leadforensics Biophilia: A ‘Growing’ Office Refurbishment Trend | Oaktree Interiors

Pushing aside the jungle undergrowth, in order to take a seat at your desk are two activities that may previously have sounded at odds with each other. However, the usage of nature in the workplace is an office refurbishment trend that is growing.

A term first popularised by American psychologist, Edward O Wilson, in his 1984 book of the same name, Biophilia refers to the idea that is based on the human love to exist in natural environments. Wilson theorised that humans had ‘an urge to affiliate with other forms of life’; something that the designs of our homes and workplaces do not necessarily reflect. As technological advancements continue to grow at a rapid pace, not to mention the continued urbanisation of the spaces we exist in, the practice of Biophilia has become more in vogue in recent years; especially in the workplace where people need to feel comfortable and inspired in order to achieve the tasks that they need to.

Office refurbishment: with biophilic design

If we think about our day at work; it's possible to go a whole day without interacting with any natural elements. Whether we commute there by train, bus or car, any period of time spent outside will be limited. Then we're in the office all day; some of us may pop out for lunch, many of us have facilities in work that allows us to eat there. Then we're back in work for the afternoon before the end of the day when the commute starts again. We get home and we might be too tired to do anything and just want to relax. The case may be that we experience less than an hour of interacting with anything natural every workday.

The theory of Biophilia says that we are increasingly existing in an extrinsic world; we're being placed in a reality that doesn't positively affect us. As natural beings ourselves, we are designed to live in a natural environment, so it isn't a stretch to say that when we spend long periods of time outside of this environment, we experience negative feelings. As a result, our performance and even our mental and physical health will not be reaching the levels that they should be doing. This is something that has been recognised in office design and being a place where we are present in for most of the week, the importance of its environment to correspond with our wellbeing cannot be overlooked.

How can Biophilia be placed in the design of the workplace?

If you’re looking to refresh your office interiors, here is how you can implement a Biophilic environment as part of your office refurbishment:

  • The usage of plants within the office is a fundamental part of Biophilic office design. Not only do plants provide a more natural and welcoming feel, they can also reduce levels of CO2, dust and mould; ideal if your office space is liable to feel ‘stuffy’. In terms of ‘setting the scene’ of a natural environment to inspire, artificial plants can help to play this role; their effects can see them improving the mood and concentration of employees. And what’s more, they require no on-going care, so they can be placed in as many places as you need them.
  • Natural light in the office is fast becoming a standard in modern office design. Whereas once, artificial lighting was a staple of the average office building, these installations have been making way for an increased number and size of windows. Artificial light (especially fluorescent lighting) can have negative effects on a person’s wellbeing, with eye strains, headaches and tiredness being common amongst those who work in such environments for a long period of time. By making more use of natural light, you can set a lighting level that responds positively with employees, rather than them having to train (and strain) their eyes in order to get used to an alien level of light.
  • Colour schemes and shapes, when corresponding with the colours that are commonly identified with the outside, can help to create a natural office decoration. Using colours such as greens, reds, browns, golds and tans evoke ‘earthy’ tones, whilst varying degrees of blues and white can mimic the sky and the sea. Relating to a previous point, ‘living walls’ made from artificial plants are a popular design feature in modern office design too and make for a good alternative to mixing colours on walls and using pictures, such as landscape prints, to give off that natural feel.
  • Aside from colours, physical representations of the natural world (such as living walls) are becoming more in vogue within the office design world. The use of wood, stone and granite can be used to create shelving, cupboards, desks and pillars; being in plentiful supply, they needn’t cost (pun intended...) the earth too!

Looking to improve your office interiors? Get in touch with the experts

Need to improve the functioning of your workplace? Want to set that ideal environment that helps to inspire your employees? Then why not get in touch with the office design experts here at Oaktree Interiors? We have a long and varied experience of creating all manner of office interiors for forward-thinking businesses who are looking for their workplaces to achieve the twin aims of being functional, yet inspiring and attractive for employees and their clients alike.

If you would like further information on how we’re able to help you to create the perfect natural office environment for your business, then why not get in touch with our expert office refurbishment team today? Give us a call on 0345 21 86955 or alternatively, you can reach us by e-mail at hello@oaktreeoffice.com

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