Post-Pandemic Workspace + Biophilic Design
Within the post-Covid workspace there is a grand opportunity to explore new design paradigms that restore mental well-being and foster physical health.
Within the past 100 years, we have shaped architecture, interior design, and landscape design by responding to environmental and social pressures. It is not too difficult to “zoom” back a few decades to the early office environment filled with heavy cigarette smoking, indoor noise and office appliance air pollution, an absence of OSHA standards (1970), lack of accommodations for people with disabilities, and rampant sexual, racial, and gender discrimination.
Office environments change with the times. With the abundance of information on new government health standards regarding Covid-19, it is natural to feel overwhelmed and insecure about the future. When we seek to find opportunity in chaos, there is hope for a new and better tomorrow. Within the post-Covid workspace there is a grand opportunity to explore new design paradigms that restore mental well-being and foster physical health.
Biophilic design or designing with nature seeks to connect people to nature in built environments through the premise that we are inherently tied to nature through natural evolution. Biophilic design is based on systems of nature and our responses to them. For example, our bodies respond to changes in sunlight throughout the day exhibited by hormonal fluctuations and body temperature patterns.
Opening the shutters of an office window and allowing natural light to flow through into our optic nerves provides support for our physiological and neurological systems. The nuances of our complex relationship with Mother Earth are vast and multi-layered. Biophilic design is a new design paradigm that support our biological need for nature expressed through 14 design elements/patterns (terrapinbrightgreen.com). We can begin implementing these changes to best support health and well-being vs. moving to a sterile environment devoid of nature.
Earth tones used in decor soothe busy minds. Natural elements (flora, animals, ecology) displayed symbolically in pictures, fabrics, and design provide a renewed sense of community. Living plants provide physical distancing, as well as, mental restoration. A window view of a park reestablishes our “sense of place,” within our world. Converting an outdoor patio into an optional isolated workspace provides a retreat for those needing focus, as well as, supporting physical health and well-being.
Nature and your place in it is a highly personal and pleasure-filled experience. Biophilic design in built environments may set the tone in how we shape our new world. It is our hope that nature finds its way back into our everyday lives to reestablish our place within the natural world confirming that we are, at our very core, human beings,-vulnerable yet resilient, lost but found, and ever changing in a world that carries on with or without us providing a sense of peace, playfulness, gratitude, and union.