Why Is Sustainable, Biophilic Design Still Going Strong In The Commercial Space?
Generally, commercial buildings and spaces are assumed to be antagonistic when it comes to nature and its offerings. Living in a concrete jungle, high-rise buildings and commercial projects are often assumed to be threatening to the natural environment around us. However, many organisational workspaces have taken the initiative of incorporating nature in their designs via sustainable, biophilic designs.
Biophilia refers to the love one has for life and living things. Biophilic designs are extensions of the same love for nature. A biophilic design is a type of design that incorporates nature and its elements while designing interiors. It is a way to stay connected with the natural environment while incorporating modern elements of design.
A lot of commercial spaces use biophilic interior designs to develop a symbiotic relationship with mother nature. Some of the biggest industry tech giants use biophilic designs in their interiors to stay in touch with the natural environment. Such designs help people working within commercial spaces receive the benefits of nature, such as fresh air, sunlight, cool breeze, and much more. At the same time, biophilic designs allow commercial projects to nurture nature instead of working against it.
Some of the most common traits and elements of a biophilic design include:
Use of natural materials
Incorporating plans in the designated space
Open and unrestricted airflow
Use of natural patterns and shapes
Architecture in sync with natural landscapes
Use of nature-based textures, shapes, and colours
Using water as an integral part of interiors
Biophilic designs may include direct use of natural elements or analogues of the same. For using direct natural elements, designers often choose to use natural vegetation, animals, natural light, shadows, and more within the spaces designed by them. On the other hand, natural analogues involve the use of natural objects, colours, shapes, and patterns in the furniture, furnishings, and overall décor of the space.
Most commercial spaces involve a number of people working long hours under artificial conditions using man-made machines. While we live in the age of digitization, it is important for humans to feel the touch of nature once in a while.
Sustainable, biophilic designs allow people working in commercial spaces to have a breath of fresh air (quite literally!) while working, thereby providing them with a conducive work environment.
After struggling with a global pandemic that forced us all to stay indoors for several months, it is healthy for human beings to reconnect with nature instead of working behind closed doors with no ventilation for hours.
Here are some of the major reasons why sustainable, biophilic designs are still popular in commercial spaces:
Whether you put a single potted plant inside a cabin or create a miniature lake with pebbled stones, biophilic commercial designs often use sustainable materials. As most (if not all) sources of such designs are natural, you do not need to worry about any of these elements harming the environment.
Creating biophilic interior designs for commercial spaces assures you that you are not polluting the environment. In fact, some of these designs allow you to cater to the nature around you and help it flourish.
People often choose to go out for a walk in the garden and take a barefoot stroll on natural grass when they feel stressed out. While working in conventional workplaces, employees generally go out for a walk and some fresh air to take a break or after a stressful meeting. Biophilic commercial designs aim at bringing these elements to the interiors.
Plants have always been known for bringing mental peace and stability to individuals. Incorporating nature in commercial designs helps you uplift the moods of your employees and relieve them from stress and anxiety. Keeping your team members a little closer to nature can have a significant impact on their mental health and invigorate them to complete their work.
Moreover, as biophilic commercial designs involve bringing nature to the interiors, they tend to prolong energy, good mood, and sound mental health for the employees working in an organisation. This is always a sign of a conducive work environment.
As compared to conventional interior designs, creating biophilic designs offer greater creative freedom to designers while working in commercial spaces. This is because natural elements offer a range of different possibilities, patterns, and innovative approaches to designing interiors.
Depending on the area being designed, the personality of the company, and the preferences of the client, designers can mould different elements to suit the biophilic design being created specifically for the said organisation. There are a number of different combinations that can be used and patterns that can be innovated while using biophilic designs for commercial interiors.
Along with all the health and environmental benefits of biophilic commercial design, it is important to address the fact that it really adds to the aesthetic appeal of the space! Nature is beautiful by itself and using its elements to design your office would only make your office look more beautiful.
Using biophilic design in commercial spaces often portrays contrast in a unique way, giving these spaces an exotic look. Incorporating elements like plants, pebbles, bamboo sticks, etc. makes a commercial building stand out amidst a concrete jungle!
Unlike most trends and fads, biophilic commercial designs are not short-lived. They often stand the test of time and only get more beautiful with time. Essentially, this is because nature never really gets old and out of fashion. Most biophilic designs age really well and provide longevity to the interiors of commercial spaces.
Unless you are using living elements like plants, you do not need to worry about the articles getting old over time. They retain their elegance for a long time, saving you all the toil and trouble that goes behind redesigning.
Instead of stepping outside the office to get some fresh air, biophilic designs allow employees to breathe fresh air indoors. The use of greenery and plants in commercial interiors allows you to improve the air quality of the concerned place.
It is common knowledge that plants absorb carbon dioxide to release oxygen, thereby purifying the air around them and making it fresher. Moreover, installing plants inside commercial spaces and providing them with natural light allows them to transpire through their leaves and makes the air around them more humid. This helps you deal with the issue of dry air without using any electrical appliance.
Plants are also known to absorb volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which include the chemicals added to domestic cleaning products, used in making carpets, and emitted from electrical appliances. This further enhances the quality of air around you and allows you and your team to work in a healthier environment.
Working in closed mechanical surroundings tends to exhaust people very soon, affecting their ability to give their best. If you make your employees work in an office where they can’t tell if it is day or night, their productivity is likely to take a hit.
Using biophilic designs for commercial interiors provides workers with a fresher and more comfortable environment to work in. With elements of nature around them, the world gets less “mechanical” and more organic for people to work. This allows your workers to give their best and increase their productivity.
One of the biggest reasons why sustainable biophilic designs are still going strong in the commercial space is that they help companies retain their valuable talent. After going through the catastrophic COVID crisis, employees around the world want a break from working within four concrete walls.
Incorporating natural elements in commercial interiors allows your employees to work in a comfortable and invigorating environment. This makes them genuinely motivated to come to work and engage themselves better. When you have high employee engagement, you do not need to worry about retaining talent within your organisation.
Along with ensuring the mental wellbeing of the workers, biophilic designs help you create a happier work environment. Nature makes people happy, cheerful, calm, and composed. When you have a small water fountain, a miniature lake, or plants as a part of your interior design, it enhances positive thinking, creativity, and motivation.
Using biophilic designs allows you to change the complete vibe of commercial space, making people there feel as if they are in touch with nature (irrespective of the scale at which you incorporate the natural elements).
We live in an age where the natural ecosystem is being destroyed in a plethora of different ways. From all kinds of pollution and deforestation to inadequate waste management and depletion of non-renewable resources, it is important to control the manner in which we are destroying the natural elements.
Biophilic designs allow you to help the natural ecosystem by using natural elements for creating innovative and sustainable interior designs. Instead of destroying nature by building commercial spaces, this approach allows corporations to integrate nature in the best ways possible. Sustainable biophilic designs facilitate healthy and fruitful co-existence between nature and humans without extensive depletion of natural resources.
When used in commercial spaces, biophilic designs need not be too expensive. As a lot of these designs make use of natural elements, they often cost less as compared to man-made articles and furnishings. You can easily incorporate biophilic designs for commercial interiors without spending a fortune for the same.
Moreover, biophilic designs do not always need to be implemented on a larger scale. You can follow a low-key approach and still avail yourself of all the benefits offered by these designs.
Here are a few ways in which you can use biophilic designs at a smaller scale without spending a lot of money:
This is the most basic way to go about using biophilic designs. If you want to incorporate these designs on a shoestring budget, you can simply get some potted plants and place them at strategic places within the concerned commercial space.
It is common for companies to keep potted plants on the balconies, hallways, cafeterias, and a range of other locations. This is arguably the most cost-effective way of using biophilic designs for commercial spaces. You can, of course, incorporate potted plants in your interior designs in an innovative way to enhance the aesthetics of the place.
The use of natural light is one of the most overlooked aspects of biophilic interior designs. While you incorporate natural elements within a commercial space, make sure that the area is lit well by natural light. Design interiors in a way that people working therein can get access to enough natural light throughout the day.
Using water in innovative ways is another cost-effective way of incorporating biophilic designs in commercial spaces. If you do not want to go overboard with the money, you can get small table-top fountains and place them at suitable places within the premises.
As these fountains mimic the sounds of a natural spring or a waterfall, it has a calming effect on the minds of people working at the office. Along with improving memory and reducing stress, implementing such articles would also help in lowering the blood pressure of your workers.
Without spending a lot, you can replace some of the furniture at your office with articles made of bamboo or wood. This would give an exotic look to the space and add a touch of nature to your office premises.
The Final Word
Sustainable biophilic designs are still going strong in the commercial space and are likely to remain so in the future due to their benefits. This approach to commercial interior design allows you to work for nature instead of against it while building commercial spaces.