Biophilic Design in Healthcare - Forbo Flooring Systems (2024)

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Embracing Biophilic Design in Healthcare

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It is estimated that most people spend around 90% of their time indoors, whether this being at home, at work or engaging in social activities. This leaves only 10% of the time when people are exposed to nature, which can be unhealthy.
In healthcare settings, however, patients will spend even longer indoors for extended periods, unable to experience the proven health benefits of being outdoors and closer to nature. However, your choice of flooring can help try and fight this issue.


The floor is one of the biggest surfaces of any room, and it is the surface that people constantly contact, making it a versatile canvas to convey messages and shape a room's mood. Incorporating Biophilic design into your flooring can have a positive effect on patients in hospitals and care settings.

Biophilic Design aims to bring the outdoors, indoors, by incorporating elements of the natural environment such as natural stone and grass effects. Based on the Biophilia Hypothesis (Encyclopaedia Britannica) which states that “humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life”, biophilic design aims to harness the proven health benefits of being in natural environments.

Key principles of biophilic design include an emphasis on greenery, naturally found materials, and plenty of natural light. These factors may seem subtle, but when used in tandem their effect on patients and healthcare professionals can be palpable.

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What are the benefits of Biophilic Design in healthcare?

Traditionally, visiting a hospital or a doctor's surgery is a necessity and aren’t the most vibrant places to go. The fast-paced and important nature of these environments means that the interior is the last thing on people’s minds.

In recent times architects are using the principles of Biophilic design to subvert expectations to transform healthcare spaces into more welcoming and comfortable environments.

Increasing the amount of natural light in hospital and care wards allows long-term patients to see more sunlight while using flooring with earthy hues and fixtures with natural textures allows a feeling of being outdoors to be brought inside. These techniques help with reducing feelings of discomfort associated with being stuck indoors for long periods, also known as ‘cabin fever’.

Other ways to apply biophilic design in hospital and healthcare settings include:
-Adding indoor plants and greenery
-Using natural materials like wood on fittings and accessories
-Using natural materials with reflective properties to amplify natural light
-Using sustainable materials that don’t release volatile organic compounds.

By introducing the natural elements above, biophilic design not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of the room but also creates a therapeutic atmosphere – the ideal state for all patients to help them recover.

This design choice evokes a sense of calm and tranquillity, alleviating stress and anxiety, and fostering the perfect healing environment. It’s this exposure to nature that contributes to faster recovery times, reduces pain perception, and creates spaces that promote comfort.

These techniques not only help the wellbeing of patients but also staff. Productivity and overall mental well-being are enhanced for healthcare professionals when the interior conveys a natural and relaxing atmosphere, which in turn can improve the quality of care given to patients and result in fewer conflicts.

A wide range of studies have reported exposure to nature can reduce stress, lower blood pressure and even accelerate healing.

Which flooring options are biophilic?

Here at Forbo, we offer a range of flooring options to implement Biophilic design in healthcare settings, as we truly believe in the benefits that it offers – From Sphera, to Marmoleum, Allura LVT and Eternal Heterogeneous Vinyl.

Marmoleum
Marmoleum is Forbo's main linoleum brand - a natural flooring renowned for durability, sustainability, high quality, and innovative design. All in all, it’s ideal for almost any type of application, especially those with specialist needs such as hospitals or doctors surgeries.

Sphera
Sphera, Forbo's hom*ogeneous vinyl floor covering, is produced with the latest technology in our European manufacturing plant. Available in natural hues such as green and blue, and offering optimal performance, it has a uniquely embossed surface that is 100% phthalate-free and low emitting.

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Allura LVT
Allura is carefully designed to be flexible, easy to apply, durable and – vitally - give you the design freedom to bring any interior to life, even typically uncomfortable spaces like hospitals. Our brand new Allura LVT collection showcases refreshed designs, including natural finishes such as wood and stone, for our popular LVT ranges; Allura, Allura Flex, Allura Click Pro, Allura Puzzle & Allura Decibel.

Eternal Sheet Vinyl
Our Eternal sheet vinyl flooring is low in emissions, phthalate free and is easy to clean, making it perfect for hospitals which require a high level of hygiene at all times. Eternal Wood offers the authentic look of a natural wooden floor with the benefits of a high-quality vinyl floor.

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Biophilic designs can completely revolutionise the interior of healthcare settings and improve the mental, and potentially physical, well-being of both patients and staff. From earthy hues and textures in flooring to an emphasis on natural light, there are many ways to implement the concept into the space you're designing.

Are you interested in Biophilia and how it’s possible to heal through design? Download our whitepaper today and learn more.

  • Healthcare Design Visit our segment pages
  • Discover the collection Marmoleum Range
  • Download Our Healthcare Whitepaper

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Biophilic Design in Healthcare  - Forbo Flooring Systems (2024)

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