Category Archives: Biophilic Design

Pantone Color of the Year 2017: Greenery

Gretchen Wagner

2017 is finally here and with it comes the long anticipated opportunity to turn over a new leaf. In keeping with traditions it is also the time to celebrate Pantone’s Color of the Year, Greenery.

Throughout all seasons, Greenery is a reminder of vitality and prosperity; youthfulness and energy.

Greenery palette

Greenery hinges on the development of well being and self care trends that have been rising to the forefront of our minds while we contemplate the differences between health and healing, the group and the individual.

Shades of green are ubiquitous in nature. You can find Greenery nestled as a pop of color among soft pastels or paired with bolder shades of jewel toned orchids in an effort to transition us out of Winter. Root Greenery with deep mineral and rust tones for the perfect earthly balance and blur man made versus nature made by bringing the outdoors inside.

Greenery carpet palette

Ultimately, Greenery is about embracing our inherent connection to nature and the beneficial qualities that we absorb when surrounded by it. So as we transition and grow into 2017, remember to breathe deeply, enjoy matcha lattes and sliced avocados, barefoot walks along moss covered trails and cultivate some greenery in that urban apartment of yours.

Check out our Green Pinterest board below. Until next year my color loving friends. XOXO.

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TransferWise Transforms Office Design

Interface

Welcome to the era of a new “Googlefied” office. Tech start-ups have challenged conceptions of the modern working environment since companies such as Google and Facebook created their sought after workspaces, akin to playgrounds, for the professional generation Y. Now, scientific studies, including our Human Spaces report, have proven that worker’s concentration and productivity levels markedly improve when provided with variation and stimulation within the working environment.

Transferwise office

The three coordinating styles of Touch and Tones carpet tile offer a choice of pile height to make a space surprising.

Long gone are stale cubicle rows, dull carpets and strip lighting. In their place? Bright colors and artwork to inspire creativity. Break-out areas and the tools in which to “play,” interact and exchange ideas with colleagues. Quiet spaces with carefully refined acoustics in which to concentrate, escape and reflect for clarity of thought. These workplaces attract and retain the most talented of employees – and smart companies know that this is key in creating and maintaining a strong workforce in a competitive market.

Transferwise office

TransferWise harnessed this thinking for their recent office renovation in Estonia. As a fast-growing financial technology company (co-founded by an ex-Skype employee and backed by innovators such as Sir Richard Branson and PayPal founder, Peter Thiel) they are disrupting the world of currency exchange and flipping a gazillion dollar industry on its head.

Transferwise office

Interface is represented in Estonia by the agency Tekero, who has a great knowledge of design and understanding of the market. Tekero worked with interior design architects  Krista Thomson and Kärt Loopalu from bureau Superellips in designing the project. Young, creative and energetic, the TransferWise team boasts 30 plus nationalities within its staff. Krista and Kärt sought to reflect this in their playful and animated design, creating distinctive meeting rooms that pay respect to the interior styles of the team’s diverse cultures.

Transferwise office

Spanish warm yellows, a nod to Japan with calming white and red tones and a sumptuous Russian-themed room, amongst others, all invoke a relaxed and unique feel. The pièce de résistance? The iconic Unicorn Room. Guaranteed to start conversations and inspire a sense of fun.

Transferwise office

Designers Krista and Kärt sought to create workspaces that discouraged endless hours behind a computer at a fixed desk. Open, well-lit areas incorporating elements of biophilic design with green plants and huge windows create space and a sense of harmony. They provided an alternative solution to the modern grind and set the scene for employees to move around and really shake things up – sitting, lounging, meeting and even napping within a single space. It’s a non-traditional office environment that encourages a more social and collaborative dynamic – and it’s the future.

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Milan Design Week: Inspiration and Trends

Kari Pei

Milan Design Week 2016. A feast for the designer’s eye and a great time to soak up all sorts of inspiration and new design trends.

This year at Salone Mobile, I saw a playful, ‘70s’ influence throughout furniture and accessories, but modernized and spiced up with new twist on scale, shine and texture. A combination of metallic and matte surfaces, rounded corners and sleek Ming style influences dominated the show. Woven looks showed up frequently in seats, backs, canopies and bags, in everything from wide bands to thin strips of twine.

Milan Design Week

Furniture and accessories with a playful ’70’s influence, modernized and spiced up with a new twist.

Privacy cocooning was also prevalent through an abundance of canopy/winged chairs for one or more. Combined with oversized objects; including lamps and planters, the whimsy was underscored. Drawing even more emphasis on the adolescent themes were the many objects from a ‘70’s childhood made adult by gold plating.

Milan Design Week

Privacy cocooning combined with oversized objects add to the whimsical theme.

Giant plants and an abundance of foliage dominated the scene, lending support to the benefits of biophilic design. These indoor plants were often paired with furniture normally designed for the outdoors, like a picnic table lowered and made into an office coffee table, an interesting way to cultivate more of the “I’m really outside” mentality.

Milan Design Week

Giant plants and an abundance of foliage lend support to the benefits of biophilic design.

And the colors? I’d narrow them down to three distinct themes: the Dutch Masters, Giorgio Morandi and super brights with muted neutrals.

Milan Design Week

A variety of colors from super brights to muted neutrals.

Of course I snapped thousands of photos to capture all of the inspiring design during Milan Design Week, but my favorites are up on our Pinterest board. Take a peek below.

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Welcoming Biophilia in Hospitality

Interface

Ever since E.O. Wilson introduced the notion of biophilia in his 1984 book of the same name, there has been mounting evidence that humans are innately drawn to the natural world. It has been proven that views of nature enhance healing and that natural light promotes better learning. Clearly, our connection with nature has a pervasive influence. And design can be used to very effectively bridge the gap between the natural world and even the most urban environments. This phenomenon has been explored and documented in the workplace, in classrooms and in health facilities, where it shows a direct relationship to increased productivity, creativity and wellbeing. This has sparked great interest in how biophilic design might enhance the guest experience in hospitality.

hotel lobby

Design can be used to bridge the gap between the natural world and even the most urban environments. (Product: Human Nature Collection)

When asked about what impact the global trend towards biophilia is having on the hospitality industry, Lorraine Francis, director of hospitality interiors for Gensler, takes a long pause. “I feel passionate about that and I have an idea about the design science of things, but I think it’s been hard to articulate within the hospitality market.” She cites studies that have been done for the healthcare sector that examine how certain healing and wellness initiatives make financial sense by resulting in less PTO, for example. But when it comes to hospitality, there is currently very little quantified evidence to support biophilia. Which is why Francis is embarking on a research project in collaboration with several industry peers to come up with the metrics to make that possible. The goal of this project boils down to figuring out how to measure comfort, which translates into longer stays and increases repeat business. “You know when you walk into a space and you feel good, and when you walk into a space and you feel like it’s too tall or too wide or there’s some mechanical thing overhead that makes you feel creepy,” she explains. “It’s really hard to express that feeling, but that’s exactly what we need to interpret for the hospitality industry, because this kind of very fundamental reaction is what affects loyalty and, ultimately, dollars.”

This means examining every part of the guest room experience, from the bed to the pillows to the alarm clock, and understanding how the neurological system is affected by a direct connection to nature, whether through a window view or a carpet design. Studies exist that look at the number of steps taken to complete certain tasks; track where people gravitate to in a room; and determine where they sleep better. But Francis also sees the need to understand how this plays out in lobbies and indoor/outdoor public spaces. “How do you get around those long corridors? How do you let light in?” The answers to these questions are sure to illuminate a new, nature-inspired path in hospitality design—one that leads to a more efficient, more sustainable and much more comfortable world. One key touchpoint for Francis is Bill Browning’s 14 Patterns of Biophilic Design, published in 2014 by Terrapin Bright Green, which thoughtfully expounds upon “the relationships between nature, human biology and the design of the built environment.” To facilitate the transition from research to application, it posits a system of patterns that encourages the widespread design implementation of biophilia. “The way that Bill looked at biophilic design for office spaces is a model for our approach to hospitality,” says Francis, “and we need to make biophilia a bigger part of the conversation in this industry.”

hospitality guest room

Measuring the comfort of a space means examining every part of the guest room experience and understanding how the neurological system is affected by a direct connection to nature, whether through a window view or a carpet design. (Product: Springtime in Paris)

At Gensler, Francis oversees a multimillion-dollar design business that includes projects like the $40-million renovation and ballroom addition at The Phoenician in Scottsdale, AZ, and the $15-million public space renovation at the Sheraton Kauai Resort in Poipu Beach, HI. She got her start as an engineer and worked for Gensler earlier in her career before founding her own company, Càdiz Collaboration, to provide architectural, interior design and green consulting services to major spas and hospitality brands such as Xanterra Parks & Resorts, for whose El Tovar Hotel she sourced all materials within 500 miles of the property’s location on the Grand Canyon’s South Rim.

A major proponent of sustainability, Francis is a thought leader when it comes to calibrating the ideal balance between environmental awareness, powerful design and the bottom line. In an effort to make progressive movement in greening the hospitality industry, she founded Hotels+Green. This forum for sharing tips, case studies and best practices helps hospitality professionals stay current on sustainability trends and understand why sustainable hotels not only don’t cost more but can lead to savings, profitability and increased brand loyalty.

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A Love Letter to Nature

Interface

Dear Nature,

We didn’t always love you the way we do now. In fact for our first 21 years, we didn’t even realize how intrinsically we were connected to you. We didn’t know that our every action affects you. But then we were awakened, and we fell so deeply in love with you that others called us crazy. And our love for you transformed every aspect of ourselves – how we operate, how we make decisions – even our purpose. After all, how can a business be successful if it is harming you, the source of our life support system?

clouds in nature

Nature, do you remember the first time we came seeking your inspiration? We put aside our brash belief that we could solve every problem by ourselves, and we asked for your guidance. Admiring the beautiful and chaotic floors of your forests and meadows, we let go of our need to make every tile identical, and we embraced the untapped power of diversity. The world loved your innovative solution too.

Now here we are, decades into our love affair, and we are still learning from you—how your patterns can heal us, how your models can guide us. And we believe that reconnecting with our love for you will not only lead us to more circular systems, but also help us become healthier and more productive too. How amazing to learn that spending time with you, or in spaces designed to be evocative of you, may result in reduced stress levels, faster healing rates, and improved cognitive functioning!

room with nature light

We are finally learning from your generosity and asking ourselves what it would mean for us to be generous too. How could we contribute to spaces that facilitate wellbeing? How could our factories replenish your ecosystems? We are striving to be more like you and know we need your guidance now more than ever.

With love,
Interface

Fall back in love with nature and join the David Suzuki Foundation’s 30×30 Nature Challenge. Sign up here!

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