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01 February 2024 | Case story

Creating a better workplace with biophilic design

From increased productivity to greater mental well-being. An outdoor experience in an office environment does so much more than make workers feel good. Workplace environments that respond to the human need for nature and greenery are more popular than ever and the subject of many a scientific study. Or how biophilic design is an emerging international trend.

Feeling just as comfortable in the office as you would in nature? Biophilic design is a hot trend in workplace design, and it’s easy to see why. This design philosophy applies principles of nature to create a healthy, quality, and productive environment in the workplace. From outdoor workspaces to offices with greening, more natural materials, and natural light” says Dirk Wynants, the founder, owner, and designer of Extremis. “This outdoor experience in the workplace is a long and gradual process, that has always been an instrumental part of our quest for the ideal office design. It is also something that I value. Because there is more to providing an outdoor experience than building an outdoor office or adding a few plants to your office. It is about the height of the space, the use of colour, natural rounded shapes, good acoustics (there is no such thing as bad acoustics in nature) and feeling secure in the workplace.

Dirk Wynants: “The impact of the outdoor experience within office spaces goes much further than just a good feeling.”

Scientific research has shown that a biophilic workplace environment boosts our mental well-being in addition to reducing work-related pressure and stress levels and promoting concentration, productivity, and creativity.” Moreover, natural light results in 51% less eye fatigue and 63% fewer headaches. So, you can see how far we have strayed from our human nature with the artificial environment that we live and work in today, spending an average of 20 hours of our day indoors. “We have floor to ceiling windows in our Extremis showroom and offices to improve this relationship or connection between the indoors and outdoors. And we also focus on the dual use of our furniture – both indoors and outdoors – for maximising the outdoor experience. Architects and interior designers have already made effective use of our tools for togetherness in biophilic spaces. Sticks and Virus are good examples of how we support this new approach with our designs. But ultimately, an office design is largely dependent on the company's management style." Food for thought.

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