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how to bring biophilic design into hotels

in biophilic how to

A biophilic approach to design aims at crafting experiences out of spaces, reconnecting people with the natural world, supporting physical and mental wellbeing.

How does this all apply to hotels? Let’s find out…

home away from home

Hotel design often focuses on beauty, resulting in spaces that look gorgeous but sometimes feel a bit cold. What’s missing?

Hotels act as substitutes for homes when travelling. As such, they should feel welcoming and provide that sense of warmth that one usually finds at home. From hotel rooms to common areas, the atmosphere should feel cozy and serene, allowing guests to easily wind down. A combination of biophilic elements can help achieve that…

Adding physical richness, natural materials and textures warm up the space. Outdoor views, natural ventilation and sunlight provide exposure to nature and its cycles, refining the experience through sensory elements and unpredictable stimuli. Common areas can also take advantage of apparent risk features or the presence of water that – besides adding a unique and distinctive focal point – will become real experiences for guests.

Bedroom with rich natural materials and a big view to the outdoors.
Credit: Yana Prydalna
Common seating area designed around a huge indoor tree.
Credit: Merijn Degraeve – Ph: Pieter D’hoop
Outdoor seating area integrating a water feature.
Credit: J+S Studio (via Mooool) – Ph: Holi Landscape Photography

together and alone

Hotels and other forms of accommodation are public spaces, yet need to grant privacy.

Design choices can help achieve balance, combining common and private, social time and time for the self. Generally speaking, bedrooms are the most private spaces in hotels, shelters where guests can retreat. But common areas should also be able to provide some degree of privacy, leaving the option open for guests.

From a design perspective, balancing refuge and prospect reflects these contrasting needs in the space, allowing for both social and private time.

Sunken seating area with fireplace and outdoor view.
Credit: Lulu Lee
Seating area designed inside a nook for privacy.
Credit: Kelly Wearstler
Bedroom with rich natural textures.
Credit: ArtPartner

connecting with local identities

Travelling is the occasion to discover new places and cultures, and hospitality design can become part of the experience.

Relying on local materials and repurposing existing structures infuses the space with a unique sense of identity. Design and service can also tap into local traditions and culture to provide an authentic experience. Activities, meals, and informative materials are just a few ways to inspire guests through the uniqueness of the place, its culture, and its natural features.

Contemporary bedroom design built in a traditional building with raw stone walls.
Credit: Manca Studio – Ph: Pierangelo Laterza
Mediterranean colours and shapes in a reception desk area.
Credit: We Are Triibe

Hospitality lies in between comfort and adventure. Through biophilic design, a warm homey atmosphere can merge with a deep sense of place, providing an experience that is at once quiet and exciting, soothing and explorative. An unusual mix to make guests feel at home while being inspired by what’s away from home.

find more biophilic hotel inspiration in anooi visual library →

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