Biophilia & the Interior Environment

Biophilia is a human’s deep-seated affinity for nature. It explains why we feel restored after being in a park, invigorated by the seashore, captivated by crackling fires and crashing waves; why our capacity to be creative can be influenced by viewing scenes of nature; why shadows and heights instill fear; and why animal companionship and gardening have healing effects. For decades research scientists and design practitioners have been working to define the aspects of nature that most impact our satisfaction with the built environment.

– International Living Future Institute


Hands down, no question, definitely one of my favourite topics at Greenbuild this past November. After Carrie’s last post on Ron Finley and Guerrilla Gardening, I thought I’d follow up with the subject of Biophilia.

What, may you ask, IS biophilia?

Well, the hypothesis claims that: [biophilia] is the instinctive bond between human beings & other living systems that have been mapped in our brains (essentially the connections human beings subconsciously seek with the rest of life). Layman’s terms: Attraction to, and the love of life.

So how is this all related to the design of interior environments? I believe this is how we, as designers, can start to create holistic, healthful and perhaps even healing spaces for people. We can explore how users interact with natural elements to create meaningful experiences. And really, this is what we do as interior environmental designers, we create experiences (within a space).

During this workshop, the speakers talked about Stephen Kellert’s

6 Biophilic Design Elements:

  • Environmental Features
  • Natural Shapes & Forms
  • Natural Patterns & Processes
  • Light & Space
  • Plant-Based Relationships
  • Evolved Human Nature Relationships

Biophilic Environments are not new. Architects have been instinctively designing in this manner for years now. Perhaps this is because we have an intuitive sense to naturally connect with our surroundings.

A few great examples are (click on the photo to learn more about the project):

Farnsworth House by Mies van der Rohe


Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd Wright


Sydney Opera House by Jørn Utzon


I strongly believe that when we can start to blur the lines between the built environment and our natural surroundings, we can start to have less of a negative impact on our earth. Why not design and build with ease, rather than force a square peg in a round  hole. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to follow my instincts and keep creating spaces people (& places) can really connect to.

Think about it. What kind of spaces make you feel at your absolute best? I bet you it has something to do with nature or living things…

Peace x


Non cropped thumbnail Elaina

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply