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Biophilic design: power from greenery

Last year, the British spent over 12 million days on sick leave due to stress! This means a great loss for their health, and for the economy. Biophilic design, or making living plants and natural materials part of interior design can reduce adverse effects easily, and trigger positive energy, creativity, and the joy in people.

On the eve of Clerkenwell Design Week 2019, one of the most important events in the global calendar of design events, the installation works in Kusch+Co’s London showroom on St John Street continued until late in the evening. The team had prepared a surprisingly different space for visitors and wanted everything to be buttoned up perfectly. Carl Abeydeera, Managing Director at Kusch+Co UK, was the last person to leave after the work was done, and the first one to open the door the next morning.

The interior had changed beyond recognition. He took a long stroll around, looking curiously into all of the rooms. Even though he knew every corner inside and out, the space seemed completely different. It was fresh and cheerful. Right away, he felt the positive energy that the plants brought into the showroom. It was stimulating and put him in a great mood for a day full of challenges and hard work.

We have always been close to nature

An inspirational picture of nature in a biophilic office.

Sam McCarthy of a London company Plant Designs is not surprised by Carl’s reaction. He has seen it many times, in all customers who decided on a biophilic design for their office. The immediate shot of vigour they get the moment greenery arrives always makes him happy. “I love to watch the change in people caused by plants. They start smiling and they relax. Our interior designs make people happy, which is such a pleasant thing to watch,” he smiles. His company revolutionised Kusch+Co’s showroom, bringing in dozens of potted plants and a living wall: a vertical composition with an area of several square meters that grabs your attention from the moment you enter the place.

Sam walks up to it and takes out one of the multitude of pots it is made of. Demonstrating the extremely easy installation and operation of the wall, he says that the biophilic trend has become tremendously strong these days. “Man has always been in close contact with nature. It has enabled us to live and grow. Over time, we started to change the environment in which we live, and in recent years we have been building it over particularly intensely. But the need for closeness with nature is still strong in us, even though we may not even realise this on a daily basis. Biophilic design, or the introduction of plants into indoor spaces: in the office, home or anywhere else, responds to this internal need of ours” he explains. “As a matter of fact, this also applies to any other natural material, not just plants: stone, wood and fabrics,” he adds, putting the pot back in its place.

A beneficial effect at a minimum price

Each of the plants set out in Kusch+Co’s showroom has something to say. Each had a message, shown on a small label.

  • “I make you more creative”
  • “I clean the air of toxins”
  • “I make oxygen. Did you know that you inhale up to 17,000 litres of air in a day?”
  • “I was set here to increase your productivity by 17%”
  • “I reduce noise by five decibels”

The beneficial effect of plants on the work and life of a human being is an unquestionable fact. Scientists are only providing more detailed facts about that effect now, which our Workplace Research and Consulting Department analyses carefully. Anna Dziadkowiec, Senior Workspace Research & Analysis Consultant for the Nowy Styl Group, emphasizes that elements of nature used in a space design have a soothing effect on the human psyche. “Greenery or, more widely, nature allows you to balance moments of intense work during the day, and offers a brief respite and rest, especially if, apart from the desks’ area, it is placed in other parts of the office, too. Additionally, areas with vegetation contribute to stress reduction and increased job satisfaction, because they introduce more homely atmosphere into the office spaces. They also help reduce air pollution and noise, and they absorb dust. Research has confirmed that exposure to greenery and sunlight enhances well-being, and improves creativity,” she lists the benefits of biophilic design.

In addition to the information on the labels, Sam quotes another interesting fact: “In the United Kingdom alone, stress was the cause of as many as 12.1 million days of sick leave last year. By reducing the level of anxiety, Biophilia helps to reduce this number, and at a minimal expense. So why not take advantage of its benefits?”

Change has never been so powerful before

Office inspired by nature.

Despite the passing hours, Carl is still soaking up the climate and atmosphere of the redesigned space. Looking around, his eyes rest on the green islands. Though he had an idea of what impact the greenery might have on employees, the power of the effect exceeded all of his expectations.

“Interior designers have been paying more and more attention to vegetation in the office. Plants are no longer an accessory supposed to just look nice. They have become a very important part of well-being in the office, with a real impact on how we work. As a company that operates in the industry, we wanted to explore this topic in detail,” Carl explains why he chose biophilic design as the theme for this year's meeting at Clerkenwell Design Week. “We have been taking part in the event right from the start, which is exactly for a decade. So far, we have focused on many different aspects of interior design, not to mention a multitude of other events where we have shown a whole range of furniture and solutions. But I have never felt such a great change before. More importantly, I felt it myself, which I think is the most convincing evidence of the enormous power of plants.”

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