Cadworks scoops Commercial Project of the Year at Herald Property Awards

We were delighted to see our friends at Cadworks take home the prestigious Commercial Project of the Year at the 2022 Herald Property Awards on 29 September.

Recognised for its outstanding innovation, ground-breaking environmental standards, and commitment to driving positive social impact in the local community, Cadworks was presented with the Award by Angela Joseph, Partner at Alinea Consulting, at the Double Tree by Hilton, Glasgow City Centre.

The Commercial Project of the Year category recognises a project that meets and exceeds the needs of its target market. It judges innovative use of materials and building techniques, architectural design, and consideration for green issues.

Cadworks, which was designed by architects Cooper Cromar, features Glasgow’s first cycle-in access ramp, is net zero carbon in operation, and uses anti-viral paint which also removes greenhouse gasses and purifies the air for tenants. With parking for bikes only and state-of-the-art changing facilities, as well as event space and partnerships with grassroot charities in the City, Cadworks is a new generation of workplace.

FORE’s managing partner, Basil Demeroutis, said: “The Herald Property Awards are meaningful as the Herald completely immersed in Glasgow city life. The judges are all local experts and know the buildings and the market particularly well, which is why this award is really very humbling for all of us involved.

“I am delighted on behalf of the entire team who have worked tirelessly to deliver Scotland’s most sustainable office building. This award underlines that quality never has to be compromised for sustainability.”

Find out how we played our part in helping Cadworks become Scotland’s most sustainable office development here


Benholm to close for HM Queen Elizabeth II State Funeral

On Monday 19th September we will join the rest of the nation to remember Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

To mark The Queen’s funeral and to allow us the opportunity to pay our respects, we will be closed.

We will reopen as normal on Tuesday 20th September. Thank you for your understanding.


Biophilic Design Study: Initial Results

We are delighted to share some initial findings from our recent collaboration pioneering research study on The Value of Biophilic Design.


Research Question 

How can designers communicate and evidence the value of well-being to their clients and inform decision-making?  



Biophilic design aims to create places where occupants connect with the natural environment. In the context of workplaces, there has been growing interest in these design strategies as they have been demonstrated to have a strong association with employees’ wellbeing.  

Extensive research has shown its restorative and stimulating effects on people’s emotions and life satisfaction, however, biophilic design is still being seen as an expenditure rather than an investment.  

Evidencing good quality spatial and environmental design with a tangible financial proxy can become a driver to aid commercial decision-making; it is vital that investors can understand the co-benefits of these design strategies in the briefing and budget planning stage.  

This study explored ways to link the economic value to the benefits of biophilic design. It investigated the potential of monetising well-being outcomes with Social Value methodologies and how spatial designers can evidence and communicate the benefits of biophilia.  


Three different physical environments were introduced to the participants to spend their working day throughout the study.  

The scenarios were designed to represent non-biophilic and various biophilic environments. There were two key variables (indoor green and views out), changes were kept to a minimum to avoid too many environmental stimuli being introduced to participants 

  • Scenario 1: a cubicle-like workspace, i.e., a non-biophilic environment with no views out (windows with blinds).  
  • Scenario 2: a standard open-plan workspace with minimal biophilic elements in the existing workplace, such as small potted plants and views out from half-height view windows (the cill height is approximately 1 meter). This scenario represents a typical workplace.  
  • Scenario 3&4: two biophilic workspaces (direct and indirect visual connection). More biophilic elements were applied to these two workplaces i.e. green potted plants with lush foliage was introduced to the workstations, and some were coloured plants and aromatic. The participants were relocated next to a full-height window with dual aspect views out.  

Data capture 

The four scenarios were prepared at PLP Architecture’s Ibex House Offices in London and were used from Monday to Thursday. 

Participants instant emotions were captured twice a day in a diary (morning and afternoon) and they were each equipped with a Fitbit Inspire 2 fitness wristband and an Upright Go 2 posture tracker. Their background environments were also continuously monitored through an Airthings Wave Plus IEQ sensor.  

Participants were then invited to a group discussion and to complete a questionnaire on Friday to evaluate their perceived life satisfaction. 


Initial Results 

The initial results agree with previous research that biophilic scenarios, both subjective and objective, improve well-being compared to a non-biophilic workplace setting.  

Overall, the diary results indicate that the participant of the Biophilic scenario (scenario 4) logged more positive emotions than the other scenarios over the four days.  

Scenario 4 also generated the highest Net Well-being Value at £14,000 per person per year – more than double the non-biophilic cubicle scenario (£6000).   

Next Steps 

The preliminary insights gained from this study can support designers to make a stronger business case for biophilic design, by aligning non-tangible well-being benefits to a set of monetised values with a robust methodology that commercial decision-makers can comprehend. 

A more comprehensive list of results on ‘The Value of Biophilic Design’ is expected to be published in the coming months. Keep an eye on our blog and social media where we will share them in full.  


Further resources 

Watch our interview with Sustainability Lead at UK Parliament & PhD Researcher, Joyce Chan-Schoof, to discover how the participants reacted to our planting designs as part of the biophilic design of the office space, and what’s next for Joyce as she analyses the results: 

Learn more about Biophilic   

Connect with Joyce Chan-Schoof:  


Biophilic Design on a Budget: 6 cost-effective Biophilic Design methods

 Despite the fancy name and elaborate examples we see online, Biophilic Design is actually a pretty accessible concept, and you don’t always need to break the bank to feel its benefits.


Biophilic design can be most simply described as bringing the benefits of the outdoors, indoors. The benefits are undeniable, providing mental, social, and physical wellbeing for building occupants. This article will look at 6 cost-effective ways to bring nature into the workplace that can be scaled to fit businesses of any size.

Natural Light

In a research poll of 1,614 North American employees, HR advisory firm Future Workplace found that access to natural light is the most desirable attribute of the workplace environment, ahead of cafeterias, gymnasiums, and on-site childcare. Unfortunately, over a third of participants reported not having enough natural light in their workplace and felt tired and gloomy as a result.

These results are unsurprising when we consider the vital role that natural light plays in regulating our circadian rhythm. Adequate exposure to natural light supports a good night’s sleep allowing higher levels of concentration and productivity throughout the day.

The easiest and cheapest way to introduce natural light into an office environment is by ensuring blinds are kept open, and minimising obstructions in front of windows. In settings where this is not possible, SAD lamps and artificial ambient lighting can be used as an alternative to natural light to mimic the passage of the day. 

Sounds of Nature

Replacing the office radio with the calming sounds of nature is another budget-friendly way to engage the senses and there is an extensive list of playlists on apps like Spotify and YouTube that can be left to run all day.

According to a research review in the April 2021 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, listening to nature sounds can have profound health and well-being benefits.

For the review, the researchers looked at 18 studies investigating the health benefits of natural sound where study participants listened to recordings of outdoor sounds in laboratory settings.

Participants reported less stress and improved health outcomes, like decreased pain, after listening to recordings of nature sounds. Water sounds, such as that of a gurgling brook or a steady waterfall, tended to be the most effective  in promoting a more positive mindset, while bird sounds were best for lowering stress.

The study’s lead author, Rachel Buxton, PhD, was unsurprised by the findings commenting “From an evolutionary perspective, humans are hardwired to attend to signals of danger and security. And an environment that is filled with natural sounds feels safe and allows us to let our guard down.”



Perhaps the most low-cost and high-impact biophilic design element, plants instantly transform spaces and enhance the mood of inhabitants.

Various studies have shown that including plants in workplace design can have a positive effect on perceived productivity. One report, studying 7,600 offices workers in 16 countries, found nearly two-thirds (58%) of workers have no live plants in their workspaces. Those working in environments incorporating natural elements reported a 15% higher wellbeing score and 6% higher productivity score than employees whose offices didn’t.

To preserve your investment and eliminate the need for expensive replacements, we recommend a maintenance contract. High quality maintenance produces plants which look attractive, vibrant, healthy, and thriving and this has been proven to have a positive effect on staff and visitors. Conversely, poor maintenance will result in unhealthy plants that will provide a negative effect which is damaging to staff morale, motivation, and productivity.

Scents of Nature

In 2016, Savills and The BCO surveyed 1,000 workers and found that 75% said that scent was important to them in the workplace.

When we think about design, we instinctively think of the physical attributes of the space meaning more subtle elements such as scents are often overlooked. 

As the nature of the workplace continues to evolve, natural scents can play a central role in creating comforting environments which are conducive for productivity.

Popular scents such as lavender, rosemary and pine have been known to:

  • Improve concentration
  • Increase computational accuracy and speed
  • Enhance attention span, alertness, memory and task performance
  • Reduce blood pressure, anxiety and stress

Natural Ventilation

Natural ventilation is achieved through opening doors and windows where possible. Not only is this generally more cost effective than air conditioning systems, studies suggest employees in naturally ventilated buildings are also healthier.

Office buildings are notorious for spreading common diseases like cold and flu. Bringing fresh air into a room and removing older stale air that contains virus particles reduces the chance of spreading respiratory infections. The more fresh air that is brought inside, the quicker any airborne virus will be removed from the room.

If it’s cold outside, it still helps to open windows even slightly for short, sharp bursts regularly throughout the day to allow the air to circulate.


Biophilia in the workplace does not only come in the form of physical, natural things – biomimicry is another popular way to bring some life into an office. Biomimicry is the imitation of life and the living, natural world.

Whenever we have the opportunity to interact with real, artificial or even implied sources of nature, we reap numerous psychological benefits. A 2009 study, titled The Cognitive Benefits of Interacting With Nature, found that simply viewing nature pictures improves executive attention in young adults.

In the context of an office, this may include using natural forms and colour palettes, or even murals and wallpapers which depict scenes of nature. These can be very simple ways to give a natural feel to the workplace, and it can be a very easy way to bring mundane areas of the office to life.

Implementing biophilic design may initially seem like a daunting prospect, however, at Benholm we have almost 30 years of experience in helping designers, management, and decision makers to enhance their workspaces. Get in touch to discuss your next project today.


Benholm boost business with acquisition of Greenwood Plant Interiors

We are delighted to announce the acquisition of Aberdeen based planting designers Greenwood Plant Interiors.

With 2023 marking 30 years of creative plant design and installation here at Benholm Group, we are thrilled to be further strengthening our company by adding the experience and knowledge from the small, but long-established team at Greenwood, as well as adding a breadth of new clients to our plant maintenance service.  

This acquisition provides Benholm Group with an Aberdeen based premises, in addition to our head office in Falkirk, which will enable us to serve existing northern customers more efficiently, and to boost business by offering even more creative planting solutions to new companies. 

We are also pleased to welcome Aki and Sandra to the maintenance technician team and look forward to working with existing and new customers across Scotland. 


“The purchase of Greenwood Plant Interiors will allow Benholm Group to further strengthen our business in the North. We are pleased to be able to offer all customers and employees of Greenwood a seamless transition into the Benholm family”.