Biophilic design: why now?

in Biophilic Design

Although biophilic design has been around for quite a long time, it has been gaining particular momentum lately.

This is arguably not by chance, as the period we’re living in is in many ways conducive to the diffusion of a biophilic philosophy. Let’s explore…

Biophilic dining room with big windows overlooking greenery.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Studio 34 South (opened in a new window/tab) - Photo: Underpromise

the rise of wellbeing

Recent years have seen the rise of wellbeing as a fundamental value. In all its forms, self-care has become a priority to maintain inner balance and protect our mental and physical selves from a world full of stimuli that would otherwise end up draining all our energies.

This renewed awareness is also backed up by data. An incredible number of people around the world are experiencing a form of mental health condition or discomfort. And we’ve learned that some of the most common physical chronic conditions could be prevented with a healthier lifestyle.
Overall, these statistics suggest that there must be something wrong with how we’ve been living so far…

Curved mirror with a wooden frame reflecting flowers.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Bolia (opened in a new window/tab)

awakening circumstances

Recent times also brought two big challenges – the pandemic and the aggravation of the environmental crisis. Two extreme events that, while forcing us to do something about them, are also carrying important learnings.

Over the last few decades, we humans have – either consciously or not – lived as if we were above and beyond nature. Now, both the pandemic and the environmental crisis are highlighting the strong links that connect us to the complex balance of planet Earth.

Understanding our relative place in this world is a radical perspective shift that suddenly opens millions of questions over how we operate our lives. Maybe unsettling at first, this provides the occasion to do better going forward.

Biophilic outdoor space overlooking a wide natural scenery.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Tribù (opened in a new window/tab)

the role of biophilic design

From a design perspective, the rise of wellbeing has challenged the role of the spaces we inhabit. Do they influence how we feel and behave? Could they serve us better? Answering positively to both questions has been a call for better spaces; spaces that make us feel good, that foster healthier habits, that support us rather than dragging us down.
On their hand, the pandemic and the environmental crisis are also asking that we change our spaces to make them more appealing (think offices after months of working from home) and resilient (think cities in view of even higher urbanization rates).
And last but certainly not least, we need to find ways to lower the impact of our activities on the planet.

In this context, biophilic design stands out because it contributes to all aspects.
Biophilic spaces are designed to support our physical and mental health, thus responding to the need for nurturing surroundings. At the same time, a biophilic philosophy restores a deep and articulated relationship with the natural world – one that's rooted in the awareness of our relative place in the world. A mindset that naturally results in more caring and conscious behaviours, informing our journey towards a more sustainable future.

Biophilic living room with a view on greenery.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Nordic Knots (opened in a new window/tab) - Photo: Erik Lefvander

 
 

I was recently invited to a video conversation where we also touched on these topics, outlining the role of biophilic design going forward – you can view the full discussion on Blanche Garcia’s YouTube channel (opened in a new window/tab).

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