At Chicago’s International Living Future Institute, the second Stephen R Kellert Biophilic Design Award was recently presented to stunning designs from Vancouver and Texas which beautifully showcased the connection between humans and nature. As the winners demonstrated, truly outstanding biophilic design is more than adding a rooftop garden or kitchen herb space to a home. Biophilia celebrates a love of nature’s architecture, and embraces it in design principles, creating flow, color and peace. From cities such as Singapore where biophilic design has been implemented on a large scale, to individual designers such as Oliver Heath, who bring nature into homes and office spaces, biophilic principles can act as a real tonic to modern life.
Iconic biophilic buildings
As biophilic architecture flourishes, projects such as Sydney’s One Central Park with its lush vertical gardens make a striking difference to the skyline. The urban farm at Tokyo’s Pasono Group offices goes one step further, encouraging modern office workers to grow their own food while at work. Hospitals from Scotland to Singapore have also found that biophilic design is not only beautiful, but the presence of nature promotes healing in some cases.
Bringing the outdoors inside
When it comes to biophilic design at home or in the workplace, research has shown that the presence of nature has a positive impact, whether it’s using a shower with rainfall effects in your bathroom, or enjoying great views in the meeting room at work. Chicago’s own Google Headquarters has embraced the latter, with an emphasis on glass-lined conference rooms and adjustable task lighting. Design techniques such as maximizing natural light, sourcing natural materials and modelling your home to showcase existing views, can help to make biophilic living more accessible, whether you’re a new homeowner looking to add value, a forward thinking employer, or an established hotelier seeking to improve customer experiences.
Why biophilia provides a welcome boost
With modern pressures creating a mental health crisis – the World Health Organization reports that mental health issues affect one in four globally – providing spaces for people to reconnect and recharge has never been more important. As studies demonstrate the healing power of nature, trends such as forest bathing show that people are seeking out that connection for themselves. Bringing these benefits into the home, workplace and even hospitals and schools is an important antidote to long working hours, 24/7 social media pressure and financial concerns.
While architects transform skylines with stunning foliage draped towers, interior designers are also playing a powerful role in improving lives with biophilic principles. Celebrating the relationship between people and nature is not only creating beautiful design, it is also improving health and happiness. There’s a lot to love about biophilia.