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Biophilic travels: an urban forest as a workplace

in biophilic travels

The biophilic aim of reconnecting people with the natural world is an invitation to question and reconsider prevalent ideas about spaces.

In this episode of Biophilic Travels, an office environment that moves beyond common workplace design ideas, shaping an immersive and nature-centered experience…

meet, exchange, create

The Spheres is part of a wider workplace that also includes desks and more conventional office environments. This area has been specifically conceived for people to meet, strengthen relationships, develop ideas, and be creative.

A design choice that recognizes the diversity of activities and mental states that coexist in a working environment, as well as the importance of an equally diverse and articulated space that harmonizes opposite features to reflect the variety of a workday and support changing needs.

Seating areas along a flowy pathway.
Credit: NBBJ – Ph: Sean Airhart
Close-up of abundant vegetation.
Credit: NBBJ – Ph: Bruce Damonte
Bird nest seating area.
Credit: NBBJ – Ph: Bruce Damonte

indoor landscaping

At first sight, The Spheres feels more like a botanical garden than a workplace. Developing into 3 sphere-shaped buildings, the space is filled with life in the form of dense and diverse vegetation as well as waterfalls, which introduce a restorative and refreshing element of sensory richness through water. The levels are connected by pathways that flow in between the flora, tickling the desire to explore. Seating areas punctuate the way, with open spaces to welcome group conversations and intimate nooks for introspective time. The biophilic workplace experience is made more varied and stimulating by features that prompt an apparent risk sensation: a suspended seating area recalls a bird nest in the form as well as for its seemingly unstable structure while cantilevered bridges and observation points restate the perception of physical instability.

Rich natural materials, neutral colours, and organic shapes blend all man-made elements with the vegetation, creating a cohesive indoor landscape.

Suspended bird nest seating area.
Credit: NBBJ – Ph: Sean Airhart
Intimate seating area.
Credit: NBBJ – Ph: Mike Kane/Bloomberg
A suspended bridge.
Credit: NBBJ – Ph: Mike Kane/Bloomberg

a space for community

This project goes beyond that of a workplace, providing value to the local community as a whole. The area includes plazas, gardens, and other amenities that are accessible to everyone. The Spheres themselves open to the public on weekends, extending the space beyond its main function.

Blurring the lines between office and urban design, this project creates a private-public environment that integrates a workplace within valuable shared spaces for the community.

Pathway incorporating green areas.
Credit: NBBJ
A tall indoor tree.
Credit: NBBJ – Ph: Mike Kane/Bloomberg
Close-up of a flower.
Credit: NBBJ
Dense and varied vertical garden.
Credit: NBBJ

As a whole, this is a space that supports people and their needs both inside the workplace and in the community. A space that brings city dwellers closer to each other and to the natural world.

Biophilic design resources by anooi:
A Biophilic YearApplying Biophilic DesignVisual Library of Biophilic Design