Biophilic design. It might not be a term you are familiar with, but the principles behind it are shaping much of the interest in plants and home design we have been seeing lately.
Biophilic design refers to creating indoor environments that reference nature in both obvious and subtle ways. At its core biophilic design is the complete integration of nature with how we live. The creation of entire systems, particularly in cities, that design for maximum human contact with nature to enhance our mental and physical well-being.
Singapore has become widely known for its biophilic approach to city design.
In the 1980’s, biologist Edward O. Wilson renewed interest in the idea of biophilia. His idea was that humans have an innate, even genetic, predisposition to be connected to nature. A connectivity with the natural world that is key to our mental and physical wellbeing.
Countless studies back Wilson up. They have shown evidence of the positive benefits of human interaction with nature, such as improved productivity, lower levels of stress, enhanced learning and improved recovery rates following illness. In fact, doctors are increasingly prescribing time spent in nature rather than prescription drugs for a number of maladies, from obesity and diabetes to anxiety and depression.
Oslo University Hospital constructed a cabin in an adjacent forest to help patients and their families during recovery.
In large urban centres like Toronto, it is not always easy to have a connection to nature. Often cities lack the green space that is so important to our health and mental wellbeing. For many, getting outside of the city to access natural space is not practical or realistic. For these reasons, indoor plants become an important connection to nature.
If you have been into our shop, you have seen the importance we place on both plants and household goods made of natural materials (we limit goods primarily made of plastics and metals). While a complete redesign of your living space to integrate biophilic principles is often not practical, the thoughtful addition of plants to your living space offers a multitude of benefits to your physical and mental health.
Many of the items we carry feature stone and wood, materials that bring a natural element into your home. Featured: Quinqué Tealight Lamp by And Jacob.
Incorporating plants into our homes, offices, and everyday lives, we can use the principles of biophilic design to feel happier, healthier, less stressed and more rested. For those of us living in apartments and condos that don't offer an abundance of space, you don’t need many plants to gain these benefits, if you just start off with one or two easy house plants, you will quickly realize the amazing benefits and satisfaction these plants bring to your life.
Rather than thinking of plants in a purely aesthetic manner, at Merchant of York we encourage you to consider how plants will fit into your life. Match the environmental conditions you have along with your lifestyle to achieve the greatest chance of success. When you view plants through the lens of your health and wellness, it offers an entirely new dimension to choosing plants for your home.
Repotting a plant is fundamental to keeping it healthy. Don't fear doing it, look at it as an opportunity to learn more about the plant.
We offer ourselves as guides to making meaningful choices when integrating plants into your life. More than hoping to just keep your plants alive, we encourage you to take an active role in their health. Create the conditions for them to thrive. Don't buy plants to look at, buy them to be a part of your life. Care for them. Get your hands dirty. Learn about them, not just from Google, but by interacting with them. Plants have so much more to offer than something pretty to look at.
- A Window to Better Living: Four Projects That Embody Patterns of Biophilic Design
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