Workplace interiors: bringing the outdoors inside

Green is good

Research suggests that potted plants absorb office pollutants and dust, and can even reduce the number of sick days. In one study, psychologists from Cardiff University found that introducing greenery into a drab working environment led to a 15% rise in output. They observed an improvement in staff concentration levels and satisfaction, with lead researcher Marlon Nieuwenhuis even commenting that: “landscaping the office with plants will pay off through an increase in office workers’ quality of life”.

Potted plants are a great starting point when you’re looking inject life into an office interior by bringing the outdoors inside – but why stop there? To create a contemporary office space you need to do more than simply shoehorn greenery into an existing space. When you get it right, the result can be truly inspirational working environments.

A marriage of philosophy

The team at office design and build company Peldon Rose recently  worked with Friends of the Earth to design their new London offices, and understandably they were keen to incorporate nature in to their office space. A moss wall and rain forest open spaces underpin the office’s green credentials, as well as create an inspiring place to work.

Similarly, Just Giving also have the natural environment play a central role in their new offices design. Plants, natural light and greenery is present throughout the flowing, open space.

In both cases there is a great sense of freedom and wellbeing. As the research proves, this is not just a feeling – by bringing the outdoors inside, staff benefit from the calming and cleansing benefits of working around living plants.

The next level

Perhaps the most ambitious example that you can find of bringing the outdoors inside is at Google’s London HQ . They wanted a space that had a sense of belonging, so when it came to incorporating the outside environment, it was a matter of balancing the urban grit of the London metropolis with the need for green.

The solution? Recreate a mini Hyde Park in the central atrium, of course! It has grass, trees, deck chairs and even a boating lake (complete with rowing boat). Any workers who tire of the park can simply hop on the Routemaster bus that’s parked up as a meeting space.

There is a genuine sense of place; a connection with the outside that champions the best of urban environment. The outcome is perhaps the ultimate in bringing the outdoors inside, and an enviable place to work.

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