Can biophilic design live into monochrome interiors?
A monochrome scheme is one that limits the colour choice to one (or variations of one same colour).
So the question is, can one recreate the richness of a natural environment using basically just one colour?
I say yes.
Shifting the focus
Colour inherently catches the eye. By harmonizing colours in a space, the eye is given a chance to go one step further and focus on other elements: shapes and textures in particular.
From a design perspective, a monochrome interior is also a creative exercise. Colours are often presented as a tool to add interest, tie a space together and add character. Which is true, but I believe that all three things can be done equally well in a monochrome interior.
Texture and shape
If colour is out of the equation, textures and shapes become key.
Looking closer, textures reveal a personality of their own. Rough, etched, fluffy, smooth…
The same is true for shapes. Clear-cut, organic, tapered, sculptural…
Each shape conveys a feeling and the choice of a shape over another contributes to the identity of the space.
For instance, shapes play an essential role in evoking mystery or prospect. And a curved and collected shape is ideal for a refuge corner.
How light hits surfaces and objects in a space is always important in interior design. Even more in this case, textures will come to life and shapes stand out from the background - adding interest to any room.
Engaging the senses is key to biophilic design. And monochrome interiors offer a unique sensory experience.
Without marked colour variations, the brain will search elsewhere for clues about the space. Translated, other senses will take over.
Rich textures will be an invite to the touch, together with other tactile features (like varying surface temperatures).
More attention will be paid to sounds and scents, that will become a distinctive element of the space.
And what about movements? They will also contribute to adding interest.
In practical terms, the same can be obtained with two colours - a base and an accent. The focus is still beyond colours and into sensory elements.
Monochrome in nature
Back to our opening question: can one recreate the richness of a natural environment using basically just one colour?
Actually, monochrome inspiration is found in nature as well.
Ocean and sky paint a variation of blues, tree canopies are all green and the inside of a cave is basically all brown to sight. And still, neither of these natural environments feels dull or uninteresting.
So I say yes, biophilic design and monochrome interiors can definitely go together!