You may have heard this term popping up recently and as someone who cares about the environment and where materials come from and where they can end up ( recycling and not in the dump) this may be something you can include when creating your home or working environment. Architect and designers are thinking more biophilic as a reaction to the modern convenient world we live in and I am here for it!
So what is biophilic design?
Biophilic design is an approach to architecture and interiors that try’s to cohere nature and modern day living. We live in a world of convenience and immediacy that is as unhealthy as it is unsustainable. We want and demand things all the time. We rarely have the patience to wait for a piece of furniture to be made or to pay for a pricey handmade item when we can find it cheaper on Amazon. It’s just wrong but more shops are trying to fit the next day time scale that we are missing out on the beauty of patience and learning.
Biophilic design comes in the shape of buildings, incorporating as many natural materials and air flows rather than relying on technology and man made materials.It is not just a design aesthetic but a way of creating is inspired by nature and actually incorporates it.
Even though this is a fairly new term for me it is an approach to design and living that is totally inspiring me. I am reading a few books on it at the moment so my research is evolving and developing, I hope you don’t mind me taking you on this journey with me.
Biophilic designed buildings incorporate natural lighting and ventilation. We live in a Victorian/ Edwardian villa terrace house. Under all the windows used to be vents to let the house breath. Modern times have covered and painted these natural vents and then homes like mine suffer from mold or other ventilation issues. My garden is also south facing, this means that in the height of summer my living room is cool and the place we retire to. Biophilic designs have always happened but with housing booms lots of biophilic design ideas that help your home breath have being surpassed.
With the world focusing on mental health our surroundings and dwellings have never been more important. Surrounding your home with plants not only is proven to ameliorate your mental health. Creating natural landscape features also formulates a healthy environment for people.
So how can you fuse Biophilic design in your home and life?
- Using environmentally sustainable materials is the best place to start
- Animals, any type of pet in your home is definitely bringing nature in ( think I need kittens!)
- Fresh air is key, open those vents and windows, go for a walk, let your environment breath
- Whilst the windows are open let in the natural light, reflect natural light around your home with mirrors
- Plants, plants and more plants ( yay)
- Think organic shapes and textures, cottons and linens anything that can breath and allow your home to breath
- Wood, stone incorporate natural materials over man made concrete is not a good fit
- Buy with consideration trends are not welcome unless they are here to stay
- Water features and sounds are important think Feng shui
- The colours of nature are calming to your home
‘The “shizen” philosophy is a principle that recognises the harmony between people and nature and is core to many Japanese furniture design methods which often use bamboo and light woods. Owing to this philosophy, many designers also use nature to honour the world that they live in.’ Helen White, Lead Designer and Co-Founder of Houseof.com
I found in Japan that they tried to incorporate nature everywhere. Wether it was outside a shop, squeezed into a courtyard, a vertical garden. There was lots of wood bamboo everywhere. You could be in the heart of Tokyo and would see that rooftops and private gardens were filled with plants and trees. Everywhere in Japan they are trying to find the perfect balance between nature and city living.
The photo selection above is Gavin posing outside a coffee shop, the door was tiny he had to duck to get inside, but we loved how many plants were framed at the front. Then we have a wall garden in Osaka, vertical gardens have been popular for years. Then a water feature under a cherry tree in a tiny courtyard in Kyoto where we queued for bone broth ramen and then the final picture is a traditional Japanese building with courtyard gardens. All beautiful and all incorporating the biophilic ethos.
Biophilic design makes sense to me. I said this year that I wanted to invest more, by second hand especially with furniture and pieces for my home. I have always preferred wood and natural materials in my home but there appears to be a lot more philosophy to this way of life.