What is biophilic design, and how to create spaces according to it

3 min readMay 24, 2021


You’ve probably already heard this term: it has become quite popular recently, but not everyone senses it correctly. Some people think that by planting a couple of plants in the office and placing an aquarium, you can get a design based on the principles of biophilia. The thing is that even a whole tabletop ficus forest is not enough. Let us put this to all of you as clearly as we can.

So, what is biophilic design?

The main idea is that humanity has evolved in contact with nature, so we all have a genetic connection with it.

Over the past couple of hundred years, we have been gradually moving to cities. Still, the need to communicate with the wildlife world has not gone anywhere. Nature is still around us, but most of the time (about 93%), we spend indoors or in an urban environment, separate from elements of nature.

All this frustrates us: being in an unnatural environment for ourselves, we get tired and sick more often. Therefore, it is essential to return contact with nature in those places where we spend much time or are in a vulnerable or stressful state: offices, hospitals, airports, educational institutions.

Let’s go over the basic features of biophilic design:

1. It helps to adapt the space so that the elements of wildlife influence human well-being. Exposures to nature irrelevant to human productivity and survival exert little impact on human well-being and are not practical instances of biophilic design.

2. Biophilic design presupposes a long-term relationship: contact with nature must be repeated and prolonged.

3. All elements of biophilic design must work in synergy and be contextualized. Impacting nature in an isolated space — for example, an isolated plant, an out-of-context image, or natural material that conflicts with other dominant spatial features — is not an effective biophilic design.

4. By satisfying our innate inclination to connect with nature, the biophilic design creates an emotional attachment to specific spaces and places. These emotional attachments motivate people to work and be productive and encourage us to identify with and support the areas in which we live.

5.Biophilic design promotes positive and sustainable interactions and relationships between people and the environment. Humans are a profoundly social species whose safety and productivity depend on positive interaction in a spatial context. The effective biophilic design fosters connections between people and their environment, enhancing a sense of relationship and belonging to a meaningful community.

It is important to note that this should be a carefully thought-out system.
We should consider many factors, not just the creative ambitions of the architect or the personal tastes of the proprietor. It is not always possible to calculate it “by hand,” so modern technologies are up-and-coming: such as artificial intelligence, which can take into account details, check the design efficiency, and make adjustments in time. Moreover, this should be a carefully calculated all-round influence, taking into account many parameters: the correspondence of natural elements to each other, the freshness of the air, lighting, the volume, and the quality of landscaping.




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