HOW TO USE THE FLOOR TO CREATE A BIOPHILIC WORKPLACE INTERIOR

In our blog 5 WAYS IN WHICH FLOORING CAN IMPROVE WORKPLACE WELL-BEING we referenced how naturalistic, or ‘biophilic’ inspired workplace interiors help calm the senses and promote positive mental health in employees. Exploring this idea further, in this blog we consider what this means for today’s workplace interiors and how the latest development in floor coverings can help you achieve biophilic bliss.

What is Biophilic Design IN 2024?

As a key design trend for the past decade, it could be argued that biophilic design has now transcended the notion of a trend to become more of a philosophy in the way that we live and work. If that’s the case, design that is both deeply connected to nature and human-centred is probably here to stay. So how can we progress workplace interiors in a way that embraces biophilic principals even more profoundly?

In floor coverings, design and manufacturing technologies are continuing to advance and push boundaries for what can be achieved in designing biophilic workplace interiors. More sophisticated natural aesthetics are emerging to give fresh new design perspectives that make no compromise on functional performance and minimise environmental impact.

Broaden Your Colour Horizon

A biophilic colour palette isn’t just about neutrals and greens. Extending into pops of sunshine yellows, sky blues and coral pinks can open up new design possibilities that are on-trend and retain that close connection with nature. For workplace design, expanding your palette in a co-ordinated way creates more opportunities to define, highlight and zone workspaces in a beautiful new way.

Tracing Landscapes Moodboard Blue V4
Tracing Landscapes
Today’s more ‘well-being aware’ agile workspaces are all about providing variety and choice for different workstyles and preferences. As colour blending techniques and technical capabilities in digital dye injection continue to advance, broader, more complex colour palettes are now available in carpet tiles that reflect the more nuanced shades of nature. Co-ordinating these into a series of adjacent spaces in the workplace can create a beautifully calming work environment.

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In the same way that paint manufacturers evolve their colour cards, the earthy brown, sandy neutrals and watery blues of carpet are evolving to reflect a multi-layered relationship with nature and a more rounded biophilic experience.

As we learn more about the needs of neuro-divergent employees, providing space and choice in the workplace with soft and comforting colour palettes is becoming even more important. And, if you do feel the need to reach for the neutrals, there are a host of new contemporary neutral tones out there to embrace.

Tracing Landscapes - Geography Leson
Tracing Landsapes - Geography Lesson

Use the Beauty of Biophilic Pattern

In carpet tiles and planks, digital print technology continues to advance as a means of patterning and is uniquely capable of recreating nature with incredible realism. The gentle free-flowing organic patterns and subtle colour shifts found in the natural world work perfectly in a biophilic workplace interior. The precise nature of the technology allows graphic details like never before allowing visual representations of nature to come alive on the floor. Milliken’s latest carpet plank design range Painted Garden perfectly illustrates the intricate possibilities of what can be achieved now and what the future holds for carpet design.

Biophilic Flooring Pattern
Painted Garden

For the work environment, mimicking the harmonious colours and patterns of the natural environment has been shown to improve mental health and lift the spirits. On a practical level for workplace interior design projects, this type of print design technology for carpet tiles and planks also favours product availability and fast turnaround times.

And it’s not just carpet design technologies that are evolving. In Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVT) photorealistic impressions of natural materials like wood and stone onto robust flooring materials have advanced so much that it’s often hard to tell the difference between the ‘real’ product and its digitally emulated counterpart.

Reflect the Textures of Nature

For the latest generation of LVT, technically accurate surface textures now make these products feel as well as look realistic. Close your eyes and run your fingers over a Milliken LVT wood plank and you can feel the grain and knots of a real wood floor. And it doesn’t stop there, carefully engineered bevelled edges give that final flourish in recreating the aesthetic of wood. Equally, the smoothness of a polished concrete slab or the slight roughness of a mineral stone styled LVT tile feels surprisingly real. 

First Call - On-Point LVT at BMJ First Call - On-Point LVT at BMJ

So why choose these ‘deep fakes’?  Beyond the clear cost advantage of LVT compared to natural materials for creating biophilic interiors, advances in wear performance with tough surface finishes, that don’t leave indentations, make these alternatives much easier to maintain. As ‘loose-lay’ products, depending on the space, they require minimal adhesives, and often none at all, so are also quick and easy to install.

With a growing design trend for more home-from-home workplace interiors, carpet textures also offer an additional biophilic dimension. In solution dyed yarn tufted carpets, sculpted textures, tip-sheard finishes and multi-level loops can provide an additional luxurious textural dimension that looks and feels organic.

Continue to Care for the Planet

Creating a biophilic-inspired workplace interior that reflects the natural environment should also take care of the natural environment, and the people living and working in it. These flooring specification guidelines will help steer you towards selecting biophilic floor designs for workspaces that are also mindful of the health and well-being of its occupants:

  • Material content – choose floor coverings with high levels of recycled material content while maintaining their performance characteristics.

  • Transparency certification – voluntary labelling programmes such as Declare® will give you clear visibility of a product’s material content

  • Indoor air quality – off-gassing from furnishing materials, including floor coverings, can negatively impact air quality, particularly where ventilation is poor. Chose products certified as having low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) levels. The latest adhesive-free installation methods can also minimise and eliminate VOCs.

  • Carbon neutral floor coverings – seek out floor coverings that leave no negative impact on the planet.

  • Product longevity – the longer a product performs, the less it will need replacing and the lighter its environmental footprint will be. Long product wear warranties will give some assurance that a floor covering will stand the test of time.

Find out more about choosing low-VOC flooring in our blog: SPECIFYING FLOOR COVERINGS FOR OPTIMUM INDOOR AIR QUALITY

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