Journal of Biophilic Design podcast

Designing the Way Nature Would

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Merging nature and design together, Outsidein, as their name suggests, does exactly that, they bring the outside in. They were Platinum winners in this year’s 2022 Biophilic Design Awards with a project they designed for a large litigation firm in New Zealand, where the CEO had given them the specification to bring the experience of the wilds of New Zealand into the office to help give their workforce respite and relief during what is often a pressurised workday. Not only does this give relief, but also it is an amazing space to be in, people want to be there, they are drawn to the area. With the recruitment of the best and most talented staff a challenge in many countries, we might be wise to take a leaf (excuse the intended pun) out of this book.

We sit down with Ryan McQuerry, Creative Director of Outsidein, who dialled in at 5am from New Zealand to speak with us to find out about his journey into greenscaping and discuss how Biophilic Design when incorporated into the built environment and cities transforms lives. From his first forays into his grandpa’s garden in America to starting his first landscaping business at the age of 17, to being inspired by Patrick Blanc and seeing someone hanging off a building installing plants. He and his family live and breathe the biophilic life, their home is in the countryside, where every window has a view of nature, and materials are organic and natural, it’s no wonder that his work, installations and vision for design is sensitive to the beauty and benefits our natural world brings to us. He shares with us how they designed the winning greenscape using a change of temperature, natural light, indigenous plants, local rocks, terrarium concepts and so much more. It is beautiful, have a look at the images on our website

Ryan describes how architects are intentional about the materials they use for a project, and can be lost when it comes to someone maybe with no design background who hires a “pot” from a plant company and in effect, it is the pot that is hired rather than looking a cohesive design. Ryan took a fresh approach, he hires designers not sales people, and they understand the architect’s vision, and how plants and design integrate into the architecture of the building.

With more companies concerned about climate change, wellness and sustainability as well as staff retention, there is actually a downside to NOT implementing Biophilic Design. We even discuss how a visionary in factory design could create biophilically designed areas of respite and give their workers the opportunity throughout the day to use these regularly. I was also thinking this would work in hospitals and even education, some of these spaces are designed functionally like factories, with no “areas” of calm to unwind and come down from a heightened stress level.

One of the most lovely things Ryan said, was that he feels designers using Biophilic Design, are giving people a “gift”, a gift of calm: “People might not know why they are drawn to the spaces, and won’t consciously know what you’ve done, but you’ve given them a gift, an ‘ah’ moment, where they can have a pause for a moment, somewhere that feels nice and is comfortable.”

To find out more about Ryan McQuerry and Outsidein visit:

Read the article on the winning project in the Journal of Biophilic Design ebook Magazine or Printed copy

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Credits: with thanks to George Harvey Audio Production for the calming biophilic soundscape that backs all our podcasts.

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