear that incorporating natural systems into our built environment is not only aesthetically pleasing but also crucial for our physical health and well-being.

Increase productivity and creativity

By incorporating elements of nature into the built environment, biophilic design has been shown to enhance creativity and productivity. The love of nature is a deeply ingrained human instinct, and when we incorporate natural elements into the design of spaces, it has a profound impact on our well-being and cognitive abilities.

In urban design, biophilic elements such as green roofs, vertical gardens, and natural lighting can be incorporated to create a more natural and soothing environment. This not only improves the aesthetic appeal of the space but also has a positive impact on the mental and emotional well-being of individuals. For example, incorporating elements of nature into a home office can help reduce stress and enhance focus and creativity.

Additionally, biophilic design can also be applied to retail spaces to create a more inviting and immersive experience for customers. Retail spaces that incorporate natural elements, such as plants, water features, and natural materials, have been shown to increase customer satisfaction and spending.

Different design styles can incorporate biophilic design patterns in various ways. For example, modern and minimalist designs can benefit from the use of natural materials and patterns, while traditional designs can incorporate elements such as indoor gardens or natural textures.

Furthermore, biophilic design encourages physical activity by incorporating green spaces and outdoor areas. This can have a positive impact on productivity, as physical activity has been shown to enhance cognitive abilities and improve mood.

In conclusion, incorporating elements of nature into the built environment through biophilic design has numerous benefits for creativity and productivity. By embracing our love of nature and incorporating biophilic design patterns, we can create spaces that not only enhance our well-being but also inspire and energize us.

Biophilic design helps you get well sooner

The incorporation of natural elements in healthcare environments has been proven to positively impact patient recovery (in fact it was this aspect that first made me aware of the concept of biophilic design). Numerous case studies have shown the benefits of biophilic design in healthcare settings, including improved patient outcomes and reduced recovery times.

One key aspect of biophilic design is the use of natural sounds, such as flowing water from fountains or recordings of birdsong. These sounds have been found to have a calming effect on patients, reducing stress and anxiety levels. Additionally, the presence of water features has been shown to improve air quality by increasing humidity levels and filtering out pollutants.

Incorporating biophilic design principles into healthcare facilities can also have a positive impact on energy costs. The use of natural lighting, for example, can reduce the need for artificial lighting during the day, resulting in lower energy consumption. This not only benefits the environment but also reduces operating costs for healthcare providers.

Furthermore, the inherent connection between humans and nature has been shown to have a positive effect on mental and emotional well-being. Patients surrounded by natural elements, such as plants and greenery, experience improved mood and increased feelings of well-being, which can aid in the recovery process.

In conclusion, biophilic design has a significant impact on patient recovery in healthcare environments. By incorporating natural elements, such as water features and plants, healthcare facilities can create healing spaces that promote better outcomes for patients. Additionally, the use of biophilic design principles can contribute to energy efficiency and a more sustainable approach to healthcare design.

Growing scientific evidence to support biophilic design

Imagine how your healthcare environment can be enhanced by the growing scientific evidence that supports the incorporation of natural elements. This evidence highlights the benefits of biophilic design in healthcare settings, specifically the use of natural materials and the importance of creating a connection with nature.

Studies have shown that incorporating elements of nature in healthcare environments can have a positive impact on patients’ well-being and recovery rates. For example, research has found that patients who have a view of nature from their hospital room experience reduced stress levels and faster recovery times compared to those without a view. Additionally, the use of natural materials, such as wood and plants, can create a calming and soothing atmosphere, promoting a sense of comfort and relaxation.

Furthermore, biophilic design has been linked to increased energy levels and productivity in healthcare professionals. By incorporating natural elements into workspaces, such as greenery and natural light, employees experience improved mood and overall job satisfaction. This, in turn, can lead to reduced sick leave and increased productivity.

Direct contact with nature, such as through indoor gardens or outdoor spaces, has also been shown to have positive effects on patients’ mental and physical health. Research has indicated that exposure to natural environments can reduce anxiety, improve mood, and even lower blood pressure.

Incorporating biophilic design principles into healthcare settings can also involve avoiding rigid, straight lines and instead incorporating organic shapes and patterns. This helps to create a more natural and inviting environment, which can positively impact patients’ overall experience and well-being.

In conclusion, the growing scientific evidence supports the integration of natural elements in healthcare environments through biophilic design. This approach has been shown to have numerous benefits, including improved patient recovery rates, increased energy levels and productivity in healthcare professionals, and enhanced overall well-being. By incorporating elements of nature and using natural materials, healthcare settings can create a more soothing and comforting environment, ultimately improving the overall healthcare experience for patients and healthcare professionals alike.

Strength of our evolutionary connection with nature

Our evolutionary connection with nature is a powerful force that influences our well-being and overall health. As human beings, we have evolved over millions of years in close proximity to nature, and this deep-rooted connection continues to shape our physical and mental well-being.

Research has shown that being in natural environments can have a positive impact on our health, reducing stress levels, improving mood, and enhancing cognitive function. Here are four ways in which our evolutionary connection with nature benefits us:

  1. Restoration and stress reduction: Spending time in natural environments has been found to reduce stress and promote relaxation. Exposure to nature has been shown to lower heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol levels, leading to reduced stress and improved overall well-being.
  2. Enhanced cognitive function: Interacting with nature can improve cognitive function, including attention span, memory, and problem-solving skills. Nature’s rich sensory stimuli and restorative qualities can help rejuvenate and sharpen our mental capacities.
  3. Improved physical health: Being in nature encourages physical activity, which is crucial for maintaining good health. Engaging in outdoor activities such as walking, hiking, or gardening not only promotes physical fitness but also helps prevent chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular problems.
  4. Emotional well-being: Nature has a profound impact on our emotional well-being. Research has shown that exposure to natural environments can reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and improve overall mood. Simply being in nature can evoke positive emotions, promote feelings of awe and wonder, and provide an escape from the daily stresses of life.

In conclusion, our evolutionary connection with nature has significant benefits for our well-being and health. Incorporating biophilic design principles into our built environment can help us reconnect with nature and harness its positive effects.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the benefits of biophilic design are undeniable. As humans, we have an innate need to connect and create interaction with nature. Until recently, most of our interior spaces, particularly large communal buildings like hospitals, universities and workplaces, had little to no focus on natural light and greenery. But numerous studies have shown that incorporating elements of nature into our built environment can have a profound impact on our well-being; research which began by looking at office space and productivity can now be applied to all of our interior spaces; there are real tangible benefits to be found by adopting these ideas – we can create spaces that aren’t just beautiful, but which enhance our physical and mental health, creativity, and productivity.