Designing in Patterns of Nature

In my last blog post, I shared with you all a bit of a passion of mine; the use of nature’s patterns in architecture, or Biophilic design.  This is a fascinating subject and I was intrigued to find out in my research, that biophilic design in architecture can be used to help reduce stress, improve cognitive function and creativity, and improve our well-being.  Check out my previous blog here…

https://www.maidenheadplanning.co.uk/news/article/14-patterns-in-nature-and-how-they-add-happiness-to-our-daily-lives

Nature, in all it’s forms, can evoke many emotions in people and this can be used to great effect in both the design and staging of your home.  I thought it would be interesting to go through some ideas on how you could incorporate biophilic design in your home, either when you’re doing improvements, or just looking for a way to add greenery and nature to your existing home.

Designing in Patterns of Nature

Connection is central to weaving the patterns of nature into any design.   One of the highly successful ways to do this is to ensure any design has a relationship with the outdoors.  Designing rooms with floor to ceiling glass, with level access to the garden, gives a sense of space and the room will appear larger than it is.  It also “brings the garden in”, connecting the room with the outdoors.  Large openings, achieved by bi-fold or sliding doors, can help our visual and non-visual connection with nature, providing natural light, beautiful vistas, and natural airflow through our rooms.

Plants, Plants and More Plants

An easy and cheap-ish win, when bringing nature into our homes is, of course, plants.  Whether it’s a veritable forest, or just some carefully chosen statement plants, foliage and flowers can help you create a sense of your own style and a calm, healthy environment.  Use a variety of plants to:

Credit: Chris Liverani
Credit: Chris Liverani
  • Fill, or to be more exact, create interest in an empty corner.
  • Create a screen or partition in a larger space
  • Create drama and interest by placing larger structural plants so they cast different shadows throughout the day, or maybe use plants to drape over windows.
  • Give a focal point to a room
  • Create a feature wall with a living wall.  These planted walls have become more and more popular in larger scale commercial projects to bring an eco feel to offices, both inside and out.  But they are becoming more desirable on a smaller scale in people’s homes.  They are a more expensive option, but certainly offer a “wow factor”. 
Credit: Green Fortune
Credit: Green Fortune

Have fun exploring how plants can find your style and bring you closer to nature.  Just remember to do a little bit of research and place plants in positions they will enjoy.  Nobody wants a brown and dying plant!

Check out this great article which explores using plants as an interior design statement a bit more.

https://homedesignlover.com/interior-design/ways-of-decorating-your-interior-with-green-plants/

Natural Light

The rhythm of the day is central to biophilic philosophy, so it’s important to think about the natural light in a project.  A blend of wall and roof glazing can be used to get the most of the natural light in all settings, be it North, South, East or West facing.   Creating dynamic light and shade in a room mimics outside light and can give a feeling of calm.  This could be designed into a project, or maybe by a strategic placing of a large plant to cast different shadows as the sun moves throughout the day. 

Water

Seeing, hearing and touching water is good for the soul.  Why not consider a pond in the back garden?  It’s great for the local wildlife too!  If that’s not feasible for you, maybe a small indoor water feature might be more your thing.  It humidifies the space and creates a wonderful relaxing environment and you could even go one nature step further and have fish in it!  If you’re able to have the space, you could even go large! 

I found this water feature in this blog.  Check it out for more examples.

 https://houseofgracedesign.wordpress.com/2015/07/08/14-examples-of-indoor-water-features/

I hope the above has given some practical ideas on how to include the principles and ethos of biophilic design in your homes and future projects. 

Posted on May 22nd 2020

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