Within the fields of biophilic design and environmental psychology, there’s a growing amount of research identifying how the design of our spaces can affect our overall quality of life. Regardless of what our spaces look like in the future, it makes sense that we need to give more thought as to how they make us feel today.
Biophilic is derived from the term ‘Biophilia’, originating from the Greek words and meaning ‘love of life and living things’.
Biophilic design seeks to connect our inherent need to affiliate with nature in the modern built environment. Since today’s “natural habitat” is largely the built environment, where we now spend 90% of our time, biophilic design seeks to satisfy our innate need to affiliate with nature in modern buildings and cities.1
Biophilic design incorporates natural elements, maximizing daylight, views of nature, natural materials, and natural features such as indoor planting and water features, into architecture and interior designs.
When we incorporate biophilic design into our environments, we engage our senses. Engaging our senses brings us out of autopilot and into the present, the benefits are; reduced cortisol levels, increased kindness, improved learning engagement, and increased social connectivity.
An example of biophilic design is the living wall, an architectural feature developed to satisfy the human need to connect with nature. Living walls offer space-saving and high-impact methods of bringing nature indoors, thus allowing residents, employees, customers, and you to benefit from the healing power of plants.
Especially for those of us that live in cities, we breathe a ton of air pollutants, often without even realizing it. The good news for those that have living walls is the plants growing on these walls act as natural air filters. They clean the air that we breathe on a daily basis by absorbing pollutants like formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and other airborne toxins.2
Being in close proximity to greenery has profound impacts on our mental health. Numerous studies have shown that being around plants – especially with as high of a concentration as is typically on a living wall – reduces stress by lowering our levels of salivary cortisol (a stress hormone) thereby making us feel happier!2
You know those summer days when you just can’t keep your home cool? How about the winter nights when you can’t just keep it warm? What is great about green walls is that they act as natural insulation, keeping the air inside the buildings cooler in the summer months and warmer during the winter months, making the occupants that little bit more comfortable.2
- Stephen Kellert, What is and is not biophilic design? (Metropolis Magazine,2015)
- Alan Burchell, Living Walls: The Interior Design Trend That Makes You Happier, Healthier, And, Yes, Even Smarter! (Urban Strong)