Bringing Nature Into Our Home
Interior design begins with human experience. Considering the physical, mental, and emotional needs of people, interior designers use human-centered approaches to address how we live today. Creating novel approaches to promoting health, safety, and welfare, contemporary interiors are increasingly inspired by biophilia as a holistic approach to design.
By definition, interior design encompasses diverse aspects of our environment. The discipline extends to building materials and finishes; casework, furniture, furnishings, and equipment; lighting; acoustics; wayfinding; ergonomics and anthropometrics; and human environmental behavior. Centering on experience, biophilia influences the moment-to-moment physical and sensory elements found within interiors. It impact our emotions, health, and overall feeling. But what is biophilia, and how does it connect to design?
Biophilia is the idea that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature. The term translates to ‘the love of living things’. In design, we bring characteristics of the natural world into built spaces, such as water, greenery, and natural light, or elements like wood and stone. Encouraging the use of natural systems and processes in design allows for exposure to nature, and in turn, these design approaches improve health and well-being. There are a number of possible benefits, including reduced heart rate variability and pulse rates, decreased blood pressure, and increased activity in our nervous systems, to name a few.
Over time, our connections to the natural world diverged in parallel with technological developments. Advances in the 19th and 20th centuries fundamentally changed how people interact with nature. Sheltered from the elements, we spent more and more time indoors. Today, the majority of people spend almost 80-90% of their time indoors, moving between their homes and workplaces. As interior designers embrace biophilia, they make spaces that better reduce stress while improving cognitive function and creativity. Utilizing biophilic approaches in interiors, they can use botanical shapes and forms, as well as create distinct visual relationships to nature. In doing so, we understand that biophilia consists of different natural layers that echo interior design.