Ecodesign, Education, Interior Design

Biophelia in Interiors

We all wonder sometimes, why do we feel better outside?

And can we bring that feeling inside?

Wood grain. Photography by Bernadett Askey

Some of our best memories may be long days at the beach, forest walks, quiet kayak trips, or hanging out in a park. Many Canadians spend less time outdoors in their adult lives due to indoor working environments and lack of free time. Our personal connection with nature is memorable, healing, and powerful. For more on this, check out this article from Polygon Magazine.

XL – Modern Kitchen – Taj Mahal

According to The Canadian Parks Council, our connection to nature is critical to our health. Our current way of life does not allow enough sensory connection with nature. We need to make every effort to reintroduce natural elements, patterns, sounds, materials, textures and colours into our interiors.

Pioneering work of E.O. Wilson and Stephen Kellert

Being creatures of nature, it is not surprising that humans yearn to connect with nature. This strong force has been referred to as biophilia. Pioneers E.O. Wilson and Stephen Kellert pointed out that the physical appeal of nature is a source of inspiration and peace in our environment. We love living things.

Drop & Done – Tennessee Bluegrass
BristolBeach-Top

Because man-made objects dominate our built environments, we ought to introduce natural elements. People tend to add natural things like plants to their environments, anyway. We need to find supplemental materials for indoor spaces for ceilings, walls, and floors. In our fast paced lives, materials surrounding us have high demand on them. Materials must be hard wearing, environmentally-friendly, waterproof, as well as soft.

Novaco Daycare – EZFit, Mocha Mousse

Solutions

We need to search and find solutions to keep in touch with nature. Some of the current products on the market for flooring, for example, can be found on the EZ lay flooring website. Look at these photos and see how well the vinyl emulates wood, and is durable as well. EZ Lay flooring offers life-like patterns of wood in their selection of vinyl floor coverings. Partially-recylced materials that have low emission ratings are the best choice technically and aesthetically. Examples of these include floor coverings from XL Flooring.

Language mimicking nature

Even in our language, we find idioms such as “blind as a bat” and “eager beaver,” invoked as evidence of biophilia. Some of the names given to materials also mimic natural connections. “Bristol Beach” or “Raincloud” vinyl floor covering from EZ Lay flooring exemplify this. Using nature-inspired names makes us feel comfortable. Designers are drawn to products with names that mimic nature, and most likely will select them.

Application of colours and patterns

Biophilic bathroom design by Askey Studio, using EZ-Lay flooring (English Breakfast) and bamboo countertop. Photography by Bernadett Askey.
Drop & Done – Garibaldi Summit
Flexiplank – Savannah Bay, Pewter Moon, Zanzibar

Patterns such as tree-grain will evoke our inner connection with nature. By selecting colours in shades of browns, taupes, and greens, we also reference plants and other living things. In our lives, we face many stressful situations, whether at work, in a public space or at home. It is very important to try to add elements of nature to living spaces to improve our cognition and emotion.

Should you be looking for more design ideas or product information that supports biophilic design, feel free to message me.

 

References:

  • https://www.britannica.com/science/biophilia-hypothesis
  • http://ezlayflooring.com/ezgrip-vinyl-flooring/
  • http://xlflooring.ca/eco-friendly/
  • https://www.canadianinteriors.com/awards/asid-headquarters-perkinswill-first-world-achieve-leed-well-platinum/1003741207/
  • http://www.parks-parcs.ca/english/ConnectingCanadians-English_web.pdf
  • Kellert SR, Wilson EO. The Biophilia Hypothesis. Island Press; Washington, DC, USA: 1993. Wilson EO.
  • Biophilia. Harvard University Press; Cambridge, MA, USA: 1984.