“You are a product of your environment...be careful of the environment you choose, for it will shape you."
— W. Clement Stone
You may not realize it but a substantial portion of your everyday actions are a response to the environment that surrounds you. American philanthropist and author, William Clement Stone famously wrote, "You are a product of your environment...be careful of the environment you choose for it will shape you."
The decisions you make, your emotional state and your sleeping patterns can all be influenced by the design and design features of your surrounding environment. Picture yourself working in a dark office building with low ceilings, few windows and loud air conditioners. Think of how you would feel by the end of the workday.
Now imagine yourself at a bright, spacious office; natural light filtered through temperature-controlled shades, exterior balconies and greenery. Why does this option sound so much better?
This same questions applies to why crashing waves intrigue us or why a walk in the park calms us - people have an innate biological connection with nature.
The term Biophilia is used to describe the belief that humans must connect to nature to thrive and flourish. Humans evolved in nature so it's no wonder why we have a visceral and instinctive desire to immerse ourselves in it.
Unfortunately today, nature takes a back seat to work deadlines. The world is rapidly urbanizing as we work longer hours and spend a startling 90% of our lives indoors. Stemming off of Biophilic beliefs, the influential author and Yale professor, Stephen R Kellert (1943-2016), recognized this stark disconnect from nature and coined Biophilic Design to connect us back to the outdoors though design and architecture.
People have an innate biological connection with nature
Traditionally, architects and interior designers were primarily focused on meeting a client's functional and aesthetic needs. Biophilic Design principles enable human-centered, thoughtfully designed spaces that include natural elements, such as access to daylight or wood and stone materials to stimulate our senses and improve our productivity, mood and overall wellbeing.
The designers at CAMA have supported Kellert's pioneering efforts for years by utilizing Biophilic Design principles in every single project. Today, as the Wellness industry rapidly grows, recognition of the direct correlation between access to nature and our wellbeing has spanned worldwide. In Germany, for example, the building code mandates occupants be within a certain distance of a window to ensure that employees' health and lives are not in danger, which according to Germans, is not possible in a windowless office. More countries are following Germany's footsteps, including the US, recognizing that wellbeing not only boosts productivity and creativity in the workplace, but acts as a preventative care initiative, reducing healthcare costs. With global interest and support, design teams are now more than ever, doing their part to empower wellbeing by connecting people back to their original, natural environment.
As the end of summer nears, make sure to spend some time outside and connect to your roots.
The designers at CAMA were deeply saddened to hear of Stephen Kellert's passing last November and will continue to honor his legacy through our design efforts.