Many of you know that I am an advocate for biophilic design. As a matter of fact, my design firm specializes in it. Most of the time with I mention biophilic design, I am asked the similar questions:
What is it? Why is it important? How does it help? Where do I use it? When can I start making changes?
I enjoy answering these questions because people soon realize that small changes can have a big impact on the way that they feel.
As a student, one of my favorite courses was called “Psychology of Interior Design”. Yes, you read that right. Whether we realize it or not, our interior surroundings have the ability to impact our psyche. Isn’t that amazing?!
I’ll go into detail about design psychology another day, but I wanted to mention it because it helps explain why biophilic design is so important.
Let’s answer the FAQ’s about biophilic design:
1. What is it?
Biophilic design gets its origin from biophilia. Biophilia is the belief that human beings are innately connected to nature. As we know, pretty much everything originates from nature, including the earliest of remedies. Biophilic design is the science of using the elements and principles of biophilia inside interior spaces to positively impact the people using those spaces.
2. Why is it important?
Biophilic design is incredibly important because most of us spend 95% of our time inside some type of built environment. I’m sure that number has gone up since COVID-19 has forced us to bunker down inside our homes. You’ve probably noticed the difference in how you feel when you stay inside for days versus when you spend a few moments outside. As a matter of fact, even at the height of the pandemic, it was still recommended that we go outside for brief moments (socially distanced and with masks, of course). Biophilic design brings those healing elements of nature inside your space.
3. How does it help?
Biophilic design is careful and intentional in making sure your interior spaces support your overall mental and physical health. No matter the space, incorporating the biophilic design has been proven to incredibly beneficial. For example, biophilic design accelerates healing times in hospitals, raises test scores in schools, and lowers stress levels in homes.
Massachusetts General Hospital Lunder Building - NBBJ
4. Where do I use it?
Pretty much anywhere! I always ask people what space do they use the most as it's often the best place to start and where you will experience the biggest difference first.
5. When can I start making changes?
The sooner the better! Especially, if you’ve grown tired of your current surroundings or if you’ve noticed that you don’t have an elements of nature in your space at all. If you have an office, are you feeling unproductive in that space? If you have clients or patients that come into your office, are they retaining the information you are sharing with them? Has your patient satisfaction gone down? Even in a pandemic, people are still people, and they still want to experience a warm and welcoming space when they visit.
I feel like this is a great place to add a disclaimer. If you are experiencing any serious situations like suicidal thoughts, struggles with loneliness or isolation, please reach out to a health professional. You are not alone, and the world needs you. Biophilic design improves overall physical and mental wellbeing, but it is in no way an anecdote for serious mental health concerns that only a trained physician can help with.