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  • The power of biophilic design: Hotel creates immersive ‘forest bathing’ experience

    Can plants really help you sleep better?
    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
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    The power of biophilic design: Hotel creates immersive ‘forest bathing’ experience

    While we gear up to explore sensory design and sleep performance at Hotel Designs LIVE on August 10, a hotel in Scotland has launched a unique experiment exploring the psychological and physical benefits of biophilic design. Forest bathing has been introduced to Kimpton Blythswood Square after a survey revealed that 65 per cent of adults felt their mood improve when they were close to nature. Editor Hamish Kilburn learns more…

    Can plants really help you sleep better?

    Connecting people to nature through biophilic design is a concept that dates back to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. In a Scottish first, Kimpton Blythswood Square today launched the opening of ‘La Chambre Verte’, an immersive luxury hotel suite experiment that measures the psychological and physical benefits of biophilic design.

    Kimpton has partnered with luxury CBD skincare brand La Rue Verte, leading horticulturalists Benholm and award-winning DJ, Brian D’Souza to create a multi-sensory experience combining the theory of biophilia with CBD rituals, meditation and sound therapy.

    “It is estimated 70 per cent of the world’s population will live in cities by the year 2050, so La Chambre Verte offers a forward-thinking solution to a growing audience of ‘wellbeing tourists’ actively seeking proximity to nature.”

    La Chambre Verte installation launches during Mental Health Awareness Week, which in 2021 chooses the theme of ‘nature’, as it became clear in the lockdowns of 2020 that access to green space was vital for maintaining a healthy mind. During lockdown, city dwellers found parks and gardens to bring joy and relief to their mental health[1], while increasingly high numbers of homeowners moved to more rural areas[2], responding to city-centre burnout and a desire in a post-Covid world to live a less polluted life. It is estimated 70 per cent of the world’s population will live in cities by the year 2050, so La Chambre Verte offers a forward-thinking solution to a growing audience of ‘wellbeing tourists’ actively seeking proximity to nature and alternative therapies on their travels to enhance their mental and physical health. 

    Designed by plant experts Benholm and partner La Rue Verte (LRV), trailing ivies cascade down the walls of the bedroom, monstera leaves and palm fronds grace every view and eclectic clusters of lush foliage plants breathe life into the space. Echoing the practise of forest bathing, an ancient Japanese process of relaxation, La Chambre Verte encourages guests to unwind in the green space while observing nature’s beauty to feel stress levels reduced, happiness increased and ultimately, enjoy a better night’s sleep. 

    “We have created a truly unique health-based experience with Chambre Verte,” said Emma O’Neil, Director and founder of Hashtag Organics, La Rue Verte. “Think of it like a green prescription, I truly believe we have the best natural formula.”

    Biophilic design offers physical as well as mental health benefits to interior space[3]; firstly, the use of house plants such as Hedera (ivy)Monstera and Peace Lilies purify the air, removing toxins and pollution. Secondly, the inclusion of plants within the space omit molecular natural chemicals called Phytochemicals, which when inhaled are proven to directly reduce stress and boost the immune system. 

    Within the room, guests will be welcomed to a retreat curated by LRV, which includes virtual guided meditation exploring the place of ‘La Rue Verte’, the destination the brand uses to communicate how to live a truly balanced life, the green way. Items usually placed in the hotel room are replaced by a range of LRV 100 per cent pure hemp products, for example an innovative biodegradable hemp yoga mat. CBD vitamin-infused cocktails are available in the mini bar and guests can relax in LRV signature CBD baths, and nourish their body and soul with LRV CBD body oil. 

     Guests can also experience a bespoke nature-based Immersive soundscape within the room created by Open Ear Music. The novel approach combines field recordings of birdsong in Blythswood Square and the surrounding area with sound therapy techniques and relaxing musical compositions from the studio of Scottish Album of the Year 2019 winner Brian d’Souza, (Auntie Flo). A rejuvenating sunrise flow and calming twilight track help trigger the brain into a deep meditative state of relaxation and feeling of euphoria. Guests are invited to take time out to listen deeply and relax in musical escapism.

    Finlay Anderson, Spa Director at Kimpton Blythswood Square and Area Spa Director for IHG said: “At Kimpton we believe heartfelt human connections really make a difference to people’s lives and our hotel is so much more than just a wonderful place to sleep. When we opened following the first lockdown in 2020 we noticed a real desire from our guests to return for rest, relaxation and selfcare from the perspective of mental health to our award-winning Spa. Following this, we are delighted to present an alternative therapeutic experience surpassing the usual parameters of an overnight stay which offers guests the opportunity to reconnect with themselves, as well as others post-lockdown. 

    “Alongside LRV, we will collect data on the guest experience through a set of questionnaires, assessing the benefits of Biophilia and the Chambre Verte experience in comparison to a standard hotel room environment and look forward to sharing the results and using this experience to continue our development of alternative therapies across the hotel and spa.” 

    Hotel Designs will explore the topic of sensory experience at its upcoming Hotel Designs LIVE on August 10. The virtual event is free to attend if you qualify as a designer, architect, hotelier or developer – just click here to secure your seat in the audience.

    Main image credit: Kimpton Hotels

    Hamish Kilburn / 29.06.2021

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