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Biophilic design can help us adapt to a changing world

Spending time in nature has been shown to have a positive impact on physical health and mental wellbeing so it follows that bringing natural elements into interiors can improve our quality of life, says Fleur Carson.

This is what’s known as biophilic design. By linking indoor spaces to the outside world and introducing materials and colours found in the local landscape, interior design can enhance our emotional connections with our environment and community, relieving stress and anxiety, reducing heart rates and blood pressure, and so alleviating health issues such as cardiovascular diseases and mental disorders.

Fleur Carson, commercial sales director at Karndean Designflooring, explained: ‘Biophilic design is a concept that has been around for a while now but our experience of a pandemic has highlighted the importance of the natural world and its benefits to individuals, businesses and our wider economy. Our interior spaces reflect who we are and what’s important to us and facilitate our connections with each other, our environment and our history.

‘We may not always recognise how our buildings influence our mood but when we find a space comfortable and welcoming we are happy to linger and are more open to interacting with others. In this way biophilic design can, for example, help increase employee productivity and reduce sickness absence, or encourage shoppers to browse longer and spend more.’

Interesting and engaging spaces with an inside-outside feel will connect the building and its occupants to the surroundings. Using materials authentic to the locality, organic textures, soft lines, and living plants are all elements used to generate a biophilic interior.

Eighth and Eden, a high-end wellness clinic in Worcestershire, has used biophilic design to create a luxurious and engaging seating area where guests can relax. Soft curves and a pared back neutral colour palette blend with warm Honey Oak flooring from Karndean’s Van Gogh range to put guests at ease. The practicality of Karndean flooring is key in such clinical settings, combining an organic aesthetic with a hypoallergenic and waterproof surface that’s easy to keep hygienically clean.

Similarly, the Sandman Signature Hotel Spa in Aberdeen has used a natural colour scheme for a serene environment that connects guests to the local Scottish countryside. Inspired by gorse and heather-covered hills, a living wall and warm earthy tones create a tranquil atmosphere, set off to perfection with ambient and task lighting. Specifying Classic Oak flooring from Karndean’s multi-format Van Gogh collection has allowed the spa to include a traditional oak design floor but also benefit from enhanced acoustic benefits and comfort underfoot.

Materials that provide the look of natural wood and stone but with the practical benefits of cutting-edge technology can help meet both biophilic aesthetics and technical specifications such as durability, slip resistance, hygiene, and acoustics. In addition, the latest LVT products come with environmental and indoor air quality certifications.

Fleur said: ‘As we emerge from the Covid pandemic, now is the time for us to heal through nature and develop a secure economy. With a realistic look of natural materials but also unrivalled design flexibility and technical resilience, Karndean flooring enables designers to create unique biophilic spaces that can help us adapt with our ever changing world. We see design as an endless journey that puts our connection with our environment at the very heart of what we do and this enables us to work together towards a sustainable future where we can all thrive.’

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