Biophilic Design and How It Benefits Creativity and Focus (2024)

BlogEverything You Need to Know About Biophilic Design in 5 Minutes

Biophilic Design and How It Benefits Creativity and Focus (1)

Space Refinery

March 8, 2024

Everything You Need To Know About Biophilic Design

Remember the last time you went for a long hike in nature? You probably experienced happiness and tranquility. Now, what if we could reproduce the same physical, psychological, and emotional effects of nature in our workspaces? Let’s see what the science behind this design philosophy is and why more and more brands are applying it in their workspaces!

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A design movement inspired by nature

One of the greatest architects of all time, Frank Lloyd Wright, said: “Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” He translated this philosophy into structures in harmony with humanity and its environment, something he called “organic architecture.”

This principle of organic and nature-inspired design grew slowly into a movement, and biophilic design was born. Stephen R. Kellert, the author of “Biophilic Design: The Theory, Science, and Practice of Bringing Buildings to Life”, explains biophilic design as “an approach that fosters beneficial contact between people and nature in modern buildings and landscapes.”

Before humans evolved and gathered in large cities, we were entirely in unison with nature. We depended on it and respected it, as we lived in small communities and hunted and mastered agriculture to stay alive. This bond between nature and humans remains indestructible. Even after building urban landscapes and creating new living environments, we still crave and desire to spend our free moments in nature as much as possible. Today we don’t go to nature in search of food. Instead, we seek refuge for our souls and mind.

But we can restore the connection with our primal home thanks to biophilic design.

One of the big reasons biophilic design continues to grow in popularity is the health benefits it brings. We already know the tangible health benefits of adding plants to modern offices.

According to CIPHR and a list of compiled studies, they provide the following benefits:

What matters is that designing with natural elements brings tangible health benefits to employees in a workplace. A few plants don’t only improve the look but they clean the air, boost productivity, and reduce stress.

Key principles of biophilic design

According to Shepley and Bulfinch, there are six aspects of biophilic design:

  1. The Natural environment: The natural environment focuses on features of the natural world incorporated into an office setting. Basic things like earthy colors, sunlight, plants, and images of animals and nature.

  1. Natural shapes: Natural shapes are lines and forms that occur in nature. Notable examples include arches and vaults, recreating rock shelves, water paths, and other things that naturally occur.

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  1. Natural patterns: Similar to natural shapes, natural patterns deal with patterns and processes that occur in nature. This could be shown through the erosion of rock over time, the growth of plants, and the use of rhythm and scale.

  1. Natural light: This is one of the easiest forms to understand. Sunlight is healthy, and biophilic design emphasizes light and space. Light helps merge the inside and outside using elements of warmth and different shapes.

  1. Plants: We can’t talk about natural design and not include our little green friends! This doesn’t mean you have to turn your office into a jungle. You can focus on natural plants, imagery, or plant colors. The idea here is to create a relationship between the office and the natural elements it is incorporating.

  1. The human-nature relationship: The final element involves recreating the relationship between humans and nature. It’s about restoring a relationship that has existed for thousands of years. Biophilic design ties all of the previous elements together. By doing this, an office will focus on specific themes like order, safety, complexity, curiosity, mastery, control, affection, exploration, discovery, and awe. With themes like this in mind, it’s easy to combine the modern with the timeless.

The importance of biophilic design today

Biophilic design celebrates the idea of a city as a combination of urbanism, evolution, technology, and the natural environment. It enables us to experience nature and feel part of it, even in the most crowded cities. It’s safe to say, because of our intertwined connection with nature, biophilic design will become a standard in design. But other reasons back up our theory…

Climate change, pandemic, innovation, focus on mental well-being. Currently, these are catalysts accelerating the adoption of biophilic design, proving its impact goes beyond only aesthetic qualities. Green infrastructure can help decrease CO2 emissions, boost the biodiversity of plants and wildlife and even regulate the temperature of buildings. The new urban organism designed and developed for the Chinese city of Liuzhou by Stefano Boeri Architetti will work like a sizeable sustainable machine. It will absorb about 10,000 tons of CO2 and 57 tons of micro-particles every year, simultaneously producing about 900 tons of oxygen, combating the severe problem of air pollution.

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Following the pandemic, many people are still working remotely. Again, here is where biophilic design can help us create a balanced, more productive, and inspiring home-work environment.

To conclude, biophilic design starts with the right mindset and a willingness to improve our connection with nature. Incorporating it into our living and working environments is relatively easy. Whether you start small by making strategic changes or design from the ground up, biophilic design is accessible to any individual or company, regardless of the budget or space limitations. There are many ways for brands to add nature into their workspaces - artwork, plants, healthy landscape colors, or a lush rooftop terrace are just a few suggestions.

If you would like to implement biophilic design into your workspace, reach out to us!

Biophilic Design and How It Benefits Creativity and Focus (2024)


What are the benefits of biophilic design? ›

One of the foremost benefits of biophilic design is its positive impact on mental health and overall well-being. Exposure to natural elements, such as sunlight, greenery and water features, has been linked to reduced stress, improved mood and enhanced cognitive function.

What is biophilic design in simple words? ›

Biophilic design is an approach to architecture that seeks to connect building occupants more closely to nature. Biophilic designed buildings incorporate things like natural lighting and ventilation, natural landscape features and other elements for creating a more productive and healthy built environment for people.

What are the three principles of biophilic design? ›

2.3 Nature-Design Relationships. Biophilic design can be organized into three categories – Nature in the Space, Natural Analogues, and Nature of the Space – providing a framework for understanding and enabling thoughtful incorporation of a rich diversity of strategies into the built environment.

What are the benefits of biophilic design in children? ›

Passive exposure to the natural world through repeating geometric patterns and pictures of nature can improve memory and attention. Further, classrooms that utilize biophilic design enhance student creativity and support overall healthier development due to our biologically encoded connection to nature.

Why is biophilia so important? ›

Studies have shown evidence of positive benefits of human interaction with nature, such as improved productivity, lower levels of stress, enhanced learning and even improved recovery rates following illness.

How does biophilic design help mental health? ›

Improved Mood: The presence of plants and nature indoors has been associated with enhanced mood and increased feelings of happiness and contentment. Enhanced Cognitive Function: Exposure to nature and natural elements has been shown to improve cognitive function, including memory, attention, and problem-solving skills.

How to use biophilic design? ›

Here are a few ways to do it:
  1. Add plants: Incorporating potted plants or hanging greenery can add a natural element to your bedroom. ...
  2. Use natural materials: Choose natural materials for your bedding, curtains, and other textiles. ...
  3. Let in natural light: If possible, maximize the natural light in your bedroom.
Feb 15, 2023

What is the biophilic design experience? ›

Key Principles of Biophilic Design

Biophilic design focuses on elements of the natural world that, over evolutionary time, have advanced human health, fitness, and wellbeing. Biophilic design incorporates nature in a way that is connected, complementary, and integrated within the overall environment.

How is biophilic design achieved? ›

By opting for natural materials or by incorporating features that mimic or reflect the surrounding ecosystem, they create buildings that work with our deep-rooted connection to nature. Biophilic design has been widely used in hospitals and hospices where it has been shown to improve recovery rates.

What is the theory of biophilic design? ›

Biophilic design fosters positive and sustained interactions and relationships among people and the natural environment. Humans are a deeply social species whose security and productivity depends on positive interactions within a spatial context.

What is an example of biophilia? ›

The Barbican Centre is one of the earliest and most famous examples of biophilic architecture. Opened in the 1980s as an estate in London, it's renowned for its striking, brutalist design. The bleak style of the Barbican is juxtaposed with the use of natural and artificial lakes and extensive wildlife.

What are the positive effects of biophilic design? ›

Improves our mind restoration and productivity

Incorporating direct or indirect elements of nature into the built environment have been demonstrated through research to reduce stress, blood pressure levels and heart rates, whilst increasing productivity, creativity and self reported rates of well-being.

What are the objectives of biophilic design? ›

Biophilic design is argued to have a wealth of benefits for building occupants and urban environments through improving connections to nature. For cities, many believe the biggest proponent of the concept is its ability to make the city more resilient to any environmental stressor it may face.

How does biophilic work? ›

Simply put, the biophilic design element of environmental features relates to characteristics of the natural world found in the built environment. People are naturally drawn to features of the natural environment such as plants, animals and natural materials.

How does biophilic design help sustainability? ›

Biophilic design is essential in sustainable architecture because it promotes energy efficiency, reduces environmental impact, and enhances human well-being by creating healthier living and working environments.

What is the psychology behind biophilic design? ›

The biophilia hypothesis posits an innate biological and genetic connection between human and nature, including an emotional dimension to this connection. Biophilic design builds on this hypothesis in an attempt to design human-nature connections into the built environment.

What are the disadvantages of biophilic design? ›

If not properly maintained, natural elements can become unsightly or even hazardous. Allergies: For some employees, exposure to natural elements such as plants or flowers can trigger allergies or other health issues. Space limitations: Biophilic design may not be practical for all workspaces.

How does biophilic environment help in the healing process? ›

The biophilic design approach resulted in reduced stress levels among patients, improved recovery rates, and increased adherence to rehabilitation programs. Patients reported a sense of tranquility and enhanced well-being, which positively influenced their overall rehabilitation journey.

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