Biophilic design is an architectural design philosophy which seeks to incorporate nature into a manmade environment. According to many studies, connection to nature allows us to be attentive, become stress-free and have improved creativity. Biophilic designs for your home advocates the use of natural features such as adding plants, images of nature, natural building materials and natural light into the design. You can make your home Biophilic by recognising your inherent need for connection to nature and incorporate nature in your home. Here’s how you can go about it:
The three aspects of Biophilic design
Home designs and layout planning using Biophilic designs have to pay attention to the three aspects, namely Nature within the Space, Nature of the Area/Space, and Natural Analogues. These provide a framework for you to understand and include nature in your home in a thoughtful manner.
The first element of Biophilic design, i.e., nature inside the dwelling / space should address the direct and physical presence of natural elements such as plants, pets (animals), water (aquarium/s), flowerbeds, potted plants, bird feeders, fountains, green walls, courtyard gardens or vegetated roofs.
Including visual and non-visual elements
Biophilic designs for your home should have a strong visual and non-visual connection with nature, which you can interpret as planting trees and shrubs outside your home. They have some water features such as a fountain or koi pond outdoors and/or an aquarium indoors.
The experience of visual connection has been found to be calming as well as stimulating. It conveys a sense of weather, time etc. Looking at natural elements reduces stress, promotes healing and supports emotional well-being, lowered heart rate and blood pressure. You would experience less fatigue, sadness and anger and overall happiness.
You can also have artworks that depict nature and play soothing natural sounds. You can include the sound like those of waves to have the non-visual natural connection in your home. The patterns of Biophilic designs follow the introduction of sounds, smells and touch of nature within the home.
Biophilic designs for your home should allow for natural air flow throughout your home, in a way that you can experience the natural environment outside. A home which has good airflow leads to feeling refreshed, alive, active, comfortable and invigorating. You would experience a sense of control and flexibility when you incorporate natural air flow patterns in your home.
Water is a vital, life giving element of nature. It has therapeutic effects that are extremely beneficial for us. Including water features in your home will enhance the experience of your home. You could choose the location of your home to be near a water body, such as a stream, river, wetland or pond, where you could see the changing water patterns. You could construct a water wall, and have an aquarium or fountain inside your home. Stimulated or real reflections of water on different surfaces of your home could make your home a fluid, calming space. Home designs and layout planning using Biophilic designs, such as water features, impart a tranquil feeling to a person. They can help in improving concentration and memory, and you become more aware of your surroundings.
To gain the benefit of light as a natural therapy tool, you can design the lighting of your home to be lit by ambient light. Direct sunlight, seasonal and diurnal light, firelight, moonlight and bioluminescence can evoke calmness within you and your family members. Artificial light sources can be low glare multiple lights, accent lighting and so on. Biophilic lighting suggests white light during the day and the absence of blue lighting at night.
Biomorphic forms and patterns
Biomorphic patterns and forms are the patterns that exist in nature. Patterns of Biophilic designs can be included in your home in the form of carpet, fabric and wallpaper, woodwork, window details, moldings designs etc. You could base it on the Golden Mean or the Fibonacci series, which are the two major patterns found in nature.
Your home can be a space in which you can relax and experience the same therapeutic benefits you experience when you are in direct contact with nature. You’ll have reduced stress and you’ll experience many other physical and emotional health benefits.