Bask in biophilia
Office designers have been in the grip of a green craze – or biophilia – for a while now but in the future it’s going to mean a lot more than a potted philodendron on your desk. Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos upped the ecological ante when he unveiled a trio of giant interconnected biodomes called The Spheres at the company’s Seattle HQ in January 2018. With more than 40,000 “cloud forest” plants sourced from around the world, the steel-and-glass bubbles form an artificial subtropical Eden in which employees can work or simply hang out.
Amazon describes The Spheres as “a direct link to nature”, noting that “this particular design was chosen due to its natural occurrence and as a nod to historic conservatories, like Kew Gardens [in south-west London].” Elements include timber decking, terraces, floating staircases and water features – and a few tree houses enveloped by greenery for more formal meetings.
Since innumerable studies have shown that biophilic design can enhance creativity, reduce stress, improve brain function and even fortify the immune system, Bezos’s jungle jive is not just greenwashing but a real investment in employee health and wellbeing – and one that will undoubtedly filter down through workplaces in the future.