The Principles of Biophilic Design

Interior design is an ever-changing field that involves not only staying on top of new trends, but also making sure that each design perfectly accommodates each client’s needs. From large offices to hip restaurants to reimagined hospitality, each environment requires different design considerations but one common theme that has emerged over the last few years is the inclusion of natural materials into indoor spaces.

This style has been dubbed biophilia which can be broken down into the two root words “bio” and “philia”. Bio refers to living things, like trees, plants and animals while philia can be translated as “to love”. Together, biophilia explains the love of natural materials.

While modern and contemporary designs often steer away from natural materials to avoid looking rustic, science shows that time spent in nature can improve both our concentration and cognitive abilities, proving how important it is to bring nature into the places where we spend the bulk of our time.

By introducing natural products, like reclaimed wood plankstiles or beams, into a space it’s possible to recapture some of the energy that nature has to offer and incorporate it into every design. Plus, natural materials can be used in a variety of spaces, including walls and ceilings, which allows customization for each project.

One of the pioneers of biophilic design, Stephen Kellert, created a framework of three of the key components of biophilia. These components are:

1. Direct experiences of nature

Having a direct experience with nature involves some sort of tangible contact with natural materials which can include light from skylights or atriums, water from water features or even animals in spaces like aquariums or green roofs. Direct nature experiences can be refreshing and de-stressing but can be difficult to incorporate into certain buildings or designs.

2. Indirect experiences of nature

An indirect experience with nature is a great way to receive some of the same benefits as being directly in nature while having the added advantage of being easier to design around and implement. Indirect experiences include utilizing photos or images of nature, adding natural materials like wood or stone into a space or even using natural colors or “earth-tones”.

3. Experiences of space and place

Not to be overlooked, experiences of space and place can combine both direct and indirect experiences of nature to make the environment function for well-being through spatial relationships. Designs that consider experiences of space and place pay attention to making a comfortable, nurturing space with plenty of room for mobility, like one would find in nature.

In combination, these three characteristics can create a biophilic space that improves overall well-being for its inhabitants. Restoration Theory’s entire product line is built from the idea that authentic, real wood materials can transform a space to make it better for people, for the environment and for the world. Interested in incorporating real wood into your space?