Blue and the workspace – the new biophilia

As I’ve discussed before, there are links between Biophilic design in the workplace and improving mental health and productivity. However, what I did not mention in my previous article was the introduction of water and blue spaces into the concept of Biophilic design.

Professor Miles Richardson discussed the lost relationship between humanity and nature in the most recent release of the Extinction Rebellion newspaper. The introduction of blue spaces into urban areas could help this disconnect. Notably, there has been great past success after introducing water features into cities. For example, the redirected Birmingham canal, the Tyne in Newcastle, and Liverpool docks. Professor Sir Alister Hardy also comments ‘there is something deeply profound about water and humans.’.

There’s a reason Victorian doctors suggested the sea air to get over an illness. the European centre for environment and human health found that those who lived closer to the sea reported being happier in everyday life. Furthermore, Roger Ulrich’s research has found that while images with green had a positive response, images with green AND blue were the most positive.

The introduction of water into the workspace doesn’t have to be a large expensive water feature. To reap the positive effects of blue features in the workspace something as simple as blue walls, water walls or fish tanks could be used.

There has been a study by Glasgow Caledonian University that suggests workspaces near docks, canals, rivers and oceans can make people feel more creative. Moreover, 1/3 of people said situating workplaces near to water made them more productive. It has also been proven that blue spaces make offices more relaxing and less confining.

Personally, I benefit from our office being situated in the countryside, with views across fields. That alongside the noises of nature, create a very calming environment. Not all offices benefit from this and where we have introduced biophilia into projects in the past, we have had positive feedback. This can also be achieved through uses of colour or natural materials.” Matt Brookes, Interior Designer at The Workspace Consultants

The connotations of the colour blue could also explain evidence of increased relaxation and productivity. Blue has been linked to intellect, causing increased brain activity and creativity. Blue is often also associated with calm. Interestingly, blue light has even been linked to lowering blood pressure. And, blue can help memory – one is more likely to remember words written in blue ink.

Have a look at the projects we have used biophilia...

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