Nicola Holden Designs – Contemporary Interior Designer, London.

Prior to the Industrial Revolution the majority of the population worked in agriculture, or as crafts people producing things by hand.  Then in the late 1700s and into the early 1800s, with the use of use of water and steam power, production methods moved to using machines, beginning with the textile industry in the UK.  And with this mechanisation, people moved to working in factories rather than outside, in the fields.

The Industrial Revolution also resulted in an increase in global trade and the growth of commerce, drawing people into office jobs.  Almost every aspect of daily life was influenced by this revolution.   As average incomes grew, so the standard of living for the general population began to increase.  By the mid-18th century Britain was the world’s leading commercial nation, with a modern capitalist economy.

These days, we humans are increasingly spending up to 90% of our lives indoors.  Today’s urban landscape and our growing dependency on technology are increasingly disconnecting us from the nature that used to be part of our everyday lives.  Stress, anxiety and depression are very real, modern day afflictions.

But how does all of this relate to biophilic design?

Biophilia refers to our innate biological connection with nature. It helps explain why crackling fires and crashing waves captivate us; why a garden view can enhance our creativity; why shadows instil fascination and fear; and why animal companionship has restorative, healing effects.

There is now a growing body of scientific evidence showing that how we design our spaces has a direct impact on us psychologically and physically, and therefore on our overall health, happiness and well-being.  Biophilic design has been scientifically proven to:

  • reduce stress,
  • lower blood pressure and heart rates
  • increase productivity, alertness and clarity of thought
  • enhance concentration and creativity,
  • reduce boredom, irritation and fatigue
  • positively impact circadian rhythms, leading to improved sleep
  • elicit positive emotional responses and feelings of tranquillity
  • speed up healing. 

Therefore, it is an essential element in providing people with healthy places in which to live and work.

As part of biophilic design, we look at bringing nature into our spaces with plants, water, breezes, sounds and scents, or through objects, materials, colours, shapes and patterns found in nature. We also look at the spatial configurations of interiors, creating prospect views balanced with intimate refuges, and a sense of mystery that entices people into our spaces.

This allows us to create spaces that are inspirational, restorative and healthy, nurturing a love of place and improving our overall well-being .

“I think that the ideal space must contain elements of magic, serenity, sorcery and mystery.”
Louis Barragán



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