Biophilic design makes people ‘more positive’, says expert

Biophilia – the discipline of incorporating nature into interior design – can make people feel ‘less stressed, calmer, and relaxed’, according to expert Oliver Heath.

Speaking on the latest episode of The kbbreview Podcast, Heath said that spending so much time indoors means the space that surrounds us has a dramatic impact on our physical, mental and emotional state.

“We look at how we can enhance that connection to nature as a means to make people feel less stressed, calmer, relaxed and help them feel more positive, open and optimistic,” he said. “By putting people in that better state of mind, we can much better realise the intended outcome of that building.”

Heath says that while biophilia principally deals with a direct connection to nature, such as incorporating plants, trees, natural light, fresh air and water into designs, there is also an indirect connection.

“I think this is particularly important to interior designers,” he said. “It’s about how we mimic or evoke a feeling of nature using natural materials, colours, textures, patterns and technologies. There’s also the idea of a human spatial response. This is how we create spaces that are exciting, stimulating and aspirational, spaces that you really want to go to and be in. But it is also recognising the need to create spaces that allow us to relax, recuperate and restore.”

Biophilia, Heath says, is an evolutionary design ethos that looks at how humans have evolved in and around the natural environment and looks for the things that make people feel comfortable and secure.

“One idea is the ‘savannah theory’ and that suggests that when you look out over healthy natural environments from a point of height and safety and you see a healthy, lush, living environment that’s thriving and surviving, it can reduce heart rates and blood pressure levels.

“When we’re in forests and when we’re in nature, we feel good, it’s that simple. It’s been proven time and time again to have multiple benefits. So we’re drawing on those experiences to create an improved emotional response to the space that’s directly in front of you.”

Oliver Heath was talking on the latest episode of The kbbreview Podcast. You can listen directly using the player below or search ‘kbbreview’ in your podcast app of choice where you can see all the previous episodes, subscribe to make sure you don’t miss new ones and leave a review.

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