Back in 2013, the American company Herman Miller produced Nature-Based Design: The New Green, a research summary on biophilic design, underscoring the power of neurological nourishment, as well as the financial and ecological value. This concept was also supported by the environmental consultancy Terrapin Bright Green, in a comprehensive white paper in 2012, which asserted that: “incorporating nature into the built environment is not just a luxury, but a sound economic investment in health and productivity, based on well-researched neurological and physiological evidence.” Terrapin, which has continued to devote itself to the cause, published Nature Inside: A Biophilic Design Guide in 2020, with an interesting introduction by Thomas Heatherwick, and has a series of targeted workshops lined up for the next few months, in the belief that designing with nature, which might initially have simply been seen as pandering to health and wellbeing trends, actually reflects the innate connection between human beings and nature. The studio is also a promoter of the ambitious Factory as a Forest project, in conjunction with Interface and Biomimicry 3.8, geared to redesigning an industrial site to function in a similar way to a forest ecosystem.
Living in symbiosis and in contact with nature underpins the philosophy behind Welcome, feeling at work, the biophilic office of the future, a project commissioned by Europa Risorse and designed by Kengo Kuma and Associates, due for completion in the former Rizzoli area, near Milan’s Lambro park in 2024. It will be Europe’s most advanced ecological intervention, with health and wellness Platinum Well certification and energy efficiency with Platinum Leed, compliance with anti-COVID-19 guidelines (Ashrae, Rheva, Aicarr and ISS Report), circularity of construction materials, total absence of fossil fuels and resilience to climate change for a climate-neutral future. “Sustainability is the future focus and social responsibility for any industries and enterprises,” said Kengo Kuma and Associates partner Yuki Ikeguchi. “Natural elements in architecture; green, light, air, timber that appeal to human senses make a difference in workplace, living culture for better mental, physical states, creativity, and productivity.” The project is geared to the wellbeing of people and the planet, anticipating the city of the future: green, hyperconnected and at the service of knowledge and people.