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How to bring biophilic design into restaurants

in biophilic how to

Restaurants are places where people gather around a table to share a meal. Convivial by nature, they’re meant to be welcoming, inviting, and craft a memorable experience.

This episode of Biophilic How To looks into the design of restaurants from a biophilic perspective, combining atmospheres, design choices, and the experience of space in a nourishing outcome…

in between gathering and privacy

Restaurants are gathering spaces, but also places where individual guests will want to find privacy. A double identity that – from a biophilic design perspective – calls for refuge areas to provide comfort and intimacy despite the public nature of the space.

In a restaurant, refuge areas can come from see-through partitions or plants to shield the tables, secluded niches, low light situations, and more…

Restaurant with organic wall that doubles as seat.
Credit: Innarch – Ph: Atdhe Mulla
Restaurant with curved seats.
Credit: KEY Design + DASP Bureau

a memorable experience

Eating out is a treat, and the design of a restaurant should contribute to creating a memorable experience. Convivial or intimate, traditional or experimental…these are just some of the elements that define a restaurant’s atmosphere.

From a design perspective, every decision shapes the atmosphere. Forms, colours and layouts, water, mystery, or apparent risk features…an intentional design can craft a distinctive space identity, guiding the experience accordingly.

Wine display area with a pampas grass composition hanging from the ceiling.
Credit: Sky Eye League – Ph: YHLAA
Outdoor restaurant with tall plants used as dividers.
Credit: OKU Hotels
Restaurant with textured walls and a raw stone moulding.
Credit: KIDZ Design

connection to nature

In a biophilic restaurant, the notion of connection to nature covers different aspects.

Firstly, it refers to a close relationship with the surroundings, crafted through generous outdoor views, elements of local identity, and indoor-outdoor layouts that bring the dining experience outdoors. Yet in the context of a restaurant, connection to nature also extends to the food, creating an occasion to foster curiosity, generate awareness and inspire connection to the origin and history of the ingredients.

Being centered on food, a restaurant experience is naturally multi-sensory. Colours, aromas, sounds, consistencies, and flavours are all part of the eating experience and can be mirrored in the design to engage the senses through space and food at once.

Restaurant space looking into a lush planted indoor garden.
Credit: Helle Flou – Ph: Kristine Funch
Corridor restaurant with flowy layout running in the middle of a forest.
Credit: MUDA Architects - Ph: Arch-Exist

As a whole, restaurants are rich spaces that include people, flavours, history, place…all aspects that – together – shape a distinctive experience.

Biophilic design resources by anooi:
A Biophilic YearApplying Biophilic DesignVisual Library of Biophilic Design