What are the 7 principles of Biophilic Office Design?

The ‘biophilia hypothesis’ is described by American Biologist Edward Osborne Wilson as “The urge to affiliate with other forms of…

By Andy Thomas


The ‘biophilia hypothesis’ is described by American Biologist Edward Osborne Wilson as “The urge to affiliate with other forms of life”. That urge has driven the rise in biophilic office design which has had a profound effect on employee wellbeing.

A truly biophilic office design goes way beyond a few plants scattered around an open window; it’s about focussing the design around elements of the natural world which improve human health and productivity.

For a building design to be considered biophilic, there are certain features it needs to include. Although there is no ‘one size fits all’ definition of what makes a design biophilic, the following 7 elements are the tell-tale signs which contribute to the occupiers perceived connection to nature:

A View of Nature

A visual connection with nature has been shown to lower blood pressure and heart rate, improved mental engagement and attentiveness as well as contributing to an overall improvement in happiness.

Non-Visual Stimuli

By invigorating the other senses through biophilic design, studies have shown that systolic blood pressure and stress hormones are reduced, and cognitive performance is enhanced.

Airflow Variability

A natural, variable airflow has been shown to positively impact comfort, wellbeing, productivity, concentration and perceived temporal or spatial pleasure.

A Presence of Water

A flow of water within the building has been associated with reduced stress, lower heart rate and blood pressure, an increased feeling of tranquillity and improved concentration.

Dynamic Lighting

Natural, dynamic lighting systems in sync with the 24-hour day positively impact circadian system functioning, therefore improving sleep patterns too.

Biomorphic Patterns and Shapes

Biomorphic patterns and shapes are known to enhance concentration and reduce stress due to an induced shift in focus.

Spatial Hierarchy

A big part of any biophilic design is the spacing of different elements, A well- structured spatial hierarchy creates a sense of free movement which helps to reduce stress and increase the overall satisfaction within the office.

Download our whitepaper to read more on Biophilic Design and its effect on employee wellbeing.

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