BIOPHILIC DESIGN IN THE HOSPITALITY SECTOR

In recent years, the Ho.Re.Ca. sector has undergone significant changes, with a clear shift towards intangible values and an increasing orientation towards experiences involving our five senses. These trends reflect new customer needs, which also include the application of sustainable strategies integrated with solutions offering direct or indirect experiences with Nature.

Importance of Biophilic Design in Hospitality

In the current landscape of the hospitality industry, the design and quality of physical spaces play a crucial role. One of the recent innovations is the incorporation of biophilic strategies, with the intention of translating human beings' affinity with Nature within artificial environments. Biophilic design is based on the idea that human beings have an innate and evolutionary connection with Nature and that the inclusion of natural elements and features within artificial environments can safeguard and enhance people's physical and psychological well-being. This design approach creates more welcoming and healthy spaces for those who frequent them.

In the context of hospitality, this young discipline helps to create artificial environments that evoke a feeling of calm and wellbeing, fostering a more regenerative and pleasurable experience. These aspects are particularly important in an industry where customer satisfaction is crucial to business success.

Biophilic Design can be applied in many types of accommodation such as

In a biophilic hotel or resort, the entrance hall, guest rooms, restaurants and bars, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, spa areas, wellness and fitness treatment areas, as well as the surrounding outdoor landscapes, each offer many unique opportunities to introduce solutions that implement a good connection with Nature, using targeted intervention strategies tailored to each individual context.

Hospitality is an extremely competitive industry and it is important for companies operating in this sector to be in line with the latest trends and to stay ahead of the competition that increasingly decides to invest in biophilic solutions. The application of biophilic strategies in design brings significant positive economic returns.

Applications and Benefits of Biophilic Design in Hospitality

Biophilia is an important component in the design of spaces in this area, as views of natural landscapes not only satisfy our innate preferences, but also help to create a regenerating and pleasant experience; the English writer E. M. Forster testified to this in his delicate and touching novel, 'Room with a View'. M. Forster in his delicate and touching novel, 'Room with a View', where the desire to stay in a room with a beautiful view gave rise to the intertwining stories of the book's protagonists.

Besides panoramic views of Nature, there are several other ways to integrate the natural world into hospitality settings, thus enriching the experience for both guests and staff.

Incorporating other biophilic elements in the different areas of a hotel, such as the use of natural materials and finishes, the choice of colours and shapes that are also present in Nature, the use of natural lighting, to be supplemented with adjustable artificial light in line with our circadian rhythm, the preference for natural air, control over indoor air quality and thermal comfort, the elimination of sources of noise or unpleasant odours, etc., all contribute to creating welcoming and regenerative atmospheres that foster socialisation and well-being for both guests and staff. In this way, hospitality becomes not just a transfer and accommodation service, but a true experience that embraces the connection with Nature and the holistic well-being of its users.

Green Integration Strategies in Hospitality Facilities

Companies in the sector are gradually realising that hotel lobbies are no longer mere transit or service spaces. Through biophilosophy-oriented design, these areas can be transformed into authentic points of social gathering, meeting and leisure, but also of work. A cosy and pleasant environment prolongs the time visitors spend there, who feel more comfortable and tend to consume more at the hotel bar, thus increasing both the hotel's economic revenue and customer satisfaction.

A crucial aspect of lobbies concerns the management and division of the space itself. On the one hand, it is important to create areas that are protected from the gaze of others to encourage moments of intimacy and privacy, while on the other hand it is essential to allow visitors to maintain good visual control over their surroundings. These strategies, by offering a free choice between more reserved or more open spaces, respond optimally to human biophilic needs.

The inclusion of vegetation in the interior and exterior areas of accommodation facilities can be a further important biophilic element with multiple benefits for people, but also for the buildings themselves. A skilful use of trees, plants and flowers (e.g. inside walls and façades, but also green roofs, indoor and outdoor green walls, pergolas, terraces and balconies with plants, etc.) can make spaces more pleasant and help to reduce the stress of guests and staff, acting on people's regeneration and stress reduction.

Greenery can also help create subdivisions of spaces into individual areas for greater privacy in the lobby, or in restaurants or bars. The opportunity to spend time in green outdoor spaces is often welcomed by customers.

The inclusion of green solutions can also help to significantly reduce the energy consumption of buildings by increasing thermal resistance, reducing heat islands outside, reducing noise pollution, etc.

 

We would like to end our journey into the world of hospitality with George Bernard Shaw, to whom the following quote is attributed: "The advantage of a hotel is to be an excellent refuge from domestic life."

At Verde Profilo, we try to make this refuge pleasant and welcoming by studying the most suitable green solutions within broader Biophilic Design strategies.

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