Get an [Outdoor] Life

Mounting scientific evidence suggests that unplugging from our electronic screens and plugging-in to nature may prove key to maintaining creativity, productivity and vitality—even sanity. In fact, an anecdotal study published in the Journal of Environment and Behavior, researchers found that immersion in natural settings correlated with enhanced cognitive performance—but only when subjects were free of screens and smart devices. Perhaps, it’s a matter of concentration/distraction, but it’s safe to say giving humans the benefit of nature is a good thing, even if it is just allowing easy access to the outdoors. Micro-events in biophilia, just a five-minute stroll, or a break to stare at clouds, help our brains return refreshed to a working environment.

That said, don’t overlook the outdoors as a place to work more regularly—even with screens—says Kirt Martin, vice president of design and marketing for Landscape Forms. It turns out that programming underutilized landscapes into a setting for action, at the very least, can be more economical than developing new interior spaces. Landscape Forms’ latest collaboration with Kem Studios has resulted in the “Upfit” system for creating productive outdoor destinations, be they classrooms, social hubs or contemplation spaces.

Essentially, Upfit is an adaptive structure allowing 100% naturally ventilated outdoor rooms that are equipped with power, light and semi-private partitions that could also include write-on boards or colorful glass. A louvered roof offers shade from glare. The outdoor rooms may be finished with additional accessories including fans, lighting and flat screens. 

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