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biophilic design guide

what is biophilic design?

Biophilic design is a design approach that bridges design, nature and wellbeing.

Translating the essence of nature into design solutions, biophilic design creates spaces that actively support health and wellbeing while restoring a balanced relationship between people and the natural world.

how does biophilic design work?

The theory behind biophilic design has been described with a series of principles (called patterns) aimed at facilitating biophilic design applications. There exist several biophilic design frameworks and what follows is based upon the 14 patterns framework conceptualized by Terrapin Bright Green.

In the 14 patterns framework, patterns are organized in 3 categories:

nature in the space: incorporating natural elements in design
natural analogues: using nature-inspired shapes, patterns, colours and textures
nature of the space: reproducing the layout of natural environments

click on each pattern below to read a dedicated article from the blog ↓

for a complete overview of biophilic design principles, check out the publication Applying Biophilic Design

nature in the space

1. visual connection with nature

view of natural elements from within a space.

2. non-visual connection with nature

interactions with nature through other senses: sound, touch, smell and taste.

3. non-rhythmic sensory stimuli

unpredictable and non-repetitive movements recalling those happening in nature (birds chirping, leaves moving in a breeze…)

4. thermal and airflow variability

variability in air temperature and flow, changes in relative humidity and varying surface temperatures.

5. presence of water

use of water and water-mimicking solutions as design features.

6. dynamic and diffuse light

varying lighting intensities and light changes over time evoking the natural cycle of day and night.

7. connection with natural systems

awareness of seasonal and temporal changes stimulated by design solutions.

natural analogues

8. biomorphic forms and patterns

nature-inspired textures, shapes and patterns.

9. material connection with nature

natural materials and elements that reflect the local environment in terms of ecology or geology.

10. complexity and order

rich sensory features recalling natural spatial hierarchies (otherwise called fractal patterns).

nature of the space

11. prospect

uninterrupted views over a distance creating feelings of calm and safety.

12. refuge

sense of protection from movements and activities happening in the surroundings.

13. mystery

partially obscured views stimulating curiosity about the unknown.

14. risk/peril

balanced combination of a perceived sense of risk and the rational knowledge of safety.

biophilic design resources

Cover of the ebook ‘applying biophilic design’.

applying biophilic design

a comprehensive guide for the application of biophilic design


The book ‘a biophilic year’.

a biophilic year

365 thoughts on the essence and practice of biophilic design


The ebook ‘biophilic design introduction’.

biophilic design introduction

an illustrated journey across the main principles of biophilic design

free ebook