Interior design is a lot more than aesthetics. It is about creating spaces where we can thrive, feel good and be healthy. Which is ultimately what biophilic design is about.
In particular, biophilic design draws inspiration from the natural world. It brings the essence of nature into interiors, creating spaces that actively support our wellbeing.
And since we spend 90% of our time indoors, it’s easy to understand how much of a difference this can make in our day-to-day lives!
How does biophilic design work?
To explain the idea behind biophilic design, we need to go back to the evolution of human life…
Humans have relied on nature to survive since the beginning of times. And our connection with the natural world used to be clearly perceived in the past.
With time, people have started developing a human environment made of interiors, buildings and cities that strayed from nature more and more as time went by. And today, our living spaces are often the furthest opposite of nature.
As a result, we now tend to see nature as something very far from our day-to-day lives. And we've largely lost the sense of being part of something bigger.
Meanwhile, studies have shown several positive effects of nature on us. From increased working and learning performances, to faster healing rates, to improved overall wellbeing.
It is in this context that biophilic design has developed.
Bringing nature into the design of interiors, architectures and cities, biophilic design ultimately aims at improving the quality of our lives.
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The patterns of biophilic design
Biophilic design has narrowed down 14 features of nature that have an impact on our wellbeing. They’re called patterns, and are divided in 3 categories:
- Nature in the space (opened in a new window/tab): incorporating natural elements in design.
- Natural analogues (opened in a new window/tab): replicating natural shapes, patterns, colours and textures.
- Nature of the space (opened in a new window/tab): reproducing the layout of natural environments.
For a full overview of the 14 patterns, check out my Biophilic Design Guide
The potential of biophilic design
Biophilic design can be applied at different scales: interior design, architecture, urban planning…
And every single biophilic space will bring wellbeing benefits to its occupants. But the potential of biophilic design goes way beyond that.
If used extensively at all levels, biophilic design can radically transform our modern human environment, making our homes, buildings and cities better for us and for nature!
"[…] environmental degradation and alienation from nature are not inevitable consequences of modern life but rather failures and how we have deliberately chosen to design our buildings and our cities. We designed ourselves into this predicament and we can design ourselves out of it with the help of biophilic design."
Cit. Stephen Kellert *
* Stephen Kellert has been Professor Emeritus at Yale University in the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, author of several books and has actively engaged in the topic of biophilia.