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Kirkstall Forge

Biophilic design should be blossoming in every office

16.04.2019 | Blog

Biophilic design is something you’re almost certainly in favour of, even if you don’t recognise the phrase.

In short, biophilia describes the close relationship humans have with nature and the outdoors. It’s a term which has been used in both psychology and design since the 1980s but now its importance is truly being recognised, thanks to a series of studies which clearly show how biophilic design can benefit individuals and organisations.

Ask any group of people to describe their perfect city and undoubtedly they will talk about the value of parks, trees, lakes, avenues and public spaces – most likely before they’ve even mentioned ‘typical’ urban features like roads, pavements and buildings. It’s now recognised that the presence of nature has a strong psychological impact on the wellbeing of people.

So what does that mean for office design? A sad-looking pot plant on a desk isn’t enough any more. A 2015 report found that 1 in 5 offices had no natural elements in their office while a third of respondents said that the design of an office would affect their decision to work at a company.

Modern offices should embrace natural light as well as different textures, materials and colours to bring some of the outside into a workplace. Even things like good, clean air matter, with studies showing that increased CO2 can reduce strategic thinking by 10-15%.

At Kirkstall Forge we’ve embraced biophilic design, with things like living walls and floor-to-ceiling windows which offer beautiful views of the wooded valley, as well as plenty of bright, open space.

The results of this approach to design are already positive, with Zenith, one of the major tenants at Number One Kirkstall Forge reporting that staff turnover is down 35% between 2017 and 2018.