We move on to talk about the matter at hand – biophilia. As we’ve already stated a little earlier, we’re seeing more thought and energy put into the implementation of biophilic design, which would suggest that it is now very much set in the minds of both the designer and the occupier as part of the wellbeing offering.
Raj: I’d agree with that. I don’t think biophilia is about just putting a load of plants in an area without any real thought. It’s about integrating natural elements within a space – but carefully thought through. It’s about not just the actual plant itself – it’s about look, feel, texture, colour, smell…
Joe: It’s also about variety within a space. It’s about natural features – but they don’t just manifest in the plants, they manifest in the materials in the space, having a more tactile environment, having different levels of lighting, so it’s a more granular and more considered design – where you’re referencing nature, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to be just planting.
Alison: It is about variety. It’s about breaking those straight lines, using curves, textures and multiplicity of materials. It’s not about just sticking in some plants. For me, it’s also really important that it’s not plastic planting – that just destroys the whole thing. If you’re going to put plants in, they have to be natural – it is all about the use of natural materials.
Guy: I’ve always felt that biophilic design should be approached by purpose-designing the elements in from the inception – rather than almost retrofitting a space with some plants. I think the design has to have the right intent from the start – and then has to be implemented correctly.