How to bring biophilic design into restaurants

in Biophilic Design

Biophilic design contributes to making people feel comfortable and at ease in interiors, which justifies its application to hospitality design.
Biophilic features can also easily become focal elements, creating that wow factor that’s so important in commercial interiors.

So today we’re looking at biophilic design applied to restaurants, which will make the space genuinely more welcoming for guests and workers alike.

Plants

The benefits of adding plants in interiors include giving life and tactile richness to a space, cleaning indoor air and restoring a healthy connection with nature.

Plants in interiors are surely decorative, but they can also double as functional elements.
For instance, plants are natural partitions that ensure privacy and physical distancing – a new necessity when it comes to public spaces.
When hanging from above, plants can also take the attention away from the ducts and pipes that are often exposed in restaurants, thus elevating the design without any structural work.

Contemporary restaurant with climbing plants as room dividers.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Golden Vision Studio (via Behance) (opened in a new window/tab)
Contemporary restaurant with plants draping from the cane-looking wall treatment.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Marat Mazur (opened in a new window/tab) - Photo by Ivan Sorokin
Outdoor restaurant with tall plants used as room dividers.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: OKU hotels (opened in a new window/tab)
Restaurant with draping plants used as the hair of a female face drawn on the wall.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Fconsonni Arquitetura (via Instagram) (opened in a new window/tab)

As a note, plants are not only greenery.
Tall trees, pampas grass compositions etc. are just as good at including nature in interiors!

Wine display area with a huge pampas grass composition hanging from the ceiling.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Studio YHLAA (via Behance) (opened in a new window/tab)
Restaurant tables arranged around a huge tree.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Hassell Studio (opened in a new window/tab) (via We Heart (opened in a new window/tab))

Natural materials & textures

Nothing can beat the depth and character that natural textures bring into a space. Their tactile richness and the play of light and shadow make them ideal to create a space that engages the senses.
 
According to the style of the interior, textures can be juxtaposed to create a dense experience. Or alternatively, one single texture can become the feature in an otherwise minimal space.

Minimal restaurant with plain walls and a raw stone bottom moulding.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: KIDZ Design (via Behance) (opened in a new window/tab)
Outdoor restaurant decorated with plenty of natural textures, from distressed wood to rattan and stone.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Konstantinos Anninos (via Behance) (opened in a new window/tab)
Minimal restaurant with arched niches on the walls with a raw stone finish.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Hanna Oganesyan & Bosc Architectes (via Behance) (opened in a new window/tab)

Organic shapes

In nature, organic and flowy shapes are way more frequent than straight lines.
Also, organic forms feel visually pleasing and welcoming, which makes them an ideal choice for a restaurant design.

Restaurant with curved seats and arches on the walls.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Alina Novytska & Lada Kamyshanska (via Behance) (opened in a new window/tab)
Restaurant with organic floor-to-ceiling wood panels.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Takashi Niwa Architects (opened in a new window/tab) – Photo by Hiroyuki Oki
Restaurant with curved seat that continues as wall treatment.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Innarch (via Archdaily) (opened in a new window/tab) - Photo by Atdhe Mulla

Outdoor view

What's out of the windows is always an important biophilic design element.
Both in homes, offices and in restaurants – outdoor views should be part of the design. When naturally worth it, this translates in highlighting the existing view. Otherwise, the challenge is creating an interesting view with the help of outdoor landscaping.
 
Curating the view also enriches the design with an element that evolves during the year. This strengthens the connection with the changing seasons and can build a deeper local identity.

Corridor restaurant with curved plan running in the middle of a forest.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: MUDA Architects (via Archdaily) (opened in a new window/tab) - Photo by Arch-Exist
Restaurant with huge trees looking in the internal coutyard.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Helle Flou (opened in a new window/tab) – Photo by Kristine Funch

Water

Water features add a fresh sense of nature to all interiors. And in restaurants, they can easily become the focal point of the entire space.
Importantly, water is not just an element. It can also be a feeling, that's reproduced in the space with materials, movements or lighting.

Restaurant with bubbling pool feature.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Philip Johnson & Mies van der Rohe (via Dwell) (opened in a new window/tab) - Photo by Jennifer Calais Smith
Restaurant with a hanging sculpture showing plenty of swimming fishes.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Scabetti (opened in a new window/tab) - Photo Michele Curel
Restaurant with etched glass partitions looking like flowing water.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: RCR Arquitectos & Pau Llimona (via Davide Groppi) (opened in a new window/tab)

Mystery and Refuge

Mystery and refuge are two biophilic design patterns that apply particularly well to restaurant design.
Refuge translates in cozy nooks for guests to have a more intimate dinner. And mystery adds a moody vibe to the interior.

Table enclosed by a floor-to-ceiling curved wall panel.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Vaqueta Gastro Mercat (opened in a new window/tab)
Table in a black nook that can be fully closed with curtains.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Golden Vision Studio (via Behance) (opened in a new window/tab)

Risk

Risk features are among the most spectacular in biophilic design.
They are perfect to introduce a playful element in a space – like swinging chairs and cantilever tables. When it comes to restaurant design, risk features help create a unique experience that guests will remember.

Table with swing-chairs hanging from the ceiling.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Íris Cantante (via Archdaily) (opened in a new window/tab)
Table with swing-chairs hanging from the ceiling.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Atelier JMCA (opened in a new window/tab)

 
For even more inspiration, you’re welcome to take a look at my Pinterest (opened in a new window/tab), where I curate Room-by-Room biophilic design boards – including one dedicated to restaurant design!

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Comments

Don't be shy, let me know what you think!

On Felicia H. said:
Just awesome , calming designs, that also take your breath away.
On Silvia - DforDesign said:
That's exactly the aim, especially with hospitality design! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts Felicia, it means a lot!
On nadia said:
Thanks for sharing this inspiring post .. I really enjoyed it :)
On Silvia - DforDesign said:
Hi Nadia! I'm so happy to know that! Thank YOU so much for taking the time to let me know, it really means a lot! Silvia
On Yelena said:
Beautiful design great topic
On Silvia - DforDesign said:
Hi Yelena! It's a topic I'm very passionate about and I'm so happy you've enjoyed it! Thanks for taking the time to let me know, I really appreciate it! :)

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