We recently had the chance to speak with Bettina Bolten, freelance scientific researcher specialising in biophilic design, research and consultancy. We discuss her background and current role ahead of next week’s WOD event taking place at Bene’s Milan showroom titled; “Biophilia and Wellness in the Work Environment”.
WOD: Tell us about your background, including what attracted to the workplace sector and why?
BB: “I come from the world of architecture and design. I dealt with design and brand management, communication, trend research, and corporate strategy for a structured business in Milan for many years. I worked as a consultant for furniture companies in the luxury sector, therefore not exclusively in the office sector. Years ago, I had the opportunity to come closer to Biophilia and Biophilic Design. I then decided to focus on these two themes in combination with the concepts of environmental, social, and economic sustainability in architecture and interior design.”
WOD: Could you explain to us a bit more about your current role…
BB: “I have been dealing with Biophilia and Biophilic Design for the past eight years now. I publish scientific and informative texts, carry out research, as well as organise training and teaching for universities and professionals ( such as architects, designers, engineers, real estate operators, etc. .).
I also work as a consultant for professionals and companies who work in the architecture and interior design sector.”
WOD: What are the key issues currently most relevant to your client base?
BB: “Very often their questions are regarding well-being and how to set up the design of spaces for today’s living, studying, playing, healing, and working in a biophilic perspective. The aim is to guarantee the psychophysical health of the users.”
WOD: Of these issues, which do you personally find most interesting and challenging?
BB: “I think they are all equally and extremely important, especially after the recent experience of the pandemic. In my opinion, we are in a transition phase in which we urgently need to find valid solutions to make people feel good in work environments. And those are no longer exclusively offices. We can now work anywhere: in our homes, in the so-called “third places”, as well as in semi-public or public spaces. Right now, I am seeing a lot of excitement in the search for new solutions to create a pleasant environment that acts as a stage for all the various types of activity: concentration work, teamwork, social aggregation, relaxation, regeneration, etc. There is still a lot of work because these new solutions do not always reflect our peculiarities as a species.”
WOD: What are your thoughts about the role of women in our industry? Are there still barriers and ‘glass ceilings’? Could more be done to support women in office design?
BB: “In many years of activity as a design manager, unfortunately, I must admit that there are still too few women in important roles, even if some of the new generations are achieving excellent results. Furniture companies still lack many women in key positions, even if there are some great success stories in the luxury market and Italy in general. Women must continue to fight and have more courage to assert themselves and make the male world understand that they have excellent professional preparation, valid study background, and many topics to share that have nothing to envy from the male world. As far as my professional field is concerned, I have long noticed a greater interest from the female world, who are more sensitive and perhaps even more empathetic towards issues such as well-being and health. Many women are available to constantly question themselves and have the desire to learn, update and train. I would say that these are excellent signs for the near future of women.”
WOD: Tell us what you’re excited for in the next 12 or so months…
BB: “I am firmly convinced that Biophilic Design, which is currently still perceived as a trend of the moment, will, in the coming months, increasingly enter the world of design and collective understanding.
This is because of its benefits, which are underlined and approved by more and more evidence-based trials, and cannot be ignored much longer.
This discipline is too often misunderstood as a practice that deals only with greening buildings and internal environments. While instead, it concerns a rich set of topics regarding the inseparable relationship that human beings have established over the long years of their evolutionary history with the natural world.”
Thanks to Bettina for not only agreeing to be a part of our on-going Feature Friday series, but also for agreeing to join WOD Italy for “Biophilia and Wellness in the Work Environment”, taking place at Bene‘s showroom in Milan on Thursday 16th March (6:00 PM – 8:00 PM CET). Book your place by clicking here.
If you’d like to reach out to Bettina directly or find out more about some of her professional activities and initiatives, you can do so by following her LinkedIn page:
• Bettina’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bettina-bolten-3488739a/