Since we first heard Oliver Heath’s talk at Eco Build 2015, it feels like the whole world is on board with Biophilic design principles. Throughout Pinterest or Houzz, you see fabulous green foliage in our homes/ workplaces. In my own home, I’m surrounded by natural materials – wooden floor, hessian plant pots and linen throws – and cats!
It’s 5 years since I wrote this journal post and nothing has changed in terms of our human desire to surround ourselves with our ideal landscape: safe, meets our needs and naturally beautiful.
Society is now (mostly) fully aware of the climate crisis and the imperative to reduce our carbon footprint. At Absolute we continue to ardently believe Biophillic design enables us to:
- Understand the principles of human nature when it comes to our dwellings
- Ensure we get design right for now and the future
- Make sustainable choices at the design stage which consider the whole life cycle of our projects.
When we close our eyes and imagine our dream house, most of us see a beautiful building surrounded by trees, water, space and birds. Inside, the living room has a fabulous large sofa for sitting together, views over a beautiful landscape, a kitchen with a fridge full of food and bedrooms with ensuites and large, comfortable beds…
‘Savannah’ theory states that we’re predisposed to find our ideal landscapes beautiful. We seek out the elements of a landscape which meet our basic needs:
- A high vantage point to see approaching danger/ prey
- Full view of the sky:
- to see approaching weather
- natural light for circadian rhythms
- Natural vegetation + animals visible – for food and shelter
- Visible water – for drinking+ washing.
Incorporating the principles of Biophilic Design into your home:
1. Views onto dynamic nature
- use your outside space, however small, to grow decorative, bee-friendly plants and, ideally, vegetables, fruits or herbs
- if you don’t have a garden, plant pots or window boxes will do the trick
- fit a bird feeder where you can see it
- houseplants bring nature and texture inside.
2. Natural light – supports our circadian rhythms
- keep curtains open during daylight and programme automatic opening/ closing times to fit your circadian rhythm
- paint walls in light colours (with Low VOC paint) to maximise light into your space and avoid harmful chemicals.
- Use mirrors to increase light in lower ground areas.
- Fit old mirrors externally, to add interest and bounce light into your windows
3. Natural patterns, products and textures – it’s pleasurable to feel natural materials – the ‘haptic’ experience
- choose materials such as timber, leather and stone for furniture
- use wool, cotton, linen or silk for soft furnishings
- pick natural colours such as greens and use patterns of leaves and flowers
- find sustainably sourced and organic materials – to reduce your impact on the environment
4. Recuperation spaces – people need space to rest, reflect and socialise
- make your home comfortable by adding cushions, throws and easy chairs
- create quiet/still areas – in a separate room or by using room dividers/ careful positioning of furniture
- ensure heating and lighting are comfortable – intelligent controls can help reduce energy consumption and ensure the house is inviting.