Biophilic Design in Interiors

ID Collaborative blog post

A design concept that I became interested in last year and that influences my design thinking and strategies is Biophilic Design. Based on the research and findings of Biologist Edward Wilson, Biophilic Design connects people to nature in their interiors, which has a positive impact on their health and wellbeing. Biophilic design can reduce stress, improve learning, increase productivity and creativity, expedite healing and therefore, is crucial for producing well-balanced work spaces, health-care facilities, or any other interior space. The Biophilia effect spans a broad range of elements that include positive personal responses to views of nature, use of organic forms and patterns, and use of natural materials, and lighting.

Here are some ways to incorporate Biophilia in your design:

Visually Connect to Nature
Incorporating a view to nature can create a space that feels whole and can stimulate and calm those in the interior. Research shows that views to nature can reduce stress, promote positive emotional functioning, and improve concentration and recovery rates. A nature view out of the window is more than just pleasant; in fact, a nature view can help patients heal faster. Faster healing leads to shorter hospital stays and thus has positive economic benefits. Views can be real, like through an actual window, or simulated through a digital screen or artwork depicting landscapes.

Use Organic Forms and Patterns
Organic forms can be captivating, interesting and comforting. These types of shapes and forms can be found in fabrics, carpet, wall coverings, sculptures and furniture details. Look for materials with botanical, animal and shell motifs. Selections with natural geometries and natural colors produce an indirect nature experience as well.

Choose Natural Materials
Materials such as natural wood, stone, fossil, cork and bamboo help to create the connection to nature. They can be rich, warm and authentic. Natural materials have a calming effect on the space, as well as improving one’s creative performance. Also, Varying textures (soft and hard) can create a more welcoming space for occupants. Try to use sustainably sourced or recycled materials.

Incorporating dynamic and diffused lighting evokes feelings of intrigue and senses of calm that create a transition between indoor and outdoor spaces. Utilizing a lighting system that either naturally or artificially changes throughout the day to mimic circadian rhythm helps to link people to the outdoor environment and, essentially, keep us on track with our natural 24-hour cycle. Maximizing natural light and changes throughout the day also enhances visual comfort. Intentionally layer lighting sources to create interest and depth.

Consciously choosing design details and sections that reflect nature into the interior can bring the benefits of Biophilic Design into your space and improve the health and well-being of the interior.

Contributed by Madeleine Day, Intern