Biophilic design’s benefits for both acute and mental healthcare settings are well-recognised. South African interior designer, Antoinette Greeff, discusses the fundamentals of the ‘art’, and explains how the principles were deployed at a new assisted ward at a psychiatric facility.
The benefits of biophilic design in the creation of a variety of both acute and mental healthcare settings are now well-recognised, and documented in numerous studies. Here, South African interior designer, Antoinette Greeff, discusses some of the fundamentals of the ‘art’, and explains how biophilic design principles were deployed in an impactful way within a new assisted ward at Life Hunterscraig Private Hospital – a short-term psychiatric facility in Gqeberha in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province.
The term ‘biophilia’ was first used by social psychologist Eric Fromm (The Heart of Man, 1964), and later became popularised by Edward Wilson (Biophilia, 1984).1 The question arises - what is biophilia exactly? In short, biophilia is the innate connection between humans and nature. This connection is the reason why certain feelings are evoked within us through the exposure to natural elements, for example the comforting feeling evoked from the sound of crackling fires, the turmoil we experience when we see waves crashing, and the comfort we feel when interacting with an animal companion.
Over the past decade, biophilic design principles have been developing to such an extent that it is deemed a necessary complementary study in addressing workplace stress, student performance, patient recovery, community cohesiveness, and other challenges associated with health and overall wellbeing.
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