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Biophilic Design Brings Big Benefits to Meetings

July 10, 2019

The bond between humans and other living systems is undeniable. Many people tend to thrive in nature, turning to calming ocean waters, lush gardens or a majestic mountaintop to alleviate stress. There’s actually a term for this connection; Biophilia, a hypothesis which recognizes the human link to nature. Integrate biophilia with design and you get a very rare, yet successful aesthetic, which basically states that you can use natural designs to help meetings thrive. According to a study conducted by Terrapin Bright Green, “Biophilic design can reduce stress, enhance creativity and clarity of thought, improve our well-being and expedite healing”.

This unique design style describes innovative ways in which to transform places where we work, meet, and learn into a natural oasis. Picture for a moment the images that run through your mind when you think about attending a meeting or conference, you may have visions of boardrooms and banquet halls with bland colored walls and artificial lighting. But what if we could change that? By following the biophilic design model, we can redefine what corporate events of any kind should look like.

The benefits of adding biophilic design to meetings 

In a world that continues to expand and build, harmonizing and reconnecting with nature becomes imperative to success in all areas of life, including the business world. Most corporations spend time and money focusing directly on management training, workplace relationships, and communication, which are great ways to promote prosperity among the organization’s culture. But if you’re looking to take your company’s productivity to the next level, integrating biophilic design tools into workspaces, meetings and corporate group programs should be a primary focus as well.

Weaving nature into meetings can be relatively simple. For example, when searching for a meeting destination consider locations either surrounded by nature or with weather that allows for plenty of outdoor activities. Likewise, when selecting a venue look for options with a patio, terrace, or balcony thus enabling you to incorporate an outdoor element. A year-round destination such as Newport Beach, CA is a prime example of just how easy it can be to connect your meeting with nature’s many benefits.

In areas where the outdoors is not easily accessible, the next best alternative is to strive to bring the outdoors in. You can still design your program based on the biophilic model by choosing places that rely on natural lighting or offer views of nature. Ocean, lakes, rivers, and/or mountain scenery tend to be relaxing and help boost creativity. While it would be best to have a real scene visible from the meeting space, it is possible to evoke comparable sensations by bringing natural elements to a meeting or even workspace. Adding potted plants and succulents that can thrive indoors, natural scents like lavender, citrus, or various herbs prove to have as much of an effect on people as looking at the real deal.

Likewise, the utilization of natural textures like wood, sand, water and stone throughout a meeting or workspace, can trick the human mind into releasing the same mental sharpness as that experienced while being in nature itself. The same holds true for sound. Adding areas to your meeting space that mimic nature’s sounds (waterfalls, waves crashing, birds chirping) or creating a quiet space where people can go to ‘hear themselves think’, can cause our brains to release the chemical dopamine, the same chemical synthesized in plants, which enables us to become much more relaxed, in sync and focused.

The biophilic design taps human emotions 

The colors of nature can also trigger a similar response by stimulating our senses. Consider weaving blue, green and yellow into the space, all of which are known to have a powerful influence on the human psyche. According to color psychologist Angela Wright, blue tends to stimulate productivity, whereas yellow stimulates creativity and green is the balancer, as it tends to be calming and reassuring.

Implementing biophilic design strategies into your meeting or convention space can have a tremendous impact on overall performance and help with the success of your meeting. We’d love to hear your thoughts on biophilic design. Have you used it in any of your group programs? If so, have you noticed an increase in productivity or creativity?

You can quickly weave nature into your next program by heading west to Newport Beach, CA. This engaging coastal community offers plenty of indoor-outdoor meeting spaces, many with ocean or harbor views. The staff at Visit Newport Beach, the destination marketing organization for Newport Beach, CA will open the doors to this Pacific paradise with destination expertise, customized site visits, strong partnerships and resources to ease the planning process.


Written by Visit Newport Beach Meetings

As a not-for-profit Destination Marketing Organization (DMO), Visit Newport Beach provides destination expertise, customized site visits, strong partnerships and resources tailored specifically to the needs of meeting planners and their clients.

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