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Patrick Bingham-Hall


Spa & wellness


Biophilia is a well-worn phrase and an expansive concept, encompassing everything from indoor shrubbery and plants to natural retreats made from bio-friendly materials. For many hotels, using natural forms is a handy way of enhancing the lobby decor, but for others a growing focus on connecting to nature is a pivotal part of hotel wellness. Abi Millar speaks to WOHA co-founder Richard Hassell and Bill Browning, founding partner of Terrapin Bright Green, about the growing science of biophilia and the role it can play in enhancing the health and well-being of hotel staff and guests.


Pastoral care O


ver the last few years, and especially since the start of the pandemic, many people have faced a moment of reckoning about their relationship with the natural world. With climatic calamities rarely out of the news – forest fires in Australia, ice caps melting, rising sea levels in the oceans – there has been a wave of what is being termed ‘eco grief’. The fact that we need nature, that we are part of nature, has never been clearer. Confined to our homes in an unprecedented way, it has been common to draw solace from nature in whatever form we can find it. Having access to a garden during the early lockdowns was spoken about


Hotel Management International / www.hmi-online.com


as a proxy for privilege. Houseplant sales boomed. Birdwatching was suddenly modish. People took relish in the photos of animals recolonising abandoned urban roads. These moments of connection served to mitigate our sense of confinement, and maybe even soothed our anxiety about the destruction we were seeing on the news. All this is to say that, as life goes back to some kind of normal, it may become harder, or less desirable, to draw a clear line between the built environment and the natural world. Biophilia (literally ‘love of life’ in Greek, but in practical terms a concept around how nature can support people’s


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