Text provided by Liam O’Donnell
The benefits of incorporating biophilic elements into commercial spaces
Recent interior trends have prioritised harsh lines and unhomely interiors within a corporate environment however a seismic shift is occurring within this field. Biophilic interiors are on the rise to combat the historically detached nature of commercial spaces from nature. It is now understood that creating a comfortable environment is just as important as ensuring the space is fit for purpose. It is vital that the space is welcoming to ensure customers feel relaxed and can enjoy their experience. Biophilia can be described as an affinity with nature and natural environments. In relation to interiors, biophilia brings the outside in by placing elements of nature within a hospitality environment. Examples of this are allowing a greater amount of natural light into the space or developing green environments including horticulture as this can create a fresh ambiance. Humans are inherently attracted to natural processes so using those as part of an interior design plan will create a welcoming environment, especially within the hospitality or public sector.
The hospitality industry can reap the benefits of the biophilic shift. Creating a haven for your guests will ensure they return. When guests come to a hotel or restaurant, they are searching for escapism and by creating a natural environment you can offer the perfect alternative to the hustle and bustle of busy contemporary life. These environments will pay off vastly with guests willing to pay up to 23% more for rooms with biophilic views alone. This will help hospitality establishments develop memorable experiences that forge positive relationships with consumers, encouraging repeat business and great reviews.
When planning an interior environment, bringing in biophilic elements can increase satisfaction by embracing the importance mental wellbeing. More people will be attracted to your environment if you focus upon the natural human affinity with nature. This can be used as a theme for your space by utilising natural woods alongside plants and light- the ideal calming atmosphere. In particular, bringing natural elements such as plants indoors can increase oxygen flow which automatically has an uplifting effect, thus improving the customers journey from first entry.
To fully embrace biophilic elements in commercial interiors, the establishment must consider natural elements throughout the design from colour palette, to furniture to flooring. When it comes to the colour palette, harsh and artificial colours can take away from attempts to appear natural and soothing. If opting for a more calming space, choose muted blues and greens that seamlessly blend with biophilic design elements. If you are aiming for a more lively colour scheme, choose earthy colours that mimic the natural environment – rust oranges and desert reds will work well in biophilic spaces. Moreover, steer away from harsh manmade materials, such as aluminium furniture, and opt for natural woods, woven rattan and seagrass – these appear more outdoorsy and will contribute to a natural look.
Removing the boundaries between the inside and the outside can be a great way to really cement a biophilic ambience. Bringing cushion-style furniture to an outdoor environment can mirror the comfort of the indoor space and encourage guests to relax whilst decorating the interiors with a natural aesthetic and living plants can create a unique outdoorsy ambience. Moreover, large glass walls that lead to an outdoor garden can make a space feel bigger and more open which can be more relaxing for guests. This can encourage customers to feel more connected with the outdoors, which is the ultimate goal in biophilic spaces, allowing ultimate natural ease for guests.
About the author, Liam O’Donnell:
Liam O’Donnell is the director of Valdivian Furniture, a British furniture manufacturer that specialises in bespoke, hand crafted contract furniture. Liam has deep rooted personal interest in environmental issues and over 16 years of experience in manufacturing furniture. He is a highly experienced wood machinist and specialist joiner which translates into the company’s meticulous and careful approach to furniture production. Find out more at: www.valdivianfurniture.co.uk.