The recent trend of biophilic design within modern architecture has rightly been seen as a way of ‘bringing the outside in,’ improving visual aesthetics and helping people feel at one with nature, even when they’re inside.
And in the mental health sector, it appears that the principle of biophilia may have even more applicability, as many people involved in the design and building of challenging environments are considering the healing power of nature, as a way of aiding recovery, reducing stress and improving mental wellbeing.
This blog aims to explore the importance of biophilic design in challenging environments, such as mental health and secure settings.
We’ll also evaluate how our unique manufacturing process incorporates biophilic principles, whilst delivering safe solutions for service users.
Read on to find out more…
What Is Biophilia?
Awareness of mental health has never been more prevalent in today’s society, and more and more people are looking for ways to improve their mental wellbeing.
Biophilia, whilst already a widely discussed topic in some circles, is something that is yet to receive wide attention from mainstream media.
So, here’s our brief definition of what biophilia means to us:
Biophilia means ‘love of nature’ and it focuses on our innate attraction to nature and natural processes. It is attributed to our deep-rooted, primitive beginnings of as hunter gatherers, and later agrarian settlers.
The industrial revolution and the rise in urbanisation all over the world led American biologist, Edward O Wilson, to popularise the term. Back in the 1980s, he suggested that increased rates of urbanisation had led to disconnection from the natural world, which negatively impacts our health and well-being.
With this increasing awareness, architects are now designing buildings that incorporate greenery, use of natural materials and strategic consideration of light and air.
Biophilic Design In Mental Health & Challenging Environments
Whilst every population demographic from educational settings to the corporate workforce can take advantage of biophilic principles, service users in mental health and challenging environments appear particularly likely to benefit from this design methodology, and biophilic elements in the design of new build mental health units have been increasingly common in recent years.
Specific features might include wall coverings featuring outdoor scenes, strategic placement of furniture and fittings relative to windows to make better use of exterior views and daylight, reorientation of air flow, the use of water features etc.
How Do Tough Furniture Incorporate Biophilic Principals?
Our understanding of mental health, challenging environments and special needs provision has led us to manufacture a range of products that improves the safety and well-being of service users.
In considering biophilic principals, Tough Furniture’s continued use of wood grains – as opposed to more institutional materials such as moulded plastics – applies a natural feel to any given setting.
We’re strong advocates of creating an environment that feels comfortable, characterised as somewhere that’s as ‘close to home as you can get’. This is hugely important when individuals in residential care are away from their homes, in unfamiliar surroundings.
During our manufacturing process, we incorporate traditional joinery principals and timber products to strike the right balance between safe, robust furniture and the need for a more therapeutic aesthetic.
Admittedly this is sometimes a hard balance to strike, and as with all our products, the first priority has to be the safety of the end user – but as we grow and develop as a company we remain open to any developments, such as the biophilia movement, that will help us deliver the best solutions for challenging environments.
Our product catalogue is forever evolving, and we’ll be continuing to manufacture with biophilia in mind.
If you’d like any more information on how we can enhance your setting, talk to one of our advisors today.