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Wed Jun 7 2017

Clerkenwell Design Week 2017: Biophilic Design in the Built Environment

Biophilic office installation at the Interface showroom on 1 Northburgh Street

This year’s Clerkenwell Design Week was host to a huge array of fascinating talks on many of the challenges facing contemporary designers in the UK - from designing after Brexit to asking whether flexible workspaces are becoming the norm. One of the most thought-provoking discussions we attended was “Implementing biophilic design in the built environment” at Interface.

Led by architectural designer Oliver Heath, panellists discussed the myriad of benefits of biophilic design and how to incorporate nature-inspired elements into a space. Biophilic design is an innovative way of designing the places where we live, work, and learn and was first implemented by various architectural practices in the 1980s. It follows principles that aim to improve our connection with nature and in turn make us happier and harder working. The argument goes that we need nature in a deep and fundamental fashion, but we have often designed our cities and suburbs in ways that both degrade the environment and alienate us from nature.

Heath asserted that biophilic design has been shown to improve the cognitive performance of workers in mental tests, as well as reducing absenteeism by 15%. Simple ways to bring nature into offices and start benefitting from this is by adding plants to desks, creating natural light sources and introducing materials that reflect native ecology such as wood or clay.

We hope he’ll think highly of the new, green, additions we’ve brought into our office this week, following our attendance at this informative talk!

Helen Knight