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A Journey through the 5 Senses of Biophilic Design

 Biophilia: a human desire or tendency to commune with nature (source: merriam webster)

Ah, biophilia, this is where it all begins! Harvard naturalist Dr. Edward O. Wilson was the first to coin a term for a feeling that all of us innately know and recognize. It’s no surprise that basking in sunlight, hearing birds chirp, and seeing a lush row of sea grapes can make us happier than being stuck in an industrial space with fluorescent lights, stark white walls, and only the hum of electrical systems.

In short, more nature = happier people.

Enter, biophilic design: an approach to interior and architectural design that holds biophilia at its core. Each design decision is crafted to bring nature indoors, whether through water fixtures, more natural light, or our personal favorite, lush and beautiful plants in order to improve the well being of the occupants of the space. 

Biophilia in Interior Design

biophilic interior design principles

Interior designers are our go to experts when it comes to creating a space that evokes a feeling. A recent trend has been incorporating biophilic design into their approach as adding in natural elements has now been scientifically proven to improve a human’s wellbeing. 

If you are new to interior design or incorporating biophilic design into your approach, it can be difficult to know how to start. As experts in biophilic interior design, we at Plantique recommend exploring the concept of biophilic design by journeying through the five senses: touch, smell, hear, sight and taste. 

Proper Biophilic Design envelopes the 5 Senses: Sight, Smell, Touch, Taste, and Hearing

Biophilic design is not about just adding some plants or an extra window to achieve your desired effect. Instead it is a multi-faceted approach that really aims to stimulate an outdoor, natural experience indoors. This can be explained in the following five senses listed below.

Sight: Visual Connection to Nature

Let’s start with sight, the sense that is the easiest to understand and the one that design predominantly relies on. Our eyes naturally crave something visually pleasing that allows our attention to be centered on. This is why having a focal point to each room is a basic design principle. In the same thread, we also are naturally more at ease when we look around and see plants and other greenery incorporated into a space. An easy way to achieve biophilic design principles through sight is to make plants a main focal point such as a living wall or large plant display in the center of a room.

living moss wall designs

Sound: Auditory Experience

Next, we’ll take a look at our auditory experience and how biophilic design recognizes the therapeutic power of natural sounds. When we are outside exploring nature, we hear an array of sounds: birds chirping, ocean waves crashing, and the wind rustling through the trees. The easiest way to activate our hearing through biophilic design in interior spaces is by adding a water feature that creates a soothing moving water sound. By engaging our sense of hearing, biophilic design fosters an environment where stress is replaced by a sense of serenity.

Smell: Olfactory Stimulation

The sense of smell, often underestimated in design, can play a fun role in our overall design experience. Often when we explore the outdoors, we enjoy the natural scents and fresh air that elevate our mood and promote a sense of relaxation. While we may not be able to add the smell of an ocean to an indoor space, we can promote a cleaner fresher atmosphere through added indoor plants. On that same note, we do not suggest adding artificial scents to mimic the outdoors. Using a large quantity of indoor plants can help to filter harsh, unnatural smells and make a space more desirable and pleasing to its inhabitants.

Touch: Tactile Elements

Focusing on tactical elements and incorporating touch into design can add another fun and calming element to your space. In the spirit of biophilic design, using natural materials such as tree limbs, stone and moss in your design can not only promote the element of touch but paints the picture of bringing nature indoors.

plantique fl biophilic design

Taste: Gustatory Pleasures

While taste may seem less obvious in interior design, it can still be addressed in biophilic principles. If you are to approach biophilic interior design through the sense of taste, you can think of adding real food elements such as a vertical garden or citrus trees. It could be something such as growing edible plants on a rooftop patio or adding aquaponics to your indoor space. This may be a more challenging route, but still expresses biophilic design’s multifaceted approach and ability to bring nature indoors to promote human’s well being.

Moving forward with the 5 senses of biophilic Interior design

In conclusion, biophilic design transforms spaces into holistic environments that engage all of our senses, promote well-being and evoke happiness. By immersing ourselves in environments that speak to our fundamental connection with nature, we not only enhance the aesthetics of our surroundings but also nurture a profound sense of balance and harmony in our lives. So, let the five senses guide the way as we embark on this journey of biophilic design, where nature and design converge to create spaces that truly resonate with the human spirit.

Learn more about Plantique’s biophilic design principles and how the team can transform your office or commercial space into a nature-inspired oasis.