Biophilic design: the most natural path towards wellbeing

in Biophilic Design

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!

Waterfall shower with full height plants behind.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Exto London (opened in a new window/tab)

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.
Today, our living spaces are often the furthest opposite of nature. And as a result, we tend to see nature as something very far from our day-to-day lives. In other words, we've largely lost the sense of being part of something bigger.

Meanwhile, studies have shown several positive effects of nature on humans. 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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Vertical garden in Milan, an example of biophilic design by Stefano Boeri Architetti.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Stefano Boeri Architetti (opened in a new window/tab) - Photo: DforDesign

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:

 
For a full overview of the 14 patterns, check out my Biophilic Design Guide

Slack European Office, which applies biophilic design using wood partitions and plants.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: ODOS Architects (opened in a new window/tab) (via Dezeen (opened in a new window/tab))

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 *

Living room with black furniture, wood walls and an open view onto the forest.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Line Design Studio (via Instagram) (opened in a new window/tab)

 
* Stephen Kellert: Professor Emeritus at Yale University in the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, author of several books and active advocate of biophilia and biophilic design.

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