Biophilic Design in the Office




The cubicle has really gained a reputation throughout the years. For many, it’s one of those “things we love to hate.” So much so, that Wired published an article titled “These Are The Saddest Office Cubicles We Could Find” in which readers were asked to tweet a photo of their “depressing” workspace with the hashtag #SadDesk. The saddest workspaces were posted on Wired’s website. Small, crowded and lacking natural light, the cubicles in the article look awfully familiar.




Many Americans spend a large amount of time in the office. Some find themselves in a cubicle or private office with no windows or access to natural light.  The fortunate few are lucky enough to have a view of the outdoors from their workstation. I say “fortunate”  because an environment completely devoid of nature can actually have negative effects on those within the space.




The best spaces are designed from the ground up to cultivate creativity, inspire productivity, and help people feel more in touch with their purpose. A growing number of studies have shown that viewing nature can alleviate workplace stress, promote involuntary or primitive attention, and improve health and well-being. A proximity to nature is key.


Biophilic Design


Biophilic design is an innovative design method which focus regards the human connection between nature and the built environment. In the past, we frequently designed our cities and suburbs in techniques that degrade the environment and actually alienate us from nature. Biophilic design unites us with nature in spaces that have normally felt sterile or bare. The idea is that by combining architecture with agriculture, we as inhabitants can feel better, healthier, and happier. After all, we are wired to crave the natural world.




Beyond the aesthetics of biophilia, biophilic design should also aim towards causing minimal negative impact to the environment.  A built environment inspired by biophilia should enhance our capacity to care for the well-being of our planet.





Interface’s Net Effect was inspired by the ocean and its beauty and power. The color and movement of the ocean was incorporated into the carpet design. The collection has multiple blues within its design and successfully portrays the depths of the ocean in all its wonder. At Interface, they see the product as more than just the design and what one can physically see; they see it as an opportunity to make the world a better place. Through Interface’s Net-Works program, discarded fishing nets from impoverished communities in Asia and Africa are taken and recycled into carpet tile.


Interface has been identified as one of the 2017 Sustainability Leaders of The GlobeScan/SustainAbility Survey. Read more about the survey results here.





Interface’s Human Connections, which was just released at NeoCon 2017, was inspired by areas of respite where nature is present, nurtured to grow in the environment or simply there by its own persistence.




Interface’s +Positive spaces paves the way to better design. The concept behind Interface‘s +Positive spaces is to use nature as a muse by creating positive human impact indoors through a connection to the outdoors. Their carpet collection, Urban Retreat, does just that at Friends of the Earth’s office facility. The collection explores man’s connection with natural elements and the intersection of nature and manmade materials. 





Just released at NeoCon this month, Mowhawk Group‘s Lichen Collection is the first flooring product to achieve the International Living Future Institute’s Living Product Challenge Petal Certification, a framework for manufacturers to create products that are healthy, inspirational and give back to the environment. The product also won a “Best of NeoCon” Gold at NeoCon 2017.


Inspired by the idea of “Nature’s Carpet,” the anchor of the collection is a large-scale field of lichen “blooms” that change in shape and form by colorway.





Check out this infographic from Teknion for more information on biophilia.