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What is Biophilic Design?

What is it?

Biophilia means a “love of nature”. In turn, Biophilic Design is a concept used within the architecture industry to increase human's connectivity with the natural environment through the use of direct and indirect nature, space and place conditions. This concept popularised by American biologist Edward O Wilson in the 1980s focuses on human's innate attraction to nature and natural processes. This concept suggests that we all have a genetic connection to the natural world which has been built up through hundreds of thousands of years of living in natural settings.

This concept has grown in popularity over time due to the increasing rates of urbanisation, leading to a disconnection with the natural world. With the growth in rates of migration to urban settings in the developed world and even higher rates in developing countries, humanity is becoming ever-more disconnected from nature. Biophilia reinforces the growing importance of our health and wellbeing in connection to the built environment and biophilic design looks to address this and create a more intimate connection with nature through architecture and construction.

Many studies have supported the concept of biophilic design, due to increasing health problems suffered by humans as a result of a more urbanised world. The World Health Organisation predicted stress-related illnesses such as mental health disorders and cardiovascular disease would be the two largest contributors to disease by the end of 2020. This is a result of a diminished connection to nature, the increasing pressures on urban space and the overwhelming technological presence across the globe. We now have less time and opportunity to recuperate our mental and physical energy, since we are always on the go.


Biophilic design has been known to reduce stress, improve cognitive function and creativity, improve well-being and expedite healing. This is ever more important in urbanised communities. Due to the positive effect that nature has on restorative responses, biophilic design is essential for providing people opportunities to live and work in healthy places and spaces with less stress and greater overall health and wellbeing. Since businesses spend billions each year on lost productivity, this is extremely important across a range of industries.

When incorporating biophilic design principles into office design, productivity is increased by up to 8% rates of well-being increase by 13%. This is in addition to improvements in creativity with reductions in absenteeism.

In the hospitality industry, guests are willing to pay 23% more for rooms with a view of a biophilic environment. In education spaces, rates of learning increase by around 20-25% in a biophilic setting, in turn improving test results, concentration and levels of attendance. Reducing impacts of ADHD.

In healthcare, spaces which incorporated elements of nature saw post-operative recovery times decrease by 8.5% and saw a reduction in the need for pain medication by 22%. In the home setting, biophilic design is known to be more calming and restorative. Seeing 7-8% less crime in areas with access to nature. This can also offer an increase of 4-5% of property prices in a biophilic area.

In practice

Biophilic design offers many benefits to your physical and mental health as well as benefits to the environment which you are in, like improvements in air quality, toxin levels and ventilation and improved natural lighting. By enriching the space in your home with natural elements like wood panelling, there are proven positive effects. A Japanese study found that exposure to wooden panels significantly decreases blood pressure, as well as looking beautiful internally and externally. An Austrian study found that sleeping in a timber-framed bed significantly reduced the heart rates of volunteers compared to volunteers who slept in beds fashioned from other materials.

Our ThermoWood cladding options are suitable for use internally or externally, allowing you to bring the outside into your home and benefit from the advantages of biophilic design. Improving mental and physical health as well as aiding concentration, ventilation and bolstering our connection with nature which is more of a priority every day.

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