Discovering the Role of AWE in Biophilic Design and Well-being
The key to better understanding why nature feeds our soul is in the science of biophilia. While traced back as far as ancient Greece, the actual study of biophilia is relatively new. Breakthroughs in the science continue, in fact, a significant one was just made in December of 2022. And it all has to do with better understanding “AWE.”
At Plant Solutions, this concept has always been the heart of our art and our craft. It’s synonymous with design – but we wanted to learn more. So here is what we discovered on our quest to better understand what the latest research tells us.
The 15th Pattern of Biophilic Design
AWE is an emotional response that stops us in our tracks. It’s an overwhelming sense of amazement – like the view from the top of a mountain after a hike. Or walking through the doors of a cathedral, listening to powerful music, or contemplating the depth of the stars in the sky.
And now AWE is the official 15th pattern of biophilic design. Defined a decade ago by Bill Browning and Catie Ryan of Terrapin Bright Green, the original 14 patterns identify the specific attributes of nature that evoke physiological expressions of joy that have a positive impact on our health. And now with AWE, it goes farther than that.
According to Browning and Ryan in the winter issue of Living Architecture Monitor, “ the experience of AWE can make us feel smaller, humble and more charitable. These are feelings that tend to shift our focus from exclusively on ourselves and more to the bigger context of the world and people around us. We tend to exhibit more prosocial behavior after an AWE experience. These are outcomes that are unique among the patterns of biophilic design, and clearly one that have great societal value.”
So, what does this mean for interior landscapes? And Plant Solutions? This latest scientific affirmation and proof, pushes us to go even further in creating an experience within the space. To go grander and use plants to not only expand the physical volume and scale of the environment but also the perception thereof and the way our mind processes it.