Can the outdoors improve your concentration, creativity, and problem-solving skills?
Bringing the outdoors in is a long-standing design concept such as trees in shopping malls and offices, the use of natural colors and finishes, outdoor materials such as stone, unfinished wood, and brick. While bringing the outside in is beneficial, it is no substitute for actually getting outdoors. This idea is supported by the biophilia hypothesis, which argues that humans have an innate desire to seek connections with nature. This hypothesis has received increasing acceptance amongst scientists, sociologists, architects, and interior designers – and for good reason. Recent studies have suggested that spending time in nature can lead to increased focus, improved creative thinking and problem solving, and increased happiness. These benefits can have a dramatic impact employee engagement, retention, and productivity.
One great example of biophilic design is The Spheres, in Seattle, Washington. Completed in 2017, The Spheres consist of more than 40,000 plants housed inside three massive glass orbs. Developed by online retail titan, Amazon, The Spheres was designed to provide a creativity-inspiring rainforest greenhouse workspace for their often overworked and desk-bound staff. While the exterior of this design phenomenon appears quite futuristic, the interior looks like an office park that has been consumed by more than 400 plant species – many of them tropical. The top floor of The Spheres includes a brainstorming area, affectionately referred to as the “birds’ nest.”