Architecture studios for biophilic design — biofilico wellness interiors (2024)

our overview of the leading architecture studios for biophilic architecture that bring the outside world in, combining sustainability and wellbeing in real estate.

  • Batlleiroig, Spain

  • Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), Denmark

  • CookFox, USA

  • GG Loop, NL

  • Heatherwick Studio, UK

  • K Studio, Greece

  • Kengo Kuma & Associates, Japan

  • M Moser, China

  • Nomadic Resorts, SA & NL

  • Stefano Boeri Architetti, Italy

  • United Network Studio, Netherlands

Architecture studios for biophilic design — biofilico wellness interiors (1)

Founded in 1981 by Enric Batlle and Joan Roig, the Barcelona-based architecture studio Batlleiroig is all about tackling the climate emergency through a synergistic fusion of city and nature in the built environment.

The practice combines urban planning, landscaping and architecture, with recent projects showing a clear tendency towards biophilic design, sustainable real estate and occupant wellbeing in particular, often through the lens of greater contact with nature.

With over 140 staff members, this is one of the most influential architecture studios in Barcelona, and indeed Spain. They caught our attention for their ambitious plans for the LaMercedes urban regeneration development by Conren Tramway as well as the Net Zero Emissions Entegra office building, both in our home city of Barcelona.

Going beyond merely ‘sustainable’, Batlleiroig design buildings and indeed precincts that have a deep respect for the advantages of using nature in real estate, be that through materials, plants, aesthetics or environmental protection measures, all of which adds up to a lightness of touch and an undeniable ‘joie de vivre’ in many of their projects.

Architecture studios for biophilic design — biofilico wellness interiors (2)

Bjarke Ingels Group, Denmark - starchitects and biophilic designers

BIG hardly need any introduction nowadays thanks to their attention-grabbing, headline-worthy approach to architecture. Their recent completion in Singapore, the 280m tall biophilic CapitaSpring tower (see image above) that proposes a new type of vertical urbanism, is just one of countless such examples.

The studio completed its first hotel project in September 2022, the Hôtel des Horlogers for Audemars Piguet in the Swiss Vallée de Joux, the design here blurs the boundaries between the surrounding landscape and the contours of the building, a nod to biophilic architecture if ever there was one.

Their 49,000m2 Sluishuis project outskirts of Amsterdam, has been billed as a ‘floating’ neighborhood with public roofscapes and riverwalks that offers a residential vision of life over water, a form of ‘blue nature’ (as opposed to ‘green nature’ in forests and parks)

Architecture studios for biophilic design — biofilico wellness interiors (3)

CookFox, USA - nature inspired architecture

CookFox are a giant in the world of “integrated, environmentally responsive architecture” as they call it. They are also world-class biophilic architects, leading the way in integrating biophilia into residences and workplaces.

From their base in New York they leverage two decades of experience and a 130+ strong workforce to deliver projects that aim to “elevate the human condition and urban environment through beautiful, innovative, and sustainable design”.

Calling cards include the 2.2 million sq ft One Bryant Park tower, the first skyscraper in the world to achieve platinum LEED certification, and the forthcoming 1.3 million sq ft Google office tower in Manhattan called the St. John’s Tower.

As a studio, they have also made a name for themselves designing offices for healthy building powerhouses such as the International WELL Building Institute headquarters and Skanska headquarters, both in New York.

Architecture studios for biophilic design — biofilico wellness interiors (4)

GG Loop, Netherlands - creative biophilic designers

The architectural and design firm, GG-loop, is a biophilic design inspired creative team in the Netherlands. The team of about 20 has been together since the beginning of the practice in 2014 and rally around the cause of architecture deepening the connection between people and nature through biophilic design.

Recent large-scale projects include Echinoidea, a pavilion in Milan, and Freebooter, a residential development in Amsterdam.

The studio's vision is to raise awareness on the importance of biophilic architecture to both professionals and the general public to fight the current climate condition.

Architecture studios for biophilic design — biofilico wellness interiors (5)

Heatherwick Studio, UK - biophilic design experts in London

Thomas Heatherwick’s eponymous studio is an architectural design practice and workshop in London, UK.

Their key concepts are improving lives through the built environment, especially through slow living and a connection with nature in urban environments thanks to biophilic design.

The team of over 200 have a strong stance on sustainability, the integration of nature, and a sprinkle of magic dust aimed at sparking a reaction of delight.

Recent large scale projects include 1000 Trees in Shanghai, China and the Eden in Singapore as well as collaborations with Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) on the Google Campus in London.

Architecture studios for biophilic design — biofilico wellness interiors (6)

K Studio, Greece - designers working with biophilia

Based in Central Athens, the K Studio is a practice of 60+ designers that has evolved a unique, nature-infused aesthetic that fits neatly into the category of biophilic design, without being defined or limited by it in any way.

From the bohemian chic of Scorpios on Mykonos island (see pic above) to more minimalist villas, and the Casa Cook resort properties around Greece, their range is impressive for a modestly sized studio.

Greek culture and a sense of place remain a constant in their architectural and design output, meaning they dial up materiality, keeping things pure and elemental whenever possible, yet always with a touch of nature.

Recent large-scale projects include the Marina Kaplankaya and the refurbishment of the Mykonos airport, suggesting they are on their way to becoming one of the country’s leading design studios with a bright future ahead.

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Kengo Kuma architects, Japan - one of the world’s leading biophilic architects

Kengo Kuma & Architects (KKAA) have offices in Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai and Paris. With over 170 staff and over 360 projects completed, today they are one of the most significant modern architects not just in Japan but on the global design stage.

The team explores the relationship between buildings, nature, humans and technology, with a strong emotional component to the output as as undeniable influences from Japan. These are buildings that deliberately aim to provoke a serene, harmonious state of mind in occupants and visitors.

Projects are currently underway in a plethora of different countries covering use categories as diverse as museums, restaurants, offices, education, exhibitions, residential, factories and hospitals. A few highlights include the biophilic mixed-use development Welcome Milano in Milan, Italy (shown above).

Architecture studios for biophilic design — biofilico wellness interiors (8)

M Moser & Associates, China - biophilic office design experts

M Moser & Associates is a global firm with over 1000 employees, they are workplace design specialists and maintain a number of ‘Living Labs’ where they experiment with new design solutions before introducing them into their projects for clients.

The team have a strong stance on sustainability, meaning they combine biophilic design in their architecture and interiors as a way to promote occupant wellbeing whilst also keeping one eye on reducing their impact in every way possible.

Recent projects of reference include Shui On WorkX, a biophilic office space in Shanghai, the Dyson Global HQ in Singapore, Nestle offices in Jakarta and the Diageo offices in Shanghai.

Nomadic Resorts, eco architects in South Africa, mauritius and Netherlands

Nomadic Resorts defy most conventions and definitions. They span across a range of disciplines, from masterplanning of entire nature-inspired resorts, to architectural design with biophilic influences, botanical landscape design and interiors.

Via offices in the Netherlands, South Africa and Mauritius they deliver projects with a sustainable edge, each inspired by their location, landscape and natural context.

Their expertise covers bamboo construction as well as treetop living, tented camps and avant-garde resort concepts that push the boundaries of how far sustainable resorts can push the concept of environmentally friendly hospitality.

By incorporating concepts such as low carbon engineering, regenerative landscaping and permaculture, they bridge the worlds of eco tourism, green building sustainable design. Their client list includes giants such as Six Senses Resorts and Spas; Soneva Group; Banyan Tree and &Beyond.

Architecture studios for biophilic design — biofilico wellness interiors (9)

Stefano Boeri Architetti - designers of the bosco verticale vertical forest

Defining this architecture studio as the designers behind the Bosco Vertical vertical forest building in Milan, Italy is to put this multi-faceted team in a box that they outgrew many moons ago. In fact they are an international operation with offices in Milan, Shanghai and Tirana (Albania) from where they deliver research and practice in urbaism and architecture.

With over 20 years of experience, the infamous tower did at least help solidify their reputation as leading thinkers on urban sustainability and biodiversity, as well as social housing, urban development and regeneration projects.

Their multi-disciplinary approach engages with landscape architects, engineers, social scientists and agronomists showing that biophilic design can and should engage a wide variety of experts in order to succeed at scale in urban regeneration for example.

Present in the PRC since 2014 their office in Shanghai has delivered projects such as the renovation of the former Shanghai Stock Exchange and with the Nanjing Vertical Forest - the first Vertical Forest in China - current in construction.

Their Tirana office meanwhile is responsible for developing the General Local Plan and the strategic vision of the city, known as “Tirana 2030”.

Other assignments include the masterplan of Doha’s New Port and the development of the “triangle of Maspero”, a complex of towers and public facilities along the Nile waterfront, in downtown Cairo.

Architecture studios for biophilic design — biofilico wellness interiors (10)

UNStudio - architects and urbanists big on sustainability

With offices in Amsterdam, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Frankfurt, Dubai and Melbourne totaling over 300 employees, UNStudio is now a full-service architecture and design powerhouse.

Founded in 1988 by Ben van Berkel and Caroline Bos, they now deliver architecture, interior architecture, product design, urban development and infrastructural projects around the world.

UNStudio see themselves as having to anticipate the future, in particular in terms of sustainability and their environmental impact. They consider social and ecological sustainability upfront while aiming for what they call ‘attainable design’ - projects that are both financially and socially feasible.

Major projects of note include the Erasmus Bridge, Arnhem Central Station, the Mercedes-Benz Museum, the Doha Metro Network, Raffles City Hangzhou and the Hanwha HQ Remodelling.

green buildings, real estate, biophilic design

Matt Morley

architecture, green buildings, biophilic design

Architecture studios for biophilic design — biofilico wellness interiors (2024)
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