Occasionally, hospitality professionals and meeting planners get the chance to produce an outdoor event and let the fresh air and sun wash over them while standing in the cool shade of a tree. But often, meeting planners are working with in-door spaces, sans nature.

As more and more companies are transitioning back into working on site, and event spaces are kicking back into gear, meeting planners have a great opportunity to explore the benefits of a biophilic design.

Bringing Nature Inside

To get insight into how adding a biophilic design can benefit a meeting space, Smart Meetings spoke with Joe Zazzera, the leading biophilic design pioneer of Plant Solutions that brings nature into interior spaces.

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“We build these great buildings but why have we not incorporated nature as part of the design of those buildings?” Zazzera pointed to the example of the typical conference room with no windows, no sunlight, and no sense of what’s going on outside.

From Decorations to Health Benefits

Over the course of his 43 years working in biophilic design, Zazzera has seen a shift in how employers are using nature.

“When I first started it was really just about putting plants in offices and in office lobbies so that an owner would make their place look good. It was more about image,” Zazzera stated. “We know the benefits of living plants indoors, it’s become more and more of a health benefit.”

According to Green Plants for Green Building’s website, plants help lower tension and anxiety by 37%, and reduce feelings of anger by 44%. Also, worker fatigue was seen to have decreased by 38%.

Research also shows work environments creativity and productivity increased by 15%. More importantly, one in-door plant reduces CO2 levels by 20% for every three individuals.

Why It’s Important for the Human Body

Cortisol levels, which dictate the human body’s stress response and blood pressure, are naturally lowered when present in nature.

“They’re probably feeling less stressed. They’re probably feeling less anxious. They’re probably being more apt to connect with other people.”

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Zazzera’s first had experience with speaking with individuals who get to experience his work firsthand are a testament to the importance of a biophilic environment.

“People love to see us coming bringing plants indoors. They love to see us when you come in. ‘Oh, you’re making the air fresher, or oh you’re making me so happy or oh I wanted that plant so badly.’”

Plants for Darker Spaces

For many in-door facilities where direct light may be an issue, event organizers can work with biophilic organizations can utilize low light plants and use artificial light sources.

“Now many of our indoor our living plant walls we have specified lighting fixtures that are above the light, the lamps that are above the plant walls that light up the wall to help it grow and help maintain it,” Zazzera says.

The Lasting Impact

Zazzera highlights that it is the demand from employees that has caused a shift in thought around biophilic design. “It’s become more of a more of a demand. Now employees, especially younger people, are really wanting to have nature in their workspaces because it not only increases productivity, but it makes them happier. It makes them more willing to come to work and stay to work and helps employers to attract and keep employees.”

Crafting a positive mental health environment for meetings attendees is essential to the foundation of a successful event.

“Employees are demanding more from their employers than they ever have before and bringing nature into the space is one of those things.”


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