I read with interest ‘Has retail turned the corner?’, which explains that there is “now more emphasis on creating unique, high-quality experiential spaces”

From a design point of view, I certainly agree. I believe biophilia should be a consideration in future spaces as it improves air quality naturally by absorbing carbon dioxide. Taking retail as an example, we know that shopping is a highly emotional experience, and the look and feel of a store has a tangible impact on shoppers. In order to design a stand-out shopping destination where people want to stay for long periods, biophilia can bring a natural comfort.

Designing spaces to include water features, trees and semi-open spaces with multiple-view corridors can create an environment that delivers the kind of soothing and calming effects of nature that have been proven to draw shoppers into stores, lengthen dwell time and boost sales.

Indeed, data from a report titled ‘The Economics of Biophilia’ bears out the many benefits biophilic design can provide. For instance, shoppers’ perception of the value and quality of goods rises proportionately with the level of greenery and vegetation in a space. As such, they are more likely to accept higher prices.

And don’t forget, people like natural light as much as plants do. Stores with a high level of day-lighting can realise significant profit margin boosts of 15% to 20%.

One of our favourite ways to integrate nature indoors is through a day-lighted living wall, a vertical garden that serves as a natural air purifier, removing VOCs and other harmful toxins while exhaling oxygen into the space as a byproduct of photosynthesis. The vertical configuration allows for a higher volume of plantings within a smaller space.

Studies show that green walls can reduce heat gain by up to 10°C, resulting in significant energy savings, reduced cooling costs and decreased electricity costs of up to 20%. Similarly, the living wall provides an extra layer of insulation, which helps to retain heat in colder temperatures.

Giving up a little space to biophilia could go a long way.

Jorge Beroiz, principal, CallisonRTKL