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Maybe you've noticed it too.

The introduction of hanging potted plants, mossy walls, wild-willed plantings and aquatic environments with water lilies and fish in your workplace. What is at stake? Why do companies that otherwise have a fair amount of focus on the bottom line suddenly throw away millions to bring nature into their office landscapes, as they say in corporate.

Because it works!

In connection with a research project from 2015, a research team at Stanford University has demonstrated, for example, that a walk in nature versus a walk in an urban environment led to lower activity rates in the subgenual prefrontal cortex, which can help prevent depression. Through a controlled experiment, the researchers investigated whether the nature experience would influence the presence of repetitive thoughts focused on negative aspects of the self, a known risk factor for mental illness. Participants who went on a 90-minute walk through a natural environment reported lower levels of repetitive negative thoughts and showed reduced neural activity in an area of ​​the brain associated with risk of mental illness compared to those who walked through an urban environment. These findings suggest that accessible natural areas may be critical to mental health in our rapidly urbanizing world.

Similarly, a research team from the University of Melbourne was able to conclude, based on their research project, that a 40-second view of a green roof versus a gravel/tar roof was enough to restore focus.

Back to the reptilian brain

From the earliest years of man, the presence of green leaves and plants signaled the transition from barren steppes to a lusher area with access to food and shelter and continues to create a state of calm and positive anticipation millions of years later. The reason why the plants affect our health and well-being is found in our ancient reptilian part of the brain. Here lie many of our instincts for safety and security buried in old survival techniques. Two of them apply in relation to office greening:

  1. Leaf cover means safety. From health research, we know that the sight of leaf cover sends signals to our brains that we are safe from the dangers in the open, unprotected landscape. Here, in the shade of bushes or treetops, we are less visible and thus less vulnerable. Although we no longer seek safety under the trees, our ancient brains still release calming hormones when we make visual contact with foliage.
  2. Fertile soil means food. Research shows that it’s not just the sight of plants that affects us, it’s the smell of them too! When our noses pick up the scent of healthy soil – exactly the micro-bacteria that break down organic material in soil, our brain releases anti-stress hormones. Because lush soil means easy access to food, we don’t need to stress but instead can relax and recover.
Green, greener, greenest

In many workplaces, where social distance between present employees is still an important agenda, we see substantial examples of how greening can contribute to creating effective zoning between workstations. Cf. example.

In other workplaces, the same zoning approach is turned on its head, so to speak, in solutions that recall Indian pagodas or the flying islands in Avatar.


Green it like you mean it

Vi har en mistanke om, at anskaffelsen af planter er noget af det som kommer allersidst, når kontoret skal nyindrettes. Og derfor er gode intentioner om greenscaping ofte udfordret af et presset budget. I hvert fald sker det langt fra sjældent at en virksomhed vælger at gennemføre deres forgrønning med plastikplanter eller som i eksemplet ovenfor udsmykker et kontorlandskab med én gennemgående plante som fordobles i tusindvis som et evighedsspejl.

Men netop fordi de grønne planter suger vores opmærksomhed til sig, bør deres æstetiske kvalitet, form, stoflighed og placering i forbindelse med greenscaping opgaver betragtes som lige så vigtig som møblernes design, materialitet og farve og som de farver, vi ornamenterer kontorets vægge med. Rigtig mange planter kan virke for tunge, kompakte eller larmende i det visuelle landskab på et kontor og hæmme dybdeperspektiv og sigtelinjer. Jf. ovennævnte eksempler.

Ambitiøs greenscaping af vores kontorer kræver et holistisk, tilpasset design, hvor planter, møbler, farver, teksturer og zoneringer spiller sammen og det grønne er designmæssigt integreret.

Greenhousing as a change of scene

If we want the full effect of biophilia in the workplace, it is perhaps just as much about creating invitations for real immersion in the green and about creating greened break and reflection spaces. We are already seeing several examples of greenscapers who have begun to integrate the Orangerie and the Greenhouse as spatial functions in the greened workplaces. Here, there is plenty of opportunity to design with massive, shielding planting, and offer fragrance experiences with soil, mulch, running water and palm trees.

The atrium as a verdant labyrinth

Many large workplaces fight a fierce battle to create the “instagramable” moment or a “wow”-effect for visitors when they step inside. But the big challenge in terms of frontstaging is that there is typically not much life in the area around a main entrance. Here you can perhaps go further and allow yourself to be wilder and more ambitious with your green design. To create green paths and small oases with invitations to stay. Cf. illustration.

Read danish article here: