With so much time spent indoors over the last two years, it’s been important that our homes and workspaces retain connectivity with nature. ‘Biophilic’ design is the buzzword term for embracing the idea of replicating the physical and mental responses that natures gives us, through materials, décor, scents, ventilation and light.
I immersed myself with biophilic ideas at the recent London Design Week at Planted in Granary Square. Planted was the first contemporary design show based around reconnecting people and spaces with nature. While the physical event is now closed, you can enjoy a range of talks on biophilic design and how we can make our cities more sustainable.
In my usual scouring of interiors, design and architecture magazines – I give you some easy wins on enhancing your wellbeing with biophilic choices.
Thea Babington-Stitt picks the brain of biophilic guru Oliver Heath on boosting well-being in winter in the November edition of Living Etc. Heath says ‘consider the sensory inputs in a room…the aromatic quality - perhaps you are picking up on woodburning scents rather than fresh green grass…we associate with summer’. He goes on to recommend reed diffusers instead of candles which release PM2.5, which is essentially soot. Also, windows tend to be closed more. ‘Try and open them every day to get an exchange of air’.
He also recommends being conscious of natural light. The reduced light over winter can be enhanced through gloss paints and strategically placed mirrors. ‘In winter, we have to think about how artificial light affects our perception of colours. Colour control lights, like Philips Hue bulbs, can make quite a difference to how we feel’. He likes to ‘turn them to deep oranges in the evening to remove the blue spectrum of light and add a sense of warmth’.
Better Living’s January 2021 edition recommends letting your walls ‘do the talking’ by using wallpaper to bring the natural world in. ‘Choose a tropical, floral, or botanical pattern to highlight a feature wall.’ Alternatively use earthy hues with your colour palette.
Another way to connect with nature is to surround yourself with natural materials – from furniture to décor. I am always inspired by my local gift and homewares shop Jo’s House. 91 magazine describes it ‘as a haven for soothing earthy tones and natural materials’. There is something very calming about her nature-inspired product collection that certainly makes me keep coming back!
And what about plants themselves? TV presenter James Wong and acclaimed designer DaeWha Kang feature in an article in the West Sussex Times (28 October 2021). They talk about how to create different moods with plants in your spaces. I liked the tip on ‘recreating naturalism’ with your plant selection. ‘In the wild, plants form colonies in clusters. Things in nature don’t grow symmetrically. Think about how many plants you think you want to get, then double it…get enough so you feel like its not a sad lonely plant. There has to be enough so there is a little riot of nature happening’.
On that note, go and make your riot of nature! See you soon.