Biophilic Design: What is it and Why is it Popular?
October 15, 2019
You may or may not have heard the term, “biophilic design,” but you’ve probably seen it without knowing its name. And you’re likely to see more biophilic spaces in the future.
So what is biophilic design? Wikipedia defines it this way:
Biophilic design is a concept used within the building industry to increase occupant connectivity to the natural environment through the use of direct nature, indirect nature, and space and place conditions.
To that we would add, “Not just the building industry but interior design as well.”
The theory behind biophilic design is that as the world becomes more urbanized it’s more and more important that we stay connected to the outdoors, and proponents of the trend point out some very real benefits. The term itself is several decades old and translates to “love of life or living systems,” the idea being that we all subconsciously need to connect with other living things.
In real terms as it applies to commercial design, that means any number of things, but think lots of wood, plants as an architectural feature, indoor waterfalls and so forth. Definitions vary as to exactly what does and does not constitute biophilic design, but consider this: an atrium with full-size trees and waterfalls, simulating an exterior setting, is definitely biophilic. A ficus tree in your cubicle, not so much.
And there’s a huge middle ground, of course, but however you define it, there’s a marked trend towards bringing the outdoors to indoor spaces.
Why? Well, if you’ve ever gone for a hike in the woods to clear your mind, or if you’re a camping enthusiast, you understand the positive effects being in the outdoors can have on your psyche. In a commercial setting, proper use of biophilic elements translates to reduced stress, improved cognitive function, better moods and greater creativity. And any business could use some of that, right?
Does that mean you have to tear up your whole building and plant a forest in the lobby? No (although that would be pretty cool!). There are many ways, large and small, to incorporate biophilic design elements into the workplace.
Want to know more? Contact our design professionals.