Getting back to nature | Interior Garden CGI

Getting back to nature | Interior Garden CGI

Getting back to nature | Interior Garden CGI

Getting back to nature | Interior Garden CGI

Getting back to nature

Even before the C-bomb dropped, Brits spent 92% of ALL their time indoors. That’s less than two hours a day outside – of which 18 minutes is spent walking to and from the car.

Problem is, we know it’s beneficial to be in nature. There’s even evidence to suggest that the mere sight of greenery can reduce stress and restore feelings of wellbeing. But if we can’t lead people to nature, we must bring nature to people.

Room with a view

In 1993, environmental psychologist Roger Ulrich randomly assigned 160 heart surgery patients to one of six views: a bright tree-lined stream, a dark forest, two abstract paintings, a white panel and a blank wall.

Those patients assigned the water and trees were statistically less anxious and needed fewer painkillers than those who looked out onto the other scenes. It’s a compelling result in favour of connecting people to nature through biophilic design.

Plant technology

A couple of years back, Green-tech company Green City Solutions launched the world’s first intelligent biological air filter: the CityTree.

There’s one near our Soho office. At first sight, it just looks like a bench attached to a decorative living wall. But this wall has the pollution-absorbing power of 275 trees. It’s also completely self-sufficient, using solar energy to power its inbuilt irrigation system.

It’s a fantastic design that could help combat the rising air pollution in cities across the world. But we can all help by simply incorporating plants, specifically chosen to filter impurities, into our buildings.

Getting back to nature | City Tree

Getting back to nature | City Tree

Moss-covered CityTree bench designed to combat urban pollution.

The air we breathe

Companies like AirRated can assess indoor air quality. This is invaluable as indoor air can be up to ten times more contaminated than that outdoors. Toxins from paint, cleaning products and carpet adhesive, plus viral spores, float about freely inside our homes and offices.

We can, of course, install air filtration systems. But we can also use VOC-free paints,

which are allergen-free with zero toxic emissions. And we can source formaldehyde-free building materials. Rice straw MDF, for instance, is non-toxic and naturally mould resistant. Win-win.

Colourful and powerful

Brixton | Living Room & Fireplace | Angel O'Donnell

Brixton | Living Room & Fireplace | Angel O’Donnell

Soothing Inchyra blue walls. Design by Angel O’Donnell

Google ‘neutral scheme’ and you’ll find all sorts of articles for a cool and calm interior. But neutral colours – black, grey, white and brown – aren’t solely responsible for soothing the soul.

For example, passive colours like blue and green can help to calm the mind and aid mental focus.

While yellow and pink are active colours that can stimulate the brain and boost creativity.

So by allowing the function of each room to dictate the colour palette, we can cost-effectively improve wellbeing.

Healthy buildings. Healthy profits

Wellness real estate – i.e. buildings that intentionally incorporate wellness into their designs – is a £100billion industry. And this figure is expected to grow by 6% each year.

So it’s hardly surprising that there are now 1,394 construction projects in the UK that have registered for WELL Certification, the gold standard for advancing health in buildings.

Access to green spaces. Naturally ventilated rooms. LED tech that works with our circadian rhythms. Soundproofing. Water quality. Even the position of power points. It all needs to be considered if we’re to create healthy, habitable, profitable structures

“Now’s the time to develop strategies for improving our homes, offices and leisure spaces.” – Olga Turner Baker, CEO, Ekkist, Specialist Health and Wellbeing Consultancy

Header image: sourced from Wardian London.

Image 1: sourced from Dezeen.