bio·phil·ia – “the inherent human inclination to affiliate with nature”(1)
Biophilic design is an innovative extension of biophilia that interior designers use to create healthier (both mentally and physically) built environment for the end users. By incorporating natural materials, vegetation, and natural light into both commercial and residential environments, designers have the ability to drastically improve the overall experience of an interior space. In fact, biophilic design has the ability to reduce stress, improve our cognitive function, and even expedite healing (2). We spend 90% of our time indoors (3), so the opportunity to improve the well-being of users through biophilic design is a no-brainer for both commercial design and residential design.
When looking to add biophelia into a space, we often turn to our friends at Life Space Gardens. They do an excellent job of providing us with quality products, and information throughout the design process.
Biophilic design is fantastic – but how do we implement this complex theory into our interior design process?
1 – Green walls
Over the recent years, green walls have become increasingly popular in the interior design world. Biophilic design has become a popular design practice, and green walls seem to be the first step in the process. A bonus feature of these lively design features is the abundance of natural light required to keep the plants healthy. The image below shows a snapshot of the large green wall featured in one of Janks Design Group’s (JDG) projects – Rocky Mountain Flatbread, located in the Kitsilano area of Vancouver, BC. In some cases, natural light is not available within a space, or the labour for plant-care is not available. This is when preserved plant walls are an excellent option.
Integrating access to natural light and exterior views can make an interior space feel more refreshing, in commercial, residential, and hospitality environments, all while improving the health of the users. Providing people with a visual connection to nature has shown to reduce stress, create positive emotional function, and improve concentration (2). If you are looking to design any sort of workspace or social space, these benefits can be extremely favourable for the business as a whole. This specific application of biophilic design can depend on the building, and the site that the interior design project is situated on, but if the circumstances allow for access to natural light, and visual access to the outdoors, definitely take advantage (unless the exterior view happens to be a stinky dumpster).
With the help of Janks Design Group (JDG), the design of Field & Social on Dunsmuir Street, in Vancouver, BC takes full advantage of their large windows, and exterior street views – the perfect place for people watching! Following in the footsteps of their fresh food, this refreshing and healthy environment relates back to the product, creating a perfect merge of the two into an inviting restaurant that caters to the local demographic.
3 – Organic Shapes + Patterns
Humans are naturally intrigued, and drawn to the varying forms within nature. Although our minds understand that organic forms are not actually living, we are positively affected by their characteristics as if they are (1). Another word used to describe organic shapes and patterns, is biomorphic forms. These biomorphic forms are symbols, patterns, and textures that are found in nature. By integrating these forms into the built environment, interior designers have the ability to create visually intriguing, yet comfortable spaces.
The subtle repitition, diffused natural light, and organic textures throughout this Janks Design Group (JDG) project, Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria in Surrey, BC, are an excellent commercial design example of the comfort that can be communicated to the user through interior design.