Human Spaces

Spaces designed with the human in mind

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Part 2: Biophilic Retail Spaces

Continued from Part 1: Biophilic Retail Spaces

Experiments demonstrated that retail environments with lower air quality appeared to have lower staff and customer satisfaction level¹. Incorporating plants and greenery into a retail space can help to filter pollutants and balance moisture indifferences within the air. Ensuring good air quality can improve staff and customer’s physical wellbeing; minimising health problems including asthma and throat irritation, so by reducing staff absenteeism whilst raising customer satisfaction levels.

Noise pollution has been known to cause many physical and behavioral symptoms, which can have a negative impact on sales by driving customers away and lowering wellbeing and mood of staff. Plants can also help to improve acoustics within a space due to their leaves being good sound absorbers.

Innisfree interior

Innisfree interior

The Innisfree store in Seoul by SOFTlab is a wonderfully nature inspired space with a biomorphic undulating lattice frame greenhouse running through it. The natural palette of materials and green wall complements not only Innisfree’s range of all natural skin care products, but also suggests that of a fresh and stimulating garden like environment.

Installation designed by SOFTlab, store designed by Innisfree, photography courtesy of Innisfree

The look and feel of a retail space can either stimulate or agitate its users. The exterior of a shop can help to initially attract a customer, whilst the interior can help to retain customers, increasing the likelihood of purchases. The colours red and yellow can provoke excitement and increase blood pressure, which is good for initially attracting customers, whereas blue and green can aid relaxation, which helps to maintain an individual’s comfort during their shopping or working experience.

Incorporating natural elements and greenery can overall improve the aesthetic of an interior as it adds texture, vibrancy and dynamism.  This enticing aesthetic can draw customers in and improve their perception of the company’s brand and individual products in store. In a study, Biophilic Design was positively linked to customer’s dwell time and price acceptance due to its restorative quality.² Visiting urban commercial areas can be stressful and attentionally draining for many, however, elements of nature can help customers to restore their direct attention³, making them feel more relaxed and focused whilst shopping.

Innisfree exterior

Innisfree exterior

Installation designed by SOFTlab, store designed by Innisfree, photography courtesy of Innisfree

These Biophilic design principles not only enhance the physical qualities of a retail space, but have many psychological and economic benefits for both customers and employers, alike. In short research suggests that where Biophilic elements are present in retail environments, customers are more likely to stay longer in store, will have a higher perceived value of goods and are more likely to return to the retail outlet.

Have you experienced a retail setting that features any of the design principles mentioned? Let us know with a comment.


Additional Reading

¹ DP, Wyon 2004. The effects of indoor air quality on performance and productivity.

² Y. Joye. (2010) The effects of urban retail greenery on consumer experience: Reviewing the evidence from a restorative perspective.

³ Kaplan, S. (1995) The restorative benefits of nature: Toward an integrative framework. Journal of Environmental Psychology

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