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What is biophilic design? What does biophilic design look like in an office? It’s much more than having a green wall, a few potted plants, some pictures of trees and playing bird sounds over speakers! Here’s a concise A to Z guide to biophilic design and how it can benefit people’s workspace.

A - Aromatic plants

The mood-boosting fragrance of scented plants like lavender, rosemary and eucalyptus stimulates the senses and helps employees relax and feel connected to the natural world.

B - Biomorphic shapes and patterns

Organic shapes and patterns inspired by nature, including natural graphics, help create a sense of connection to nature.

C - Curves reminiscent of river bends

Consider using curved walls, partitions, desks and counters, and pictures inspired by the meanders of a river, for a more gentle and calming office design.

D - Dampening noise levels with plants and water features

Plants, trees and water features can quieten unwanted ambient noise like traffic, HVAC systems, the hum of electronic equipment and neighbouring office chatter.

E - Energy-efficient lighting

Swap harsh traditional fluorescent or LED strip lights for energy-efficient lights that mimic natural sunlight (some produce dynamic lighting effects that mimic natural patterns). This creates a more comfortable and visually appealing workspace.

F - Foliage patterns

In biophilic design, using patterns that look like leaves or plants helps make workspaces feel more like nature, helping people feel happier and less stressed.

G - Green walls

One of the most popular features of biophilic design (and one of the first things that jumps to mind when thinking of biophilia)are green walls. These add a colourful design statement and help bring the outside in. If maintenance is a concern, a replica green wall can give an illusion of planting.

H - Honeycomb motifs

Connect your workspace to nature and promote a sense of harmony and organisation by using the natural shapes found in beehives. Honeycomb motifs are a popular pattern in biophilic design.

I - Improved concentration

Biophilic design helps employees get their job done. Many academic studies have shown that greener, more natural environments positively affect people’s physical and mental health by reducing stress, boosting mood, improving sleep and enhancing cognitive function.

J - Joinery for encasing green walls

Frame your biophilic green wall with a natural wooden surround. While a living green wall makes a statement, framing it with bespoke joinery adds even more visual appeal and captures the attention of visitors.

K - Keeping indoor air quality high

A biophilic office is not meant to be like a tropical rainforest, all hot and humid. A good office ventilation system is great, but think about adding living plants to the workspace. This increases oxygen levels while reducing pollutants and allergens. Better indoor air quality decreases fatigue and improves concentration levels.

L - Leafy textures

Leafy textures in a biophilic office design evoke nature, promoting a sense of calmness and well-being in the workplace. Explore adding hanging plants, as well as planter storage units that bring leafy plants into functional office furniture.

M - Mental health benefits

Biophilia is all about people’s innate connection with the natural world and biophilic design is about creating a space that helps people feel close to nature. Nature-inspired interior design can positively impact overall psychological well-being.

N - Natural light integration

Letting in natural light is key in biophilic design as it helps regulate our body's internal clock and makes us feel comfortable. To bring more natural light into your office, consider installing skylights, curtain walling and glass partition walls. These brighten the space by allowing the maximum amount of natural light to penetrate the area, making it feel bigger and more open.

O - Outdoor connections

Bringing biophilic design into the workplace is great, but big makeovers might not be possible because of space, time and money. Still, you can add biophilic touches without spending too much by bringing the outside in and encouraging people to use desk plants.

P - Positive impact on productivity

Adding biophilic elements to your workspace design brings people greater happiness, helping them to be productive. Biophilic design in the office promotes relaxation and can help reduce stress levels.

Q - Quality views of nature

Outside matters. If there are lovely views outside, like a pond or trees, make sure nothing blocks them from view in the office layout so people can enjoy them. Biophilic design doesn't always mean being directly in nature - it can also be indirect, like using pictures of nature or natural colours and materials.

R - Raw materials like wood, stone and bamboo

The biophilic form of office interior design places more emphasis on using natural, earthy materials (like wood grain surfaces, for example) and colour schemes (as opposed to white finishes).

S - Sustainability

Businesses looking to make their office more sustainable and environmentally friendly need to consider biophilic design for their workspace. Improve air quality with plants, maximise natural light, and integrate eco-friendly materials to connect people with nature.

T - Tree trunk partitions

Bring the outside inside in an innovative way by using, for example, silver birch tree trunks in unique wooden partition walls.

U - Using natural elements for separation

Wooden slatted walls or area dividers work well in creating clear visual boundaries in the office between departments or between work and meeting spaces. They create a more natural, warm and comfortable ambience while the slatted design allows air and natural light to come through.

V - Visual connection to nature with glass partitions

See the sky and the changing seasons more easily from the office with curtain walling. Providing a clear view of the outdoors can be a source of inspiration and relaxation for people.

W - WOW! factor

Office design with biophilic principles has the ‘WOW!’ factor. A living green wall framed by grainy wooden planks, wall decorations with intricate honeycomb motifs, or partition walls incorporating silver birch tree trunks captivate and energise colleagues and visitors.

X - (e)Xemplary showcase: Iceotope office design

See many of these biophilic features in action in our Showcase, including our office design and fit out for Iceotope in Sheffield, featuring greenery hanging from the ceiling, green feature walls acting as dividers and suspended ceiling rafts.

Y - (health)Y benefits of low-maintenance plants

Low-maintenance plants in the office create a calm environment. Plants offer health benefits like boosting humidity, purifying air and reducing stress. Cacti, succulents, ferns, spider plants and leafy varieties are easy to care for, needing minimal watering and moderate light. Keep care efforts minimal by avoiding plants that need pruning or daily watering.

Z - Zen-like tranquillity with water features

Water in your workspace, in the form of fountains or water features with cascading streams or falling water, generates a tranquil energy for colleagues and visitors to the office. If you’re not a fan of hearing running water all day, pictures of waterfalls, lakes and rivers also work.

So, there we have it. The trend of having tightly sealed and boring office spaces is fading away. Instead, there’s a move towards a workspace that is more open and engaging. Biophilic design is increasingly being adopted by commercial businesses which recognise its positive impact on physical and mental well-being, productivity and morale. And you don’t need a large office to make a big impact.

Benefit from a fresh and amazing new look for your workplace and stand out from the competition in just three steps:

  1. Arrange an appointment.
  2. We create a unique design for you.
  3. We install your fresh, new look.
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