Have you ever found yourself mesmerized by the babbling brook, simply absorbing the enchanting noise of the water and watching the stream flow steadily on? Have you felt that cozy warmth wash over you from the outside in while you were snuggled up by a crackling fire? Or have you felt the instantaneous tranquility when your pet nestles up to you while you are laying on the couch? All of these examples evoke familiar feelings of calmness, relaxation, and healing. And they all have one thing in common, they happen when we experience nature.
Whether we’re outside hiking, playing with our furry friends indoors, or simply admiring our potted plant, we are in fact connecting with nature. Something so instinctual and yes, natural, has become overlooked and underestimated. Studies show that the majority of people spend up to 90% of their time indoors, tucked away in our urban environments, missing vital opportunities to encounter nature. In the hustle and bustle of modern life, where we’re constantly rushing and feeling overwhelmed an important concept is starting to gain traction. The concept of biophilic design.
What Is Biophilic Design?
Biophilic design definition states that biophilic design is a practical solution to humankind’s innate love of nature and a way to integrate natural elements into our living and working environments. Biophilia, or our love of nature, explains why we feel so at ease and captivated by natural occurrences. This concept was first formulated by social psychologist Eric Fromm and popularized by biologist Edward Wilson.
The biophilic design theory is by no means a piece of news, it has been around for quite some time, but we feel it is becoming popularized as of late due to the evergrowing awareness of the importance of mental health and our active role in nurturing it, especially amid a global pandemic. The unfortunate pandemic might after all have a silver lining, considering we are more than ever mindful of our indoor environments and how they relate to our wellbeing, having been confined to them for a significant amount of time this past year.
Biophilic Design History
From awe-inspiring cave drawings by our distant ancestors to the magnificent paintings in ancient temples and castles depicting plants and wildlife, biophilic design elements have intuitively persisted until modern times. Our connection to nature as humans is undeniable and it has been represented throughout the ages. From the majestic hanging gardens of Babylon to the lively aviaries of ancient Mexico, natural themes supporting the relevance and cruciality of biophilic design can be found in all cultures and regions of the world.
Biophilic Design Principles
As we yearn to reconnect with nature in 2021, we should all get more familiar with the concepts of biophilic design and learn how we can incorporate them into our own spaces. There are 14 patterns of biophilic design that explain the relationship between our biology, nature, and our built environment. These principles are here to guide us, our interior designers, and architects on how we can fully take advantage of the benefits of biophilia in our home and work environments.
14 Patterns Of Biophilic Design
Reconnecting with nature through biophilic design can happen through direct or indirect experiences. Direct experiences of nature would entail greenery and plants, light, water, and air movement mimicking wind. While indirect experiences of nature can be the presence of natural materials such as wood or rocks, images or videos of nature. The 14 patterns of biophilic design are as follows:
- Visual Connection With Nature
Installing a koi pond or a green wall would satisfy this principle. Views of direct nature are incredibly beneficial to the psyche.
- Non-Visual Connection with Nature
Simulations of nature sounds or using textured fabrics that resemble natural materials would comply with this principle.
- Non-Rhythmic Sensory Stimuli
Lighting that changes with movement and nature sounds would work well to fulfill this principle.
- Thermal & Airflow Variability
Controlling the HVAC systems and cross ventilation along with window treatments would satisfy this principle.
- Presence of Water
Having an aquarium or a fountain would work wonders to fulfill this biophilic design pattern.
- Dynamic & Diffuse Light
Ambient and diffuse lighting or daylight preserving window treatments would be excellent to comply with this principle.
- Connection with Natural Systems
Birdhouses or flowering vegetation, as well as diurnal lighting patterns, would work splendidly for this principle.
- Biomorphic Forms & Patterns
Furniture form and details and arrangement of the building or room that is evocative of nature would be most satisfactory.
- Material Connection with Nature
Incorporating accent details such as leather, wood grains, and a natural color palette into the design is highly recommended.
- Complexity & Order
Including auditory stimuli, complex plant oil fragrances, and a variety of plants would satisfy this design principle.
Using transparent materials and open floor plans for example would work wonders and fulfill this principle of biophilic design.
Reading nooks and window seats, as well as private meeting rooms and offices, would constitute a modern-day refuge and help realize this principle.
For example, curving edges and winding paths in a design would comply with this principle of biophilic design.
A transparent railing or infinity edges, as well as architectural cantilevers, would be great to deliver this principle of biophilic design.
Benefits Of Biophilic Design
While we all feel an intrinsic connection to nature, it’s good to know that there is actual research to support and explain this. Many studies suggest there is empirical and measurable evidence that biophilic design has extensive positive benefits on our overall health and wellbeing. The human-nature connection has been shown to lessen stress, improve creativity and focus, help patient recovery, and more!
Biophilic design and mental health are interconnected and research shows that encounters with nature and the natural environment through biophilic design give us much-needed opportunities to take a break and avoid getting into a state of mental fatigue. Taking a few moments to gaze at greenery or to soak up the colors and sounds of an aquarium in our living or working space can recharge us and give us a welcome boost and clearer focus so we can go back to our task. Natural environments, filled with plants, wonderful daylight, and water can provide a safe space with less tension and anxiety.
To capitalize on the benefits of biophilic design we should:
Maximize the use of natural lighting. This will help increase our productivity, fight off seasonal depression and increase our intake of vitamin D! We can achieve this through open floor plans, incorporating large or numerous windows, or simply keeping the blinds open and our walls light-colored.
Incorporate nature in our interior design – including artwork and furniture. Using live-edge tables with stunning natural shapes and lush wall gardens in our home or workplace can help us invite nature indoors. According to research, these simple steps can increase our efficiency and diminish mental fatigue.
Include natural sounds and smells into our space. We often forget about the non-visible elements of biophilic design, but these factors also play a large role in how we feel in our space. Delicious smells and soothing sounds can create a magnificent symphony for the senses, allowing us to relax, enjoy and enmesh with nature at least for a few moments during our busy days.
Biophilic Design In The Workplace
Biophilic design health benefits are innumerable, but we shouldn’t fail to mention the global impact of biophilic design in the workplace as well. As we’ve mentioned before, environments that use biophilic design elements can help reduce stress, improve focus and creativity and boost morale. All of this is essential for a productive work environment. Whether you work from home or from an office, using the biophilic design approach will prove efficient and enhance your performance. Adding living plants to the office will not only make it more visually appealing and give you a welcome sight for your tired eyes, but it will help clean the air and increase humidity. Naturally, if your environment is alluring you will feel more engaged and in a better mood which will certainly appeal to your coworkers, creating a pleasant atmosphere and a powerful team.
Biophilic Interior Design
If you’re looking to incorporate biophilic design features into your home or office space, we’re here to help. We think that biophilic design is not a luxury, it’s an essential thing to consider for our health and wellbeing. When we’re talking about biophilic interior design, we should always keep in mind that biophilic design features should be in the context of the local environment. Getting inspiration from our outdoors can be so satisfying and it will truly help us nurture the love of our surroundings.
The value and usefulness of biophilic design are in integrating natural elements into our environment in a way that helps us engage and stay in contact with them, nourishing that connection and revitalizing our health and productivity.
Following are some biophilic design examples as designed by our own talented and dedicated team from Naturalist Interiors.
Biophilic Design Residential
In this residential space in Bayonne NJ, we had the distinct opportunity to combine our two loves, furniture design and wall garden design, into a stunning example of biophilic design. Our creative team dreamed up and installed a magnificent wall garden in the lobby of a modern NJ building. Using Flat Moss, Bun Moss, Hedera, Pitto Sporum, Brunia, and preserved plants we managed to conjure up an entire lush oasis that is now everyone’s favorite rest stop, creating a perfect green buffer between home and the outside world. Along with the invigorating wall garden, our team has contributed unique black epoxy resin tables to this lobby as well. Following the principles of biophilic design, our textured deep green wall garden, and caramel-toned walnut tables create a natural and stimulating environment that helps passers-by take a breather, forget about the rush, and reenergize before they move on with their day.
Biophilic Design Living Room
Biophilic home design is one of our passions. The Naturalist team knows the many benefits that come with letting nature in and we’re eager to help our clients enjoy them. Here is our example of a stunning living room that encompasses all the important features of biophilic design. Combining neutral and earthy tones in this room we produced a cozy atmosphere completed with biophilic design lighting, which would mean we opted for more ambiance and less harsh light. The rock and wood elements on the walls add to the natural vibe while the biophilic design furniture further completes the picture. Notice how stunning the live edge table is, with the natural colorations and texture of the wood. This one-of-a-kind piece can take us back to nature with a single glance. Of course, plants are a crucial element of biophilic design so you’ll detect them throughout the room. They unmistakably make this space come to life.
Biophilic Design Bedroom
Our bedrooms should be the absolute zen nooks where we go to unwind and recharge after a long day. Designing a bedroom following the principles of biophilic design can only be a win. We had that opportunity with one of our clients. The Naturalist team was fortunate enough to work on a marvelous project where we designed a distinctive wall garden in a master bedroom of a private residence in New York. Using natural growth combined with lush and leafy plants like Flat Moss, Bun Moss, Manzanita Branch, Hedera Leaves, Ferns, Mushrooms we came up with a masterpiece. A beautifully textured and colorfully interlaced wall garden now embellishes this space and makes its owners delightfully relaxed every time they look upon it. Once again our team has successfully bid nature inside and with enchanting results at that!
Biophilic Office Design Examples
We’ve already covered the benefits of biophilic design in offices, how about we give you some eye candy now? The Naturalist team has worked on many office projects and here are some of our favorites.
Arrive Logistics office building lobby is richer and revitalized thanks to a Naturalist wall garden with a logo. We used different moss variations to create a gorgeous, framed bed for the Arrive Logistic logo to rest upon. We used Flat Moss, Bun Moss, and Reindeer Moss, which were spectacularly combined to add some texture and color variations to the moss wall. All the employees and visitors of these offices can now relish in the sight of a living wall garden that brings a soothing atmosphere to this space. As always, we followed the principles of biophilic design and we are exhilarated when we can usher in some nature indoors.
Another great example of biophilic office design is our work at Wellen Park office space in Orlando, FL. We created a truly mesmerizing and unique wall garden. For this project, we picked Reindeer Moss, Flat Moss, Bun Moss with vibrant colors and incredible textures to bring nature into this office. The geometric pattern and gorgeous shades of green mixed with pops of orange, red, and bright neon green give a new dimension to this wall garden. This space has now become the favorite gathering spot for the employees at Wellen Park who like to take a break and soak up this sight before they tackle another task.
Invite Nature Into Your Home Or Office With Naturalist Biophilic Design Furniture And Wall Gardens
If you’d love to soak up the lush green views while you sip your morning coffee or take a break from work and gaze at the enchanting colors of a wall garden, contact Naturalist today. Our team is impassioned about helping you connect with nature and enjoy your surroundings. Let’s talk about your project and see how we can create a mesmerizing wall garden or unique piece of furniture just for you.