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Everything you need to know about biophilic design and sustainable furniture

It’s safe to say that biophilic design and eco-friendly options are no longer a trend, they’re an expectation when it comes to the property market, and developers need to deliver both to stay ahead of the game.

Numerous studies have shown that plants inside the home or office improve mood, wellbeing, and even air quality, not to mention the aesthetic improvements that can be achieved with some properly selected plant life. But what about on a larger scale? We’re not talking prolific Peace Lilies scattered from top to bottom, we’re talking about incorporating living structures into spaces so well that they become one with the space and seamlessly merge the built world with the natural.

This is already happening, and while buyers aren’t likely to ask about biophilic design, chances are they expect it. Residential developments, particularly large ones, have in the past held a reputation for being cold and sterile housing options; not the type of place you raise a family, at least not in Australia where wide-open spaces abound. But this is changing. As urban sprawl pushes suburbs further and further from the city centre, the great Australian dream is becoming somewhat of an inconvenience, and still a costly one at that.

Research shows more and more people are considering apartment living as a viable option for their family. Apartment-dwelling one family households increased by 34 per cent between 2006 and 2016. This is not only because of the value apartment living presents but also because of the increasing focus on design and amenities within it.

What’s expected of high-rise developments today?

The short answer is everything. You only need to look at the oversupply of generic perpetually unoccupied apartments in Melbourne to see that basic doesn’t cut it. Buyers expect beautifully landscaped gardens in shared spaces, areas for recreation, exercise, relaxation, and entertaining. Buyers want their homes to feel like a luxury resort, and with the ongoing threat of lockdowns or restrictions to our movements, this is now more important than ever.

At the Waterbrook Bowral Lifestyle Resort we have created biophilic spaces to help incorporate a sense of serenity indoors with floor to ceiling windows and skylights to flood the shared amenities with natural light and give life to a variety of indoor plants. We want the residents to enjoy and rely heavily on the communal spaces during their leisure time, and it was imperative that we create a serene and pleasant environment to make the building feel like a natural extension of the surrounding landscape and comfortable enough to be enjoyed as an extension of the residents’ private quarters.

One Central Park in Sydney was named 2014’s Best Tall Building in the World owing to its incredible vertical gardens that adorn the outside of the building and a slew of design features that make it an eco-friendly, low emission precinct. It opposes the perception that urban development and the natural world are mutually exclusive.

Sustainability and the rise of environmental consciousness – why it matters for developers.

People are becoming increasingly aware of global issues and injustices and are looking to adjust their own behaviours in accordance with what they believe will help the planet. People want to feel that the items in their homes haven’t come at the expense of those less fortunate or the planet.

Offering home buyers the choice of environmentally friendly alternatives such as insulation made from plant-based polyurethane or Earthwool, FSC-certified wood, bamboo, natural stone and other ethically sourced materials can be a huge selling point.

Today there are a plethora of companies making textiles, furniture, and finishes from a range of environmentally friendly or renewable sources so you don’t need to compromise on design or quality. Plastic bottles are being turned into everything from rugs to a key ingredient in cement slabs, cork bark can be used to make cladding or leather substitutes, and reclaimed timber can be used to minimise waste and create character in a development. Other things to consider are incorporating rainwater collection, solar energy generation, and mixed recycling facilities into a development.

By providing options like these you not only appeal to a wider customer base, but you also position your company and development as a leader in the sector when it comes to sustainability, design, and consumer needs.

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living room with artwork, glass window and view