Bask in bio­philia

Qantas - - QBUSINESS. -

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.

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