skip to main content

how to bring biophilic design into retail spaces

in biophilic how to

Retail spaces are the physical extension of a brand. They communicate its values through design while crafting an experience for visitors.

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

a physical experience

In an era where purchases happen mostly online, the importance of retail spaces lies in their physical nature. Walking into a space means experiencing an atmosphere that – in the case of stores – includes the opportunity to feel products.

As a whole, this calls for a shift from store to showroom, from shopping to experiencing.

Organic wood clothes hangers mounted on the ceiling.
Credit: Urban Product
Organic shaped product display.
Credit: Yagyug Douguten

designing a biophilic store

Biophilic features such as rich natural textures, shapes, and nature views are all elements that enrich the sensory experience. Given the experiential nature of stores, all design choices are opportunities to shape a distinctive atmosphere. Water and apparent risk features could all become the base of an intentional and memorable design.

Retail spaces lend themselves well to an atmosphere centered on a sense of exploration, guiding visitors through a compelling journey around the space. Mystery features and light-shadow plays are ways to stimulate curiosity through space.

Store with arched vaults inviting exploration.
Credit: La Nena
Jewels exposed into baubles being the only lit elements in the space.
Credit: Jouin Manku
Pampa grass partition in a retail space.
Credit: Storey Studio – Ph: Pete Hawk

nurturing the sense of place

Retail spaces look rather similar across the globe. Those belonging to a chain reproduce the guidelines of the brand no matter where the store is located and – as a general rule – retail spaces often conform to a standardized and impersonal design, with only a few exceptions.

A different approach comes from merging company branding and local identity, turning stores into place-specific spaces that embody the cultural and environmental uniqueness of the area.

Cave-like store with rough stone surfaces recalling local ecology.
Credit: Aesop

Through sensory richness, compelling experiences, and place-specific elements, retail spaces move beyond the role of simple product displays, becoming more intentional, authentic, and nourishing environments.

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