My aim for this project was to improve the health and wellbeing of students, using research into biophilia hypothesis. This is the idea that humans are innately connected to nature and studies have proven the physical and emotional benefits behold to contact time with our natural environment. Within my research I also found that these positive effects can be evoked through synthetic forms. It was for this reason I chose to design a bio-inspired pattern that could be installed within the university in order to subconsciously improve student wellbeing. This method would be low maintenance and financially viable.
After spending a large amount of time researching theory and experimenting with the different possible forms my design could take, I developed the pattern you can see to the right. After developing this I then went on to test the effect my pattern had on students. Using three different means of testing I set out to prove it had the positive effects on concentration and restoration I had hoped for.
With the help of Dr Lynne Spackman from the psychology department of Sheffield Hallam University I was able to design reliable and ethical experiments that helped to prove my hypothesis. Creating my installations at a small scale I tested their effect on my peers before and after installation, as well as conducting a behavioural study contrasting my pattern against a man made and completely natural pattern.
After statistical analysis of my data I found that my pattern decreased stress, enabled peoples’ ability to relax in the environment, increased happiness and productivity, was equally as restful as a completely natural pattern and would help to restore attention, actively improving concentration.
Due to the results from my studies I went on to install this pattern at a large scale, within a busy passageway in the university. Using vinyl and a flat bed cutter I was able to cover around 27 metres of wall space to create this piece that has already begun to have a positive effect on it’s surroundings.