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HOK’s Sean Quinn Discusses the Rise of Biophilic Design with MarketWatch

Sean Quinn HOK

Sean Quinn, sustainable design leader in HOK’s San Francisco studio, spoke with MarketWatch about the rise of biophilic design in the workplace.

Excerpted from MarketWatch:

Be gone, the humble potted plant. This is a concept known as “biophilic” design. As workers at certain companies, particularly in tech, spend up to 12 to 16 hours a day in their offices, companies have turned to designers who can make those indoor spaces feel less stuffy and oppressive. “We’re more relaxed, more creative, more productive and healthier when we’re surrounded by nature-based places,” Quinn said.

In recent years, HOK has created biophilic designs for the U.S. Coast Guard’s headquarters and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Recently, it worked with Stanford University on a landscaped courtyard, which is next to a campus arboretum.

Biophilic design isn’t just about plants. It can incorporate elements ranging from actual greenery—such as entire walls covered top to bottom with plants—to water features, greater use of wood and natural textures in furniture, fans that create the feeling of wind, or scented fresh air, Quinn said. It can even mean a doorknob that’s shaped like a honeycomb.

Market / Discipline

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