Construction has begun on “Welcome, feeling at work”, a biophilic office of the future in Milan, Italy. Designed by Kengo Kuma & Associates and commissioned by Europa Risorse, this venture seeks to create a workspace centered on employee health and wellbeing, integrated within its local environment. Imagined to be one of the most sustainable office development to date, the project is scheduled for 2024.
Biophilia: The Latest Architecture and News
How many changes have you done to your interior space during this past year? Whether it was a change of furniture layout, repainting the walls, adding more light fixtures or perhaps even removing them, after spending so much time in one place, the space you were once used to didn’t make sense anymore. We could blame the overall situation for how we’ve been feeling lately, but as a matter of fact, the interior environment plays a huge role in how we feel or behave as well. However, if you were wondering why some neighbors seem much more undisturbed and serene even in the midst of a pandemic, it could be because the interior is greener on the other side.
Amazon has just revealed the proposed design for its second headquarters, in Arlington, Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C. Designed by NBBJ, the project “creates an environment that prioritizes healthy work, celebrates nature and engages the community across multiple scales.” Encompassing 2.8 million square feet of offices, public gathering areas and street-front retail, the intervention aims to create a healthier workforce and community.
If a person were to imagine a setting of complete relaxation, odds are the first image that comes to mind is a place surrounded by nature, be it a forest, the mountains, the sea, or a meadow. Rarely does one imagine an office or a shopping mall as a source of comfort and relaxation. Still, the majority of people spend almost 80-90 % of their time indoors, going back and forth from their houses to their workplaces.
Architects and designers are now searching for design solutions that will resonate well into the future, turning to 'biophilia' as an important source of inspiration that promotes well-being, health, and emotional comfort.
Bees are perhaps the insects that most arouse our fascination and curiosity. With the exception of Antarctica, they are found on all continents, in all habitats that contain insect-pollinated flowering plants. Representations of humans collecting honey from wild bees date back to 15,000 years ago, and pots of honey have even been found in the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs like Tutankhamen. Although we generally have a fixed idea about what cartoon bees look like, there are thousands of species around the world, with different sizes, colors and behaviors. There are even several examples of solitary bees, many without stingers, and even some species that survive by plundering other weaker colonies. But something that has consistently impressed researchers is the organization of their hives, which are truly highly populated cities with an efficiency to make any urban planner envious.
Interior design begins with human experience. Considering the physical, mental, and emotional needs of people, interior designers use human-centered approaches to address how we live today. Creating novel approaches to promoting health, safety, and welfare, contemporary interiors are increasingly inspired by biophilia as a holistic approach to design.
Imagine that you are in a cubicle located in the middle of the office floor plate. Your office has a glazed front, but you are looking into another open office. You have no real window or view to the outside, so you can't tell if it's raining outside or sunny. If you are lucky, and you do have a window, it's fixed, and you are looking into an office in the neighbouring building that is five metres away.
The fluorescent lighting that you sit under for eight hours has thrown out your body's natural circadian rhythm. The ventilation is alright, but you start to feel droopy at around 3pm because the carbon dioxide levels in your shoebox have risen. It might even feel a bit stuffy, regardless of the door being open or closed. As you don't have an operable window, you have been breathing in recycled air all day. When you get outside and take a breath, you will instantly notice that the air outside is fresh.
Now multiply that by five days a week, 48 weeks a year. Maybe you will get a pot plant in a few weeks.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that Americans spend 90 percent of their time indoors. Spending that much time inside makes us feel disconnected from the outside world, affecting everything from our productivity to mental health. Not to mention physical health concerns ranging from poor circulation to airborne contaminants.
One method of rebuilding our connection to nature is by using living elements. Live moss wellness walls utilize one of our oldest plant species to improve the visual appearance of any interior environment and boost your overall well-being.