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Embracing Nature: The Benefits of Biophilic Design

When we think of biophilic design, buildings exploding with greenery often come to mind. However, this design philosophy is more than just the esthetics you can see. It's a transformative process that creates a profound connection between humans and the natural environment. In his 1973 book,"The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness," German social psychologist Erich Fromm coined the term "biophilia" as "the passionate love of life and of all that is alive." Today, biophilic design is gaining attention, as it offers visual appeal along with a myriad of benefits.

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Benefits of Biophilic Design

The benefits of biophilic design go beyond visual aesthetics. This nature-based design style positively influences mental well-being and productivity. For instance, exposure to natural elements like plants and natural light has been linked to reduced stress levels and improved mental health. Strong, routine connections with nature provide opportunities for mental breaks, where our higher cognitive functions can unconsciously relax and restore. As a result, the restored brain’s ability to focus is better than someone with fatigued cognitive resources. Increasingly, employers are adopting biophilic design into their office spaces, as research shows that employees working in environments with natural elements report improved focus, attention, and cognitive performance. In a nutshell, productive employees are happy employees. 

Creating a Biophilic Environment

Biophilic design happens through both direct and indirect experiences with nature, according to Stephen R. Kellert and Elizabeth F. Calabrese, authors of 'The Practice of Biophilic Design' (2015). Direct experiences involve elements like natural light, fresh air, and the presence of plants. Indirect experiences represent nature through natural materials, images, or patterns found in the natural world. The purpose of the space and how individuals experience it also plays a role in biophilic design. Common spaces incorporated in this design style offer a place of refuge, mystery, or exploration.

Direct Contact with Nature

Fresh air: Open windows whenever possible. This simple act brings fresh air into your space, activating the senses of feel and smell. The sounds of nature, like the gentle wind blowing through the trees or birds chirping, further ground you in the natural ecosystem.

Green spaces: Incorporating the principles of biophilic design doesn’t mean you have to turn your space into a jungle. Even introducing one plant into a room can be beneficial. Of course, you can focus your plan on natural plants; but plant imagery or plant colors will also produce similar effects. Some live houseplants can also filter toxins from the air, improving air quality.

Natural light: Open curtains or shades throughout the day to maximize natural lighting. If you don’t have natural light, create a lighting scheme with different elements of diffused light rather than relying on harsh overhead lighting.

Indirect Contact with Nature

Natural materials: Use natural materials, such as hardwood or stone floors, to connect to the earth. 

Sounds and scents: Complement the visual experience of nature with a nonvisual one, such as a playlist of nature sounds, a natural-smelling candle, or an essential oil diffuser.

Water features: The presence of water can bring a sense of tranquility to an interior space. Install a small fountain on a countertop or outside near an open window.

Patterns that mimic nature: Adding patterns that mimic nature, such as wallpaper or fabric with wave-like or plant-like shapes, is an easy way to incorporate biophilic design in indoor spaces. Other options include recreating shelves from rock or stone material, hardwood flooring with grains and knots, and other things that naturally occur.

Biophilic design is not limited to a specific aesthetic; rather it’s a holistic approach that relies on the human connection to nature. By incorporating natural elements, we enhance the visual appeal of our surroundings and promote mental well-being, productivity, and a sense of tranquility.

At Haute Plank, our slogan, 'Nature. Delivered.' is more than a marketing strategy. Each of our products are responsibly curated and sourced, offering our clients a true sense bringing the outdoors in. Contact us today to discuss how our sustainable engineered hardwood flooring products can help you improve the esthetic appeal of your designs while integrating the benefits of natural materials into the built environment.


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