“Biophilic design promotes positive interactions between people and nature that encourage an expanded sense of relationship and responsibility for the human and natural communities.”Stephen Kellert, the ‘Godfather of Biophilic Design’
- We recognise that the earth’s resources are finite and believe we should not breach the earth’s ecological boundaries to create thriving built environments.
- We believe re-imagining our buildings and cities as regenerative and self-sustaining systems to be of utmost importance.
- We challenge misconceptions of sustainability being the denial of exceptional design and promote creative approaches to resource use to create unique designs.
- We advocate for everyone to have access to healthy environments that support their wellbeing regardless of background, culture, disability, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation.
Our Vision for Human-Centred Regenerative Spaces
Interior building environments can have a positive effect on both the people who use the space and on the planet by using a Biophilic Design approach; incorporating direct and indirect contact with nature as well as considering human spatial responses.
As such, human-centred regenerative spaces will:
- Enhance a connection to, appreciation of, and desire to protect nature
- Improve air and water quality, improving occupants’ hydration and alertness
- Improve indoor acoustic environments and reduce noise pollution
- Ensure thermal comfort and reduce energy waste
- Maximise the use of natural light and enhance it with biodynamic lighting solutions
- Provide optimum visual and tactile stimulation
- Reduce stress and restore wellbeing, improve occupants’ sleep and encourage healthy behaviours
- Facilitate movement, providing a diverse choice of spaces
- Enhance a sense of community, whilst considering individual sensory needs
- Use pre-and post-occupancy evaluations, to ensure indoor environments fulfil occupant needs
Research found that installing a circadian lighting system in a workplace (connecting occupants with natural systems):
71% felt more energetic
76% felt happier
50% felt healthier
57% felt more alert
60% felt more motivated
In fact, it improved performance by 12%.
Advocates for change
A key aspect of our work is to educate others on how to reduce their environmental impact, whilst promoting human and planetary wellbeing within the design industry, and the commercial and domestic markets.
As thought leaders in Biophilic Design, we endeavor to spread awareness and create practical strategies for designing with people and planet at the forefront.
Through our research, writing and communications, we strive to make sustainable design accessible to all so that it will become an industry standard. For example, Oliver is the Biophilic Design Ambassador for Interface, Inc., delivering workshops and seminars to architects and designers around the world to promote the use of human-centred design in the workplace industry.
We have also worked with the BRE, Interface, Inc. and Schneider Electric to create a range of educational design guides to offer best practice insights and guidelines on sustainability and wellbeing in the built environment.
Working with organisations such as the Energy Saving Trust (EST), The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the Waste Resource Action program (WRAP) has helped further our own approach to sustainability.
As a founding member of Interior Design Declares, Oliver Heath Design has pledged to take positive action in response to the climate and biodiversity emergency. Having helped to draft the policy, we aspire to incorporate these commitments in our work:
- Raise awareness of the climate and biodiversity emergencies and the urgent need for action amongst our clients and supply chains.
- Advocate for faster change in our industry towards regenerative design practices and a higher Governmental funding priority to support this.
- Share knowledge and research to that end on an open-source basis.
- Evaluate all new projects against the aspiration to contribute positively to mitigating climate breakdown and encourage our clients to adopt this approach.
- Work towards including life cycle costing, whole life carbon modelling and post-occupancy evaluation as part of our basic scope of work, to reduce both embodied and operational resource use.
- Work with others in the construction industry to upgrade existing buildings for extended use as a more carbon-efficient alternative to demolition and new build whenever there is a viable choice.
- Act to address the disproportionate impact of these crises on disadvantaged communities and ensure that all mitigation and adaptation efforts address the needs of all people.
- Ensure diverse and inclusive principles are implemented in hiring and retaining staff so that people of all backgrounds can participate in decision-making about the future of the designed environment.
- Request 3rd party certification or similar demonstration of environmental provenance and impact for each product specified.
- Adopt more regenerative design principles in our studios, with the aim of designing spaces which go beyond the standard of net-zero carbon, including the specification of ultra-low energy appliances.
- Accelerate the shift to low embodied carbon materials in all our work. Seek to reuse and recycle products and materials at every available opportunity.
- Minimise wasteful use of resources in interior design, both in quantum and in detail.
- Collaborate with all members of the industry to further reduce construction and packaging waste.
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