As lockdown eases many Britons are asking, just what is the ‘new normal’? Masked pedestrians, queues for supermarkets and hand sanitiser stations have become familiar features of the urban landscape.
For work-from-home professionals, adjusting to lots of time indoors is a common complaint. The solution? Bring nature into your at-home office spaces.
The idea isn’t altogether new. Over the past few years, green-thumbed millennials have fallen back in love with the humble house plant; though this may have more to do with the difficulty of securing outdoor space than an innate affinity for pothos and peace lilies.
Lockdown has brought the problem into sharp relief. And one solution many have turned to is the trend of ‘biophilic lighting’.
Biophilia literally translates to ‘a love of nature’, and biophilic lighting recreates the sun’s natural glow. It’s a concept that top interior designers have been embracing for years.
“Biophilia is discussed frequently in the design world,” says lighting designer Claire Hope. “There are clear links between spending time in nature and reduced stress and anxiety, lowered heart rate and increased levels of empathy and kindness.”
Increased remote working can place greater strain on eye health, as we swap face-to-face meetings for yet more time at our screens. And the constant exposure to artificial lighting and extended time indoors may be likewise damaging.
“We are being kept in a tepid environment ranging from around 10 – 500 lux as these light levels do not change or move throughout the day,” adds Claire.
“Nature is never still. For me, the answer lies in the idea of movement and change.
“Going forward, I hope to see more lighting designers taking the leap into embracing the harder to define and more artistic lighting techniques that bring elements of movement and pattern into our homes and workplaces.”
At Gwyn Carless at The Light Yard, we champion the benefits of biophilic design and have seen it as an exciting challenge to incorporate natural elements into our luminaires. We’ve been inspired by biophilia in the creation of many of our fixtures since long before lockdown began.
Here are three easy ways to incorporate biophilic design into your home…
Appeal to the senses
You can start adding biophilic elements to your home by recreating the sensory experience of nature. Think about the smell of flowers, the glow of sunlight and the sound of rushing water.
All our senses play into our experience of being immersed in nature. And the closer you get to recreating this experience the more likely you are to reap the benefits.
Consider installing a water feature, bolstering your collection of house plants or installing a ‘living wall’. With a range of prices to suit practically any budget, these important first steps will contribute enormously to the sense of calm and serenity within your home.
Create a varied experience
Whether it’s a cold wind or a warm breeze, subtle changes in temperature and airflow are an integral part of being outside.
These elements occur in the home as well. When the sun passes over a window or you’re in shadows and shade, you experience the natural variations of the outdoors.
You can enhance the effect by using window treatments or glazing to create more ventilation throughout the house. Exposure to these natural cycles creates sensory variation, disrupting stagnant artificial light and temperatures.
Experiment with light and shadow
Biophilic lighting is all about the interplay between light and shadow. You can create this exchange by experimenting with dynamic or diffused light that mimics sunlight, moonlight or even the twinkle of stars.
Our own master craftsman Gwyn Carless has created an array of beautiful, handcrafted fixtures which do just that. The Alchemist Collection combines elegant, contemporary British design with dimmable LED filament bulbs that allow you to adjust the effect and intensity of your lighting.
As we adjust to more time indoors, it’s important to consider how our spaces can be enhanced to make us happier, healthier and more productive. Incorporating biophilic design into our homes makes them more attuned to nature’s daily cycles and rhythms, recreating the sensory experiences - and benefits - that come with the great outdoors.
For more information, contact The Light Yard on +44 (0)330 2233 940 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To keep up with the latest lighting design tips and trends, follow us on our social channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.