Take a moment.
Imagine a time you recently felt stressed or anxious.
If you could escape to anywhere to reduce this anxiety, where would you go?
Scientifically, one of the best places to go is to immerse yourself in nature. What if we could recreate the same physical, emotional and psychological benefits of being in nature within our homes and commercial spaces?
This is the idea behind biophilic design.
The goal of biophilic design is to connect with the earth in your built environment through direct and indirect nature, space and place. Evidence of these principles can be found dating back to the hanging gardens of Babylon. The Japanese have a term for it called shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing. Biophilic design amplifies human performance and productivity by fulfilling the human inclination to affiliate with nature.
The body’s relationship between nature and health
COGNITIVEThis affects our ability to think, problem solve, and our logical or creative output for “directed attention” tasks. These are needed for productivity.
PSYCHOLOGICALPsychological responses encompass our adaptability, alertness, attention, concentration, and emotion and mood.
Physiological responses are felt in the physical body. This encompasses our aural, musculoskeletal, respiratory, circadian systems and overall physical comfort.
All 3 of these areas are enhanced when we spend more time in nature.
One example: Hospital rooms with a view outside lead to patients requesting 30% less pain medication and had shorter stays by 2 days, overall decreasing healthcare costs
So, armed with this information, how can we change our indoor spaces and create environments that improve our mental health? Increase exposure to the elements!
Direct: Allows orientation of time of day and season, and is attributed to navigation and comfort; light causes natural patterns , movements and shadows. This is achieved through skylights, windows and clerestories. Setup your workspace and bed near direct natural light. Harness the power of your circadian rhythm!
Indirect: If direct light in your space is not possible, a circadian light is a great option, or simply stepping outside multiple times a day for a short walk.
Windows and open passageways allow the occupants to feel the sense and subtle changes in the wind and bring an awareness of thermal flow.
Ventilation, temperature, and humidity can all be felt.
Open windows and doors, especially in the mornings or when you feel a lull in energy or focus. Want to get even more? Buy a mosquito net for your front door and open that too!
Direct: Water can be used to provide movement, sounds, touch, and sight. It can be incorporated through aquariums, fountains or vases. Marimo moss balls are an easy way to achieve this!Indirect: Images of water, mirrors, bringing in the blue and green tones, or a diffuser are beautiful solutions.
Direct: One of the easiest to implement! Bringing vegetation to the exterior and interior spaces of the building provides a direct relationship to nature. Plants clean our air, and the ritual of caring for a living thing every day increases our connection to all life.
Indirect: Neutral colors, Using natural materials like wood or having a collection of stones on your desk can be a great way to ground throughout the day.
Direct: A fireplace or candle. This natural element is hard to incorporate, however when implemented correctly into your space, it provides color, warmth, and movement.
Indirect: Burning natural incense like sweetgrass, sage, or palo santo.
Beyond this, there are plenty of apps, podcasts and videos that can help us get to mindfulness and being present-but what about physical products?
Color + Light has created magical experiences with digital art and LEDs for years. Our artists and designers knew they struck a chord when they started experimenting with natural form factors (trees, flowers, plants). The juxtaposition of the familiar and the mysterious help people connect with nature in a novel and interactive way. We’ve started to bring these experiences into the home with Fluora.
With its form factor and content, it’s a perfect complement to indoor spaces of the future, especially ones that embrace biophilic design.
Fluora is already in over 500 homes around the US and Canada, helping its users relax and change up their environments throughout the day. It can mimic exposure to multiple elements mentioned above.
It can bring light to a space, mimic the flow and calmness of water, and also bring the warmth and movement of fire. This versatility fosters a healthy mental and emotional environment for focusing or relaxing, and waking up or going to sleep.
One of our longer term goals is for Fluora products to be a staple in biophilic design-forward homes of the future.
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By Laura Polkus, with Aaron Oppenheimer