Sharing the environment:

"We dream of a free community, where mankind's dwellings are not in conflict with either nature or beauty, and where everyone can come together with joy in their work and their mission."
Adriano Olivetti

My grandfather's work alongside Adriano and Roberto Olivetti straddled over half a century, and it was not simply a career path, but a true ethos and lifestyle that he wisely passed on to his children and grandchildren, creating an enduring legacy. I was raised and educated with the values of the prolific social and organic architecture movement from the mid-20th century, in which Olivetti was central, along with his legendary magazine “Comunità”, a point of reference for architects, planners and landscape architects dedicated to researching the relationship between humans and the environment, both built and natural. 

Over time, I developed the awareness that the environment shapes our physical and emotional function, our thoughts and our behaviours, which, in turn, shape the environment.
My passion for the synergistic relationship between internal and external environments led me to make the applied science that explores this - environmental psychology - my profession. 
The heart of my work and mission is biophilia, the innate connection that every human being has with nature. Biophilic design is the practical methodology I use to apply biophilia in a concrete way. Through its principles and tools, we are able to design any environment in life, from the micro-design of a product to the macro-scale of a city, as long as it satisfies the deep, natural psycho-biological needs we all have and need to satisfy. 

We spend the majority of our time - almost 90% - in indoor spaces, which are often not healthy.
Sometimes the air quality inside can even be worse than the air outside, due to pollutants. The inappropriate use of artificial light and synthetic colours and materials also doesn't contribute to creating an ideal environment. Designing with consideration for our innate need for connection with nature can significantly improve our experience in buildings.
Biophilic design incorporates natural elements into the built environment, bringing the outdoors inside, to improve human health and wellbeing.

We can summarise the guidelines of this discipline into a few main characteristics, which aim to re-establish the link between an individual and nature in built environments.

Including elements such as plants, water, natural light or materials that evoke nature (wood, stone), to create a direct connection with the outdoor environment, promoting a healthy interaction between people and nature and encouraging a broader sense of relationship and responsibility for human and natural communities;

Adopting forms, patterns and textures inspired by nature in interior structures and design, to evoke a feeling of connection with ecosystems. 
Emulating the genius of nature also involves an ethical component in terms of sustainable development, and this is what biomimicry is all about;

A focus on natural light is fundamental: maximising the use of sunlight in the design of spaces, through the orientation of buildings and the use of translucent, reflective or transparent materials, improves mood, sleep and productivity.

In a biophilic design project, it is also important to include integrated green spaces. Creating gardens, courtyards or green walls means offering spaces for rest and regeneration, increasing biodiversity and improving our connection with our ecosystem;

Finally, it is vital to design spaces in such a way that the occupants have a view of the outside, preferably onto natural landscapes or green spaces, as a distraction that reduces stress and improves mental wellbeing, triggering psycho-physical regeneration.

"Looking over the most incredible gulf in the world, this factory has been built with respect for the beauty of the place, and so that beauty can be a comfort during our everyday work."
From Adriano Olivetti's speech for the opening of their factory in Pozzuoli, which welcomed 1,300 people including manual workers and office staff. 

Olivetti intuited all this, and put it tangibly into his factories. This is certainly the case for the Industrial campus in Pozzuoli, which is now a FAI location and is considered to be the most beautiful industrial site in the country. Its connection with the local ecosystem, natural light and open views are the characteristic biophilic patterns of this factory, which brings together the indoors and the outdoors, and where function, beauty and nature coexist in harmony. 

The scientific community has broadly demonstrated that the built environment should be able to effectively connect those living in it with nature, stimulating biophilia, which in turn promotes a virtuous circle of attitudes and behaviours in favour of that environment. In other words, implementing a "biophilic factory" leads metaphorically to a "factory of biophilia", promoting connection with and care for nature, and the wellbeing and productivity of those working there. 

Thanks to my family experience, I understood the great transformative power that the working environment can have; it is able to help its employees grow, permeating their families at an intergenerational level, and branching out into society, transforming it in space and time. 

A positive effect that can multiply infinitely, because a particular characteristic of environmental psychology, biophilia and biophilic design is their interdisciplinary nature.
Indeed, the environment affects every aspect of human life.

Every environment is an exchange of energy.
Our minds and bodies are constantly, profoundly shaped by the physical environment. We ourselves are an environment for the microorganisms that live inside us, in even higher numbers than our cells. 

Practical biophilia is therefore a boundless discipline, which has ramifications in all areas of human life and activity. Through its application, it is possible to elevate the quality of the disciplines it intersects with, just as those same disciplines elevate it in return. Cultivating biophilia means promoting profound regeneration, internal and external.

"I love trees. They are like us.
Roots in the ground and heads towards the sky."

Erri De Luca


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N° 15


People, like trees, put out branches in their lives
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