People have been going far and beyond to create gardens within any space given, particularly in urban areas. We like to call them our sanctuary, a private pieces of nature, green oasis etc. We never stop to wonder, what it is we enjoy about being in a garden and where the feeling comes from.
What is Biophilia?
Edward O. Wilson hypothesized in his book Biophilia that each human has a tendency to connect with nature and defines this phenomenon as “the urge to affiliate with other forms of life”. It was first introduced by Erich Fromm who used it to describe the innate tendency of being attracted to all that is alive and vital. The term itself means the love of life or living systems. Fromm looked for roots of biophilia in biology. For centuries different scholars used similar concepts to explain a connection between humans and natural ecosystems, animals, as well as other humans.
What is behind the modern talk of Biophilia?
The reasons why today’s society is talking about biophilia is in fact, the state of modern humanity. The history teaches us about the days when the human population was affected by outbreaks of different diseases. We have managed to find a cure for most of these and keep them under control. However, according to the World Health Organization, the end of this decade will hit us with completely different stats. The new-age killer is very wise. Apparently, the illnesses caused by stress, such as cardiovascular disease, as well as mental health disorders impose the biggest threat to the society. Incorporating nature and natural elements in the human environment is noted to reduce stress. This is exactly the reason for biophilia now.
Are biophilic design and green architecture the same thing?
A straightforward answer to this question is no, they are not the same. However, they can be related. Green, architecture is sustainable and environmentally friendly. The mere idea of rejoicing in helping nature and the planet could be rooted in biophilia, however, the design itself has many more elements. A sustainable home could be a well-insulated house, with geothermal heating and solar panels. While these are all environmentally friendly, none of the elements surrounding the homeowners are natural. Apart from being aware of the connection, the design is meant to be in tune with all senses.
Learn about the benefits of the design
The last 35 years have seen a constant research in the field, and the results are now available across many different fields. When it comes to the most talked-about office design, the design is known to increase productivity by 8 percent. The overall wellbeing of the staff is increased by 13%. In educational settings, this type of design has reduced DHD, increased concentration levels, attendance, and test scores. It has also increased the learning rates by 20-25%. Perhaps the most prominent results are seen in healthcare, where this type of design has decreased the need for pain treatment by 22% and shorten the period of recovery by 8.5%.
The elements of biophilic design
When we talk about “bringing nature indoors” many people instantly think of plants. However, while they are the first thing that comes to our minds, it is not the only one. Nature consists of so much more. As mentioned above, the design is meant to appeal to all senses. Start by introducing daylight to your environment. Add extra windows, a light tube, or a skylight. When selecting artificial lights, make sure you use the full-spectrum ones to complement the daylight. Use different architectural elements, as well as furniture and window treatments to play with the light and form areas of different intensity and color. Make sure that the view through your windows is amazing and relaxing. Use natural materials such as wool, wood, stone, hemp etc. Bring in scented plants or, perhaps, even air fresheners with natural scents. Apply variety, add texture and color. Bring in a body of water for both scent and sound.
What is biomimicry?
Biomimicry is the simulation of natural elements, often used in urban areas. It is also a great way of transforming a home, for example, at a low cost. Instead of adding windows and real natural elements, you can play with colors, shapes, and textures to simulate those found in nature. Avoid geometry. Even though it is currently popular, it is not often found as such in nature. Also, welcome earthy hues into your home. If you cannot afford a beautiful view fill your home with nature imagery.
What else is there?
There are certain things which can contribute to this design, but are not a part of it. Open space and freedom of movement are one of them. If need be, use corporate and business storage to free up some space in your office or home and try out a more minimalistic approach. You could eliminate elements which do not match the design and see whether you miss them or not. Also, having pets around helps the environment a lot. For example, if you have an office building with an indoor garden in the hall, letting a couple of birds in will fill the building with their song.
Biophilic design puts together the elements you enjoy having around but were not entirely able to name the reason why. This makes the style particularly easy to create within any space. Follow your senses, and choose those pieces which make you feel relaxed.