According to our friends at Wikipedia biophilia literally means “love of life or living systems.” So biophilic design centers around establishing naturally based habitats for humans to live and work. Designers and Architects who practice biophilic design create spaces in which humans can achieve maximum wellbeing and productivity by incorporating elements derived from nature.

First used by Erich Fromm, the noted German social psychologist, the term generally is associated with the positive connection and energy humans derive from being in touch with or surrounded by nature. With the increased emphasis on supporting employees emotional, cognitive and physical wellbeing in the workplace, it is understandable why designers are increasingly incorporating natural elements into the workplace to create a sense of calm and balance.

There are innumerable ways to introduce the rhythms of nature into the workplace including;

– organic color and pattern choice in flooring, textiles, and wall covering
– airflow and ventilation that mimic nature
– visual connection to nature
– access to the ebb and flow of natural light
– greenery incorporated into the architecture and design
– diversity of spaces to provide both vista and sanctuary

There are so many beautiful examples of biophilic design I highly recommend a google image search – just for fun! This workplace image courtesy of Interface.

green desk

Want to learn more about Biophillic Design? Terrapin, a environmental design consultancy, has published a report called “14 Patterns of Biophilic Design, Improving Health and Well-Being in the Built Environment” as a free download.

We spend 36% of our lives working. For many of us, it’s indoors, seated and staring straight ahead at a computer screen. Incorporating the natural world into our workplace as an anti-dote seems to be a proactive way to increase productivity, lower stress and make for happier, well balanced employees.

Happy Earth Day!


AUTHORED BY: Petra Geiger
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