LOOKBOOK THE GREEN OFFICE DESIGN
Inspired by the great outdoors, the Green Office Design infuses lush greenery, natural light & organic textures into our workspaces, rekindling our love affair with nature and encouraging us to be kinder to our planet.
A CRAVING FOR GREEN
For too long, being at work in the office and being one with nature have been two separate mindsets; we often think that one is exclusive of the other. Corporate culture today forces average office workers to spend most of their time and lives confined indoors, usually isolated from and oblivious to nature outside. It’s no wonder why many of us are feeling fatigued and crave to be outdoors again.
Over the past couple of decades, there’s been a growing conscious effort to reconnect with Mother Nature and be more gentle to our depleted planet. Companies in various industries are jumping on trend with biophilic design and going green wherever we look. Etsy’s New York’s headquarters incorporates abundant vegetation in their offices while promoting bicycle commute to its employees. Amazon unveiled early in 2021 a nature-infused helix design for its second headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. And tech giants like Apple and Google are taking the initiative by setting a goal to be completely carbon-free by 2030.
In understanding the benefits of biophilic design and the urgency to save Earth, we’re ready to go green too.
THE SOUND OF NATURAL ACOUSTICS
Nevins Bio Canvas reconnects us with nature, as well a provide great room acoustics.
WHAT IS A GREEN OFFICE?
What is a Green Office? The Green Office was originally a term coined for its focus on sustainability, recycling, and use of clean energy. It traditionally refers to a structure or workspace that strives to be environmentally responsible and energy efficient, enforcing Earth-conscious practices that help to reduce pollution and lessen damage to our environment.
Today, Green Office Design is so much more: It rekindles our relationship with nature while incorporating both the principles and benefits of biophilic design into our offices. It promotes a healthier, happier way of working as we continue to be more conscious of decreasing our carbon footprint and sustaining our planet.
THE FEEL OF REAL WOOD
Clever, wood design details add warmth into any workspace.
GREEN ROOTS & BIOPHILIC OFFICE DESIGN
The concept of reintroducing humans to nature is a fairly recent one. American biologist Edward Wilson proposed the idea in 1984, stating that modern society needed reform in the shape of humans affiliating more with nature. Architect Nikos Salingaros then proposed that we should bring biophilic design into our buildings and workspaces to help create a positive healing environment. Biophilic design originated from the “biophilia” definition of having the inherent human instinct to connect with nature, even in the modern world. For a long time however, people weren’t interested in preserving the environment, nor the benefits a biophilic office could offer. It’s only recently as we witness the negative effects of global warming and our disconnectedness from nature that people are now taking action. Going green has seen an explosion in popularity the past decade, and continuous to grow in momentum especially as it embraces biophilic office ideas. It forges our renewed love affair with nature, thus fueling the Green Office interior design movement to help us reconnect with our natural surroundings.
THE POSITIVITY OF PLANTS
Plants help reduce noise levels & stress, while boosting productivity & creativity.
BENEFITS OF THE GREEN OFFICE DESIGN
While the Green Office Design serves as a way to reconnect humans with nature, there are other health benefits that add onto why it should be incorporated into the workplace. In early human history, humans roamed the earth as hunters, scavengers, and explorers outdoors — up until evolving and settling into urban cities where modern day conditions and cultures require that they stay indoors for large amounts of time. Today, a great number of people suffer from anxiety and depression, as well as fatigue and illnesses, largely attributed to the damaging effects of sedentary office habits. Many find that periodically getting up and going outside, in contact with the natural elements, have shown to reduce stress and increase positivity. Exposure to and interaction with nature enhances mood, creativity, and productivity, even having a significant impact on anxiety. Several studies from the University of Minnesota cite that more than two-thirds of people choose to retreat to a natural setting because nature heals.
FROM OCEAN TO OFFICE
Humanscale utilizes 2 pounds of recycled fishing nets in every Smart Ocean Chair, helping to save our oceans from the ravages of discarded nets.
With innovative mesh technology & self-adjusting recline, Smart Ocean provides the most rigorous & sustainable construction in a state-of-the-art ergonomic chair.
50 SHADES OF GREEN
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different shades of green, as well as volumes & textures.
BREAKING AWAY FROM THE OLD
Today, the current work environment is revolutionizing itself. Many companies are breaking away from the traditional mindset of grueling 8-hour workdays confined within a sterile, indoor workspace with very few breaks in between. Studies indicate that that path only leads to employees being unhappy and burnt out, with lower productivity and quality of work. Now, employers are paying more attention to how to cater to employees’ well being, understanding that the work environment and how it’s set up are directly related to the overall efficiency and productivity of their workers; and by going green and incorporating biophilic design into the workplace, it infuses a positive, renewed energy and office culture that benefit all parties involved: the people, the company and the environment.
THE FEEL OF HOME
Make it feel like home by adding planters & pots to your office space.
HOW TO CREATE A GREEN OFFICE
Part of having the Green Office Design is creating the multi-sensory experience of bringing the great outdoors in. There are four factors to consider: sight, smell, touch, and sound. Designers need to consider how natural elements stimulate the senses and thus kindle self-awareness and focus. This will help with incorporating Green Office ideas into your workspace design.
Sight is the most obvious sense out of the four. With sight, the questions to consider are how you can integrate plant life, natural light, colors of nature, open views of nature, and natural materials to stimulate mindfulness. Designing an open space with plenty of natural light is important because workers can sync up their biological clock to the rise and setting sun to promote healthier work hours.
Smell is another factor that subtly adds to the biophilic experience. The aroma of plant life around workers can inspire feelings of rootedness and well-being.
Touch is all about incorporating features of natural surfaces, like wood texture, and tactile fabrics like wool into the workplace. Humans are inherently drawn to natural materials because they have been proven to bring comfort, warmth, and authenticity to interior spaces.
Sound can come in the form of birds singing or tranquil waters rippling and bubbling. In a study by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, it was discovered that the sound of water proved to be a productive source of white noise, functioning as a ‘speech masker’ that covers distracting speech and increases productivity as a result.
GREEN OFFICE IDEAS
According to Terrapin Bright Green’s paper ’14 Patterns of Biophilic Design,’ there are three groups of patterns that can help us define and understand how to apply Green Office design ideas into our workspaces:
Nature in Space: The green office can’t be made by just placing a few potted plants around the workplace. In this category, Nature in Space relates to how the natural world can be a tangible presence through the views, sounds, touch, and scents of nature. OFS’s application of LeanTo in front of a living wall (Image 4) is a perfect example of this category because it provides an immersive experience with nature and offers connections with greenery and natural systems.
Natural Analogies: Natural Analogies use elements to create an indirect connection to nature. By mimicking the details of nature with fabrics, artwork, lights, shapes, and patterns, it can trick the brain into a sense of well-being and relaxation associated with the natural world. Nevins’ Bio Canvas application (Image 23) uses various preserved natural materials to create a wall panel that not only benefits the room’s acoustics, but also stimulates the senses with patterns mimicking natural textures, patterns, and shapes.
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GREEN OFFICE SUSTIANABILITY
Despite what it sounds like, the Green Office isn’t necessarily green in the sense that most people used to think about when they say, “going green.” When companies boast that they are “going green,” they typically mean it in the sense of being energy efficient and cutting down on waste. The most popular examples would be solar power or windmills that provide an environmentally friendlier alternative for energy.
Today, the Green Office Design goes deeper into sustainability and defines it not just in terms of environmental pollution, natural resource depletion, and atmospheric diversity. It also speaks to our being one with nature, and promoting more lasting sustainable practices in the long run by forging positive attachments between us and the places we spend time in the most. If we as a people care more about our natural surroundings within the spaces we live and work in — and thus foster a stronger relationship with nature — then we’ll be more willing to consciously make the efforts necessary to protect our planet and lead a sustainable way of life.
THE OUTDOORS INDOORS
The look of raw, organic tree stumps brings the great outdoors in.
GREEN OFFICE DESIGN IDEAS & FURNITURE RESOURCES
A Special Thanks to our Commercial Office Furniture Partners: Groupe Lacasse, Humanscale, Indiana Furniture, Loftwall, Nevins, Nucraft, OFS, Rouillard and Stylex