Biophilic Design

With the COVID-19 pandemic casting a shadow on all of us, our appreciation for the sun, nature and the outdoors has increased. It’s said that human beings have an innate attraction to nature. That biological affinity is called biophilia. The term was coined by American biologist, Edward O. Wilson, in the 1980s when he observed people becoming disconnected from the natural world due to growing rates of urbanization. Biophilic design is a concept that incorporates nature into buildings to help bridge the gap between human beings and nature. It involves connecting to nature both directly and indirectly and tapping into our six senses. When implemented, it incorporates elements such as natural light, windows to the outdoors, operable windows for fresh air flow, living plants, and the use of natural textiles and materials such as wood, clay, stone and tile.

For interiors that do not have windows, making an indirect connection to nature is easily accomplished by hanging photographs or paintings of outdoor landscapes and wildlife. Incorporating fabrics, wallcovering and flooring materials that have organic patterns also works.

We can affect occupant behavior by incorporating aspects of our geographical history. Depending on whether the occupants need to feel more grounded, more prepared, more powerful, or more restored, we only have to study how our ancestors lived on the land in harmony with nature to find the answers. This is Biophilia at its best.

Studies show that infusing biophilic elements into our interior environments has numerous benefits: they help reduce stress, anxiety, blood pressure levels, and heart rates; improve postoperative recovery rates; increase productivity and creativity; and improve concentration, attendance numbers and self-reported rates of well-being.

Today, now more than ever, it’s important to incorporate biophilic design into our workplace, homes and communities.

Lyn Falk is an expert on holistic, healthy design and creating interiors that nourish the mind, body and spirit. To get started contact her at: lfalk@retailworksinc.com