Biophilic design integrates nature and natural elements into the architecture and interiors of our built environment. We need nature in a fundamental way, but over the past 250 years we have designed our cities and interior spaces to not only damage the environment, but alienate us from nature. In an increasingly urbanised world, with cities that are looking more and more ominously like scenes out of Blade Runner, biophilic design has never been more important.
The term ‘biophilia’ means ‘love of life or living systems’, and even if we don’t necessarily think we as individuals appreciate nature, our environment actually has physical effects on our body, whether we are aware of it or not.
Particularly when creating, designing or even refurbishing any room in the home, biophilic design can reduce stress, increase creativity and create a healthier, happier and emotionally productive habitat for modern humans. Incorporating this innovative approach to your home life seamlessly merges creativity and simplicity without the loss of substance and style protecting you from the feeling of an outdated, drab and unexciting home life.
The most obvious way of bringing nature into our homes is through clever placement of plants , as this has been proven to make the air cleaner, reduce noise and generally create a more welcoming place to live. The question then is how can we incorporate natural, biophilic aspects into the physical home and it’s varying and often unique spaces?
Particularly in the winter, when the sunshine is more of a myth than a daily occurence, lighting is of the utmost importance. Make sure you don’t block out natural light or create a dark and dingy atmosphere, though simple it can have a transformative effect. The right type of blinds or netting is one example of how you can still retain privacy, whilst simultaneously creating that all-important sense of openness we associate with the outdoors.
Flooring and colour schemes
You could consider the flooring in a similar colour scheme to what you might find on the forest floor. This immersive space itself now actually has the feel of the natural world, and has gone one step further than just adding a plant or two.
Looking upwards and outwards
Low ceilings and small windows can make us feel claustrophobic and as a result has a detrimental effect on our mood at home. Ironically the opposite of extremely high ceilings and extremely large windows can do the same by making us feel insignificant and even lost. Incorporating innovative ceiling and window solutions is an intrinsic part of biophilic design. You’re looking for that perfect balance to enhance that feeling of freedom, a bright, open space to live within, without the loss of protection and inducement of fear from to large an expanse.
We tend to think of ‘nature’ as a commodity, somewhat separate to our lives in the modern world. Really, nature was our home long before the grey concrete and brick walls we have grown used to. Design does not have to reflect or repeat mistakes of the past; biophilic design is already becoming a guiding principle of the future, so it makes sense to be getting a head start. There are a plethora of design options to help turn your ideas into a reality – it’s just figuring out how you would transform the look and functionality of your home, because like you it’s completely one of a kind!
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