Would you say that modern man has lost touch with nature? Throughout history, we have always been trying to make our lives easier and more comfortable, but we have always been living in nature, surrounded by trees, water, insects, flowers, and animals. Sadly, we seem to have wandered too far in our need to feel safe, and now nature seems too foreign and distant.
This is one of the reasons why people focus on trying to find ways to bring us closer to nature, or nature closer to us. Biophilic design is incredibly popular, and for good reason – it’s an elegant and effective way to make one feel connected with nature once more.
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The origins of biophilia
The term “biophilia” which translates to “love of nature” appeared for the first time in 1984. Edward Wilson, an American biologist and influential theorist at the time wrote a book titled Biophilia thus popularizing the term. Wilson brought up a bold hypothesis in the book, arguing that humans have an innate tendency to seek and form connections with nature. He stated that people can benefit greatly when they’re in close contact with nature and suffer if they’re excluded from it. When people focused on urban spaces, their bond with nature has weakened, and as a result, their health deteriorated. At the same time, a study conducted by Roger Ulrich’s provided objective proof that our health is greatly impacted by our environment. These theories and conclusions lead to great changes in architecture and that’s how biophilic design emerged.
What is biophilic design?
Biophilic design is incorporating nature with design. It includes natural light, vegetation, natural materials, natural colors, natural shapes and animals.
Unlike traditional designs, biophilic design is actually based on evidence so its approach is as scientific as it is esthetic. In essence of this design lays an idea that design should be fused with natural elements so as to offer the most benefits to a person’s wellbeing. While architecture is generally considered to be a perfect cross between art and science, the science part of it is often overlooked. On the other hand, biophilic design actually brought science back and fused it with design since it relies heavily onto evidence and research to help us find the best ways to create spaces which are in harmony with nature.
Biophilic design trend
Overall, as term searched online, “biophilic design” remains fairly flat. It’s not a trending design technique, but it is somewhat popular.
Examples of biophilic design in the home (ideas)
The easiest ways for most homes to incorporate biophilic design is via vegetation, windows, skylights and the use of natural materials (i.e. wood and stone). Below are several photo examples for various rooms of the home.
The bathroom is the space where we can meditate and focus on ourselves, and when we are able to feel close to nature, the time we spend there is even more therapeutic. It’s not too difficult to use biophilic design in bathrooms, and there are things you can do yourself or perhaps try hiring a reliable bathroom renovator to help you put your ideas in motion. You can start by trying to reduce the amount of water we use: installing low-flow faucets, recycling water, using rainwater, and relying on flow restrictors can greatly help us save water. Using bath mats made of pebbles or real moss, towels made of organic cotton or bamboo, and placing a plant that loves warmth and humidity in the corner will completely transform the space.
See our article listing and describing 18 plants that are great for bathrooms.
The simplest ways to feel a strong connection with nature is to have a nice view of the outdoors. Drapes and curtains are great for keeping your privacy, but try keeping them open during the day so you can see clear, blue sky and your garden. By opening the windows often you’re letting the sunshine in and you’ll also be able to feel gentle breeze which will wake you up and give you energy. Plants are also a great way to make your room seem cozier, and you don’t have to turn it into a jungle either: a couple of nice pots with cacti or fern will do the trick. Also, photos and wallpapers with natural patterns on them represent a symbolic connection to nature.
We already mentioned wallpapers with patterns representing nature: flowers, leaves, twigs, or birds, but you can also choose bed sheets with similar designs if wallpapers aren’t exactly your cup of tea. In addition, you can choose bed sheets that are made of natural materials such as silk, cotton, or bamboo, and also use carpets or throw rugs made of wool. These are a bit more expensive items, but they’re also natural and better for your health. You could also try playing soothing sounds around bedtime to help you relax and fall asleep faster: sounds of running water, ocean waves, or frogs will make you feel like you’re sleeping outside while you’re actually in your comfy bed.
Also read our article listing out and describing 14 plants that may help you sleep better.
Whether we like it or not, we spend a great deal of time in offices and meetings. This means a lot of concrete, steel, glass, white walls, and artificial lighting. These elements might look professional, but they make us feel tired and don’t exactly help in keeping us motivated. Plenty of plants and artwork on walls help stimulate employees, and chill out zones are something that every workplace should have. Comfy couches and armchairs where you can have your coffee and/or tea and chat with a coworker are wonderful ways to help employees stay calm, optimistic, and motivated even when they’re working on a big project and have a deadline approaching.
Below is an example of a home office seemingly set in the middle of a forest.
A sunroom by its very nature is biophilic design as it’s an indoor space designed to make you feel like your outdoors. Check this out:
Green interior walls
You can easily incorporate nature in any room with green plant walls. Check out these examples.
Of course having gardens and trees in your yard is a very typical way to incorporate nature on your property. However, you can expand your natural property with a green roof. Here’s an example.
Check out more green roof examples here.