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how to bring biophilic design into restaurants

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Biophilic design contributes to making people feel comfortable and at ease in interiors, which justifies its application to hospitality design. Biophilic features can also easily become focal elements, creating that wow factor that’s so important in commercial interiors.

So today we’re looking at biophilic design applied to restaurants, which will make the space genuinely more welcoming for guests and workers alike.


The benefits of adding plants in interiors include giving life and tactile richness to a space, and restoring a healthy connection with nature.

Plants in interiors are surely decorative, but they can also double as functional elements. For instance, plants are natural partitions that ensure privacy and physical distancing – a new necessity when it comes to public spaces. When hanging from above, plants can also take the attention away from the ducts and pipes that are often exposed in restaurants, thus elevating the design without any structural work.

Contemporary restaurant with climbing plants as room dividers.
Credit: Golden Vision Studio
Contemporary restaurant with plants draping from the cane-looking wall treatment.
Credit: Marat Mazur - Photo by Ivan Sorokin
Outdoor restaurant with tall plants used as room dividers.
Credit: OKU hotels
Restaurant with draping plants used as the hair of a female face drawn on the wall.
Credit: Fconsonni Arquitetura (via Instagram)
Wine display area with a huge pampas grass composition hanging from the ceiling.
Credit: Studio YHLAA (via Behance)
Restaurant tables arranged around a huge tree.
Credit: Hassell Studio (via We Heart)

natural materials + textures

Nothing can beat the depth and character that natural textures bring into a space. Their tactile richness and the play of light and shadow make them ideal to create a space that engages the senses.

According to the style of the interior, textures can be juxtaposed to create a dense experience. Or alternatively, one single texture can become the feature in an otherwise minimal space.

Minimal restaurant with plain walls and a raw stone bottom moulding.
Credit: KIDZ Design
Outdoor restaurant decorated with plenty of natural textures, from distressed wood to rattan and stone.
Credit: Konstantinos Anninos (via Behance)
Minimal restaurant with arched niches on the walls with a raw stone finish.
Credit: Hanna Oganesyan & Bosc Architectes (via Behance)

organic shapes

In nature, organic and flowy shapes are way more frequent than straight lines. Also, organic forms feel visually pleasing and welcoming, which makes them an ideal choice for a restaurant design.

Restaurant with curved seats and arches on the walls.
Credit: Alina Novytska & Lada Kamyshanska (via Behance)
Restaurant with organic floor-to-ceiling wood panels.
Credit: Takashi Niwa Architects – Photo by Hiroyuki Oki
Restaurant with curved seat that continues as wall treatment.
Credit: Innarch - Photo by Atdhe Mulla

outdoor view

What’s out of the windows is always an important biophilic design element. Both in homes, offices and in restaurants – outdoor views should be part of the design. When naturally worth it, this translates in highlighting the existing view. Otherwise, the challenge is creating an interesting view with the help of outdoor landscaping.

Curating the view also enriches the design with an element that evolves during the year. This strengthens the connection with the changing seasons and can build a deeper local identity.

Corridor restaurant with curved plan running in the middle of a forest.
Credit: MUDA Architects (via Archdaily) - Photo by Arch-Exist
Restaurant with huge trees looking in the internal coutyard.
Credit: Helle Flou – Photo by Kristine Funch


Water features add a fresh sense of nature to all interiors. And in restaurants, they can easily become the focal point of the entire space. Importantly, water is not just an element. It can also be a feeling, that’s reproduced in the space with materials, movements or lighting.

Restaurant with bubbling pool feature.
Credit: Philip Johnson & Mies van der Rohe (via Dwell) - Photo by Jennifer Calais Smith
Restaurant with a hanging sculpture showing plenty of swimming fishes.
Credit: Scabetti - Photo Michele Curel
Restaurant with etched glass partitions looking like flowing water.
Credit: RCR Arquitectos

mystery and refuge

Mystery and refuge are two biophilic design patterns that apply particularly well to restaurant design. Refuge translates in cozy nooks for guests to have a more intimate dinner. And mystery adds a moody vibe to the interior.

Table enclosed by a floor-to-ceiling curved wall panel.
Credit: Vaqueta Gastro Mercat
Table in a black nook that can be fully closed with curtains.
Credit: Golden Vision Studio


Risk features are among the most spectacular in biophilic design. They are perfect to introduce a playful element in a space – like swinging chairs and cantilever tables. When it comes to restaurant design, risk features help create a unique experience that guests will remember.

Table with swing-chairs hanging from the ceiling.
Credit: Íris Cantante (via Archdaily)
Table with swing-chairs hanging from the ceiling.
Credit: Atelier JMCA

Find more biophilic restaurant inspiration in anooi visual library →

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