In an age where urbanization and technology dominate our lives, there is a growing desire to reconnect with nature. Biophilic design, a concept that brings elements of the natural world into our built environments, has been a significant trend in architecture and interior design for some time. However, this design philosophy has now found its way into the realm of event planning, leading to the concept of biophilic event design. This innovative approach aims to create unforgettable and sustainable events that seamlessly integrate nature into every aspect of the event or experience.
Biophilic event design is an emerging event planning approach that prioritizes incorporating natural elements and patterns into the event space. Its primary goal is to create a sensory-rich experience that connects attendees with the natural world while also fostering feelings of well-being and tranquility. Biophilic design is not limited to large, open-air gatherings but can be applied to various event types, from corporate conferences and tradeshows to weddings and festivals.
Biophilic Event Design Principles
Natural Materials: The use of natural materials like wood, stone, and plants is a fundamental aspect of biophilic event design. These materials not only bring the beauty of nature to the event but also evoke a sense of connection to place and emphasis on sustainability. Wherever possible incorporate direct interaction of your guests with natural materials (sand tables, natural wood furniture, stone counter tops, greenery as décor) to promote the strongest biophilic responses.
Abundant Greenery: Incorporating abundant greenery, such as potted plants, hanging gardens, and living walls, can transform any event space into a lush and inviting environment. These natural elements not only improve aesthetics but also help purify the air and promote well-being. If actual living greenery is not possible, the use of projections and images of nature can also provide biophilic benefit to your attendees.
Natural Light: Maximizing natural light through large windows, skylights, or open-air venues allows guests to connect with the changing outdoor environment. It reduces the need for artificial lighting, which aligns with sustainable event practices.
Flow and Organic Shapes: Biophilic event design often incorporates flowing and organic shapes in decor and seating arrangements, mimicking the forms found in nature. Curved seating arrangements or meandering pathways can enhance the sense of natural movement and connectivity.
Sensory Engagement: Engaging multiple senses is vital in biophilic event design. Incorporating the sounds of nature, the scent of flowers, and tactile experiences with natural textures can create a more immersive and enjoyable event.
Biophilic Event Design Benefits
Enhanced Well-being: Nature has a calming effect on people. Biophilic event design helps reduce stress and enhance the well-being of attendees by connecting them with the natural world.
Sustainability: Biophilic design is inherently sustainable. The use of natural materials, energy-efficient practices, and waste reduction contribute to eco-friendly events.
Unique and Memorable: Biophilic events stand out. They leave a lasting impression on attendees due to their distinctive and immersive nature, making them more memorable and shareable.
Increased Productivity: In a corporate event setting, biophilic design can boost attendee engagement, creativity, and productivity by creating a more pleasant and inspiring atmosphere.
Health Benefits: Exposure to nature has been linked to improved mental and physical health. Biophilic event design offers a unique opportunity for attendees to reap these benefits.
To conclude, biophilic event design represents a paradigm shift in the world of event planning. It offers a holistic approach that fosters well-being, sustainability, and unique experiences. By integrating nature into every aspect of an event, from the decor to the flow of the space, event planners can create memorable and meaningful gatherings that leave a lasting impact on attendees. As our world becomes increasingly urbanized and technology-driven, biophilic event design serves as a reminder of the beauty and importance of our natural surroundings.
Corinne Kessel, CSEP, is principal of Greenscape Design & Décor, an award-winning company based in Burnaby, B.C.