Journal of Biophilic Design podcast

Lloyds Bank, Sustainability and Greening Workplaces

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For Paula Rowntree, Head of Workplace Design for LLOYDS BANKING GROUP, the office very much plays an important role in the workplace. For her it is the human connection, the corridor moments, saying hello, being creative, having conversations, seeing when someone is not ok. So when it comes to designing spaces, the focus is very much on the wellbeing of the people using the space, as well as the sustainability aspect, which is why Biophilic Design is such a positive element in a designer’s bag.

“Biophilic Design is incredibly important. It is that Deep-rooted connection to nature that we all have. To breathe fresh air, that emotion you get from being connected to nature.” Paula goes on to explain how years ago, the historic design trend was to take nature out of buildings, and make them a little more sterile and austere. Fortunately, that trend is shifting. Bringing in more greenery and timber elements, we feel calm and relax very quickly in a space. “Planting, naturally makes you feel better”.

Paula will be speaking at the Workpace Design Show, taking place on 27 and 28 February 2023 in London. “Often, when we come to implement real planting, we might need to create a business case for it (we need watering systems, so there’s a cost to install and maintain). But there is a whole array of plant elements we can bring into a space, from pretend plants, to preserved planting which may be simpler to deploy and gives illusion of planting.”

Fortunately, Lloyds Banking Group have a strong sustainability agenda, so for Paula, nature-inspired design is a key to helping reach net-zero targets and encourage sustainable behaviour. With our planet in crises, temperatures are rising, it is a big overwhelming problem. “We are trying to get everyone in the bank thinking about sustainability. What can you do? That’s where I started from, what can I do?” In one of the flagship branches of Lloyds, notably the one on Oxford Street (near Bond Street), Paula pushed the boundaries, as well as changing heating systems, lighting, furniture and fabrics she looked at planting. She installed High-raft moss discs, Preserved planting up at ceiling level, Plant pots with ground-level plants all putting oxygen back into the air, plus a Living wall on the outside with the brand element on the fascia. As a result, the bank colleagues feel very proud to explain what it’s all about, especially the sustainability aspect.

“Biophilia and planting becomes a visible statement” something that says that this company is committed to sustainability. “Also by putting planting back into the environment in branches, we are helping make people feel a little bit better in the work environment.” The spaces feel good, there’s re-oxygenation, alongside brand messaging. “There is something so joyful, it makes you feel: wow this in an amazing space. We want to make them timeless, make them last, to be there for future generations, because planting does that right, it doesn’t just stop.”

Also note Paula will be speaking at #workspacedesignshow and I'll be chairing a panel discussion. Join me at the UK’s biggest workspace event bringing you networking, thought leadership, and the latest products to transform our country’s offices, taking place 27th & 28th February 2023 at Business Design Centre. Register FREE to attend here #WDS23

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