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What is Biophilia?

Biophilia is a relatively new concept. First mentioned in the 60’s by Social Psychologist Erich Fromm, and later expanded upon by Biologist E.O. Wilson in the 80’s, Biophilia means love of nature / love of life.


The concept of Biophilia aims to show how innately drawn to nature we are. For example, when we think of places to escape and relieve stress we almost always think of nature. Nature is in our DNA and we need it now more than ever! When you look at a timeline of humans on earth, we have spent almost all of that time developing alongside nature. It really hasn’t been until recent that we’ve moved away from nature and spent more time in our modern built societies. 


Biophilic design seeks to mimic nature and bring it into our modern built environments. For example… plants, fresh air, natural sunlight, and open offices are simple examples of how we can connect the dots to our need for the outdoors. 


Being in nature should make you happy… if you’re looking at nature and feeling angry I definitely can’t help you out and you might be an alien. Several studies have shown that even implementing the basic principles of Biophilia can improve health, well-being, and productivity. Looking at a photo of nature, having access to natural sunlight and a view of plants nearby has shown to improve physiological effects such as mood boosting, decreased stress, and improved cognitive functions. Biophilia has significant value in the context of employee health and productivity when incorporated into interior design.


How to bring nature indoors:

Putting plants in an office setting is a good start, but there’s a lot more we can do to expand upon biophilic design in a commercial setting. Here’s some interesting ways to get the most out of it and improve the health and wellbeing of individuals in a workplace. 


Natural Sunlight / Improved lighting

Ever notice how happy a cat looks basking in the sun? Well, we need that too! Having a window with natural sunlight has been linked to less sick time being taken by employees. If natural sunlight is not an option, improving artificial lighting has also been shown to make a huge difference in the overall mood of a space. No one feels good looking at a flickering florescent lightbulb. 


Fresh Air / Improved Air Circulation

The need to get fresh air is a natural reaction to being inside for too long. We might all be able to understand this now after having experienced a long term quarantine. Getting fresh air is amazing, and having access to this in an office setting can be something that sets a commercial space apart from everyone else’s. If fresh air is not an option improved air circulation can be as good if not better than the real thing. 


Interior plants and greenery

Plants are a great start! Adding plants to a commercial setting can have some amazing impacts on the mood of workers. Offices with plants have shown to improve perceived air quality, concentration, productivity, and overall workplace satisfaction. 


Photographs of nature

As mentioned above, being in nature or even looking at a photo of nature is proven to be stress relieving. Our brains understand and process images of nature easier than photos of urban settings. Natural images can reduce brain strain and help people function more efficiently. 


Pleasant scents / sounds

We all know unpleasant smells and unpleasant sounds… we don’t have to go there! Pleasant scents and pleasant sounds are the way to go. Water flowing, birds chirping, wind blowing, and fresh scents… the auditory and olfactory senses can be activated in commercial settings. 


As interior plant designers we have the unique ability to connect us to nature within the manmade world. Contact Coach House plants and learn how you can add biophilic design to your space. 

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