Welcome to Biophilic Moodboards!
What it is
Biophilic Moodboards is a new blog column, where we'll explore the elements of biophilic design through moodboards.
A monthly appointment, that will come back the first Friday of every month.
Why I created it
Biophilic design is an extremely powerful approach to interior design. It can give tangible health benefits and really help improve wellbeing. But its name – biophilic design – and its organization into patterns, can make it feel intimidating and way more complex than it actually is.
So let's explore one step at a time!
Today we'll start with the most popular element of biophilic design: greenery.
And here is this month's Biophilic Moodboard!
From the Urban Jungle movement to the bringing the outdoors in trend, plants are among the most common home accessories these days. But this is not to say that biophilic design is as common!
The overall idea behind biophilic design is restoring a strong relationship with nature in indoor spaces. And a few potted plants can't be enough.
So let's see how greenery applies to a biophilic design.
Abundant indoor greenery
Plants should be distributed across rooms, becoming a recurrent component of the design. However, abundant indoor greenery does not mean filling every empty corner with a plant!
Creating vignettes and clustering more plants in one space is a good strategy. For instance, living walls are perfect to achieve a lush green corner without taking up floor space.
When selecting greenery, it’s also good to remember that some plants are able to purify indoor air, making the space healthier to live in!
Outdoor view looking into nature
Seeing nature out of the window can also help to heal the mind and connect us with nature – it’s the power of outdoor views.
It's worth noting that this is not just for the lucky ones that live on the edge of a forest! Even a smaller terrace will do!
In fact, it has been proven that biodiversity has a better effect on health than the actual size of the green area.
"Visual access to biodiversity is reportedly more beneficial to our psychological health than access to land area (i.e., quantity of land)."
(Fuller, Irvine, Devine-Wright et al., 2007)
Which brings me to the next point...
Variety in greenery
Mixing up different types of plants is essential to recreate the feeling of a natural landscape indoors.
From a design point of view, different plants can also help to "fix" different problems in a space. A tree is perfect to fill an empty corner, draping plants are ideal when there’s no space available, and so on…
Tactile access to plants
Connecting with nature means using all our senses to experience it. And plants can bring such a multi-sensory interaction.
Keeping plants at reach and caring for them will also allow looking at them from close, touching them and smelling their leaves or flowers.
Plants as furniture
Plants can become furniture pieces and help create separate areas in the space. For instance, they can be used as a see-through room divider or to frame a reading nook.
Plants are a precious element of biophilic design, but not the only one!
On my Biophilic Design Guide, you can find a recap of all biophilic design patterns + links to detailed articles for each one of them!
- Brown, D.K., Barton J.L., Gladwell V.F. (2013). Viewing Nature Scenes Positively Affects Recovery of Autonomic Function Following Acute-Mental Stress. (opened in a new window/tab) Environmental Science & Technology, 47, 5562-5569
- Van den Berg, A.E., Hartig T., Staats H. (2007). Preference for Nature in Urbanized Societies: Stress, Restoration, and the Pursuit of Sustainability. Journal of Social Issues. (opened in a new window/tab), 63 (1), 79-96.
- Biederman, I., Vessel E. (2006). Perceptual Pleasure & the Brain. (opened in a new window/tab) American Scientist, 94(1), 249-255
- Barton, J. & J. Pretty (2010). What Is the Best Dose of Nature and Green Exercise for Improving Mental Health. (opened in a new window/tab) Environmental Science & Technology, 44, 3947–3955.
- Fuller R.A., Irvine K.N., Devine-Wright P., Warren P.H., Gaston K.J. (2007). Psychological benefits of greenspace increase with biodiversity. (opened in a new window/tab), 3Biol. Lett.
- Vogt B. A New Garden Ethic: Cultivating Defiant Compassion for an Uncertain Future. New Society Publishers.
- The 14 Patterns of Biophilic Design is a framework conceptualized by Terrapin Bright Green