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Ambius partners with BRE on biophilic office research

Interior landscaping company, Ambius, is teaming up with BRE, a world leading building science centre, as a core partner in a live, comprehensive study on the impact of biophilic design on office workers.

The research project centres on a 7,000 sq. ft (650 m2) 1980s office building on the BRE campus in Watford, which will be refurbished based on biophilic design principles.

Ambius joins with BRE and Oliver Heath Design, along with other supporting partners to gather data on the benefits of biophilic design on the health, wellbeing and productivity of office occupants.

Biophilic design uses the principles of biophilia to create a human centred approach to improve spaces. The term “biophilia” was coined by American biologist and researcher Edward O. Wilson in his 1984 book “Biophilia”, which describes humans’ innate attraction to nature and natural processes.

Ambius and the core partners will use the 30-month project to evaluate various impacts of biophilic design on the office environment such as daylight, lighting, indoor air quality, acoustic, thermal and humidity comfort, as well as human factors, such as health, wellbeing and workplace behaviours.

Office occupants will be provided with wearable technology to allow researchers to track key health metrics, and gain insight into the impact of biophilic design. They will undergo confidential health evaluations and participate in a series of online questionnaires and surveys. The products used will also undergo laboratory evaluation to establish whether a health and wellbeing potential can be quantified at product level.

Commenting on the study, Ed Suttie, Project director for The Biophilic Office, said: “The biophilic office project will deepen the evidence base for the impact of interiors on occupant health and wellbeing.

“Plants are a key component of biophilic design and to have world-leading Ambius as a project partner will ensure we maximise the opportunity, guided by research evidence, to create positive, healthier and more energising workplaces of the future from the offices of the past.”

Kenneth Freeman, Head of Innovation at Ambius, said: “We look forward to playing an active part in the research and also gaining insights into how other elements of the interior design of offices can be used holistically to create healthy, engaging and effective workspaces, and to working closely with the other core partners in creating better offices in the future.”

Ambius says its participation in the project will enable it to “provide a firm foundation for guidance in facilities management” and a design strategy will be developed including tiers of interventions in zones within the office.

Other Core partners in the research program include: Interface, Biotecture, Akzo Nobel, Plantronics, Royal Ahrend, Coelux, Ecophon and GVA.

Partners involved in the study expect the results to be available in early 2020.

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