Corporate, Sustainability

Biophilia Hypothesis – What Is It? And Why Does it Matter in Design?

Biophilic design or Biophilia is more relevant than ever before.

But you may be wondering "what exactly is it" or "how do I use it effectively to my advantage" as a business owner or decision-maker in 2024 and beyond?

Post-pandemic clever use of biophilic design has been increasingly used across London and major cities around the world to transform the employee/customer experience and add more ease, increase retention rates, boost wellbeing and so much more.

Discover everything you need to know right here!

Your Ultimate Guide to Biophilic Design

1. What is Biophilic Design?

"Biophilic design is an extension of the theory of biophilia, which recognizes that our species has evolved for more than 99% of its history 𝐢𝐧 𝐚𝐝𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐩𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐚𝐥 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝 and NOT to human-created or artificial forces."

Let' be clear, It isn't just adding a few more plants around the home or office, it's a concept interwoven throughout the entire space closely conjunct with our inborn tendencies that have advanced our fitness and survival.

Our inherent need to reconnect with nature has been glaringly obvious in recent years due to the tumultuous times we're living in.
For our corporate clients at Blooming Haus,  our fundamental goal of biophilic design is to create good habitat for people as biological organisms inhabiting modern structures.

Take the residence gardens at Raffles OWO for example, we not only planted trees here on Earth Day 2024, which adds to the luscious design, but we got the team involved and made it an uplifting and educational experience for all.

When it comes to Biophilia, think plants that purify the air and accentuate elements that have helped sustain life as we know it such as fireplaces, and water features.

During the pandemic, we even experimented using biophilic elements to enhance social distancing and safety measures without being "in your face".

Because let's be honest, 2-metre distance stickers stuck to the floor doesn't scream luxury for some of London's most celebrated venues!

For us, the creme de la creme of biophilic design in London is a marriage between construction teams, interior designers, and florists because they ALL have a part to play to present a united and impactful front.

It's all well and good having the perfectly constructed and decorated interior, but what use is it if the flowers, foliage, and natural elements you choose don't align, won't survive, or are high maintenance... the list goes on.

At Blooming Haus, we can advise what works best for your space based on our expert knowledge, and passion for all living things.

If you're interested in enlisting our help for your biophilic design please,

contact us today

The framework for biophilic design

Yale social ecology professor, Stephen Kellert, created a framework for biophilic design that sets out the main principles. 

This framework works in any environment including your business. 

Want to know more? 

Here’s a summary: 

Direct experience of nature

This includes: 

- Light
- Air
- Water 
- Plants 
- Animals 
- Weather
- Natural landscapes
- Fire 

Incorporating these aspects through the construction and interior design is key.

Think everything from floor to ceiling windows, water features, and of course, real living things such as trees, plants, flowers and foliage.

Indirect experience of nature

This includes: 

- Images of Nature. 
- Natural Materials. 
- Natural Colors. 
- Simulations of Natural Light and Air.
- Naturalistic Shapes. 

You can easily include these features in your premises by using natural materials such as wood and stone for furnishings and structures. 

You may also want to invest in artwork that depicts nature to help pique the senses.

Colour is arguably one of the most important elements of design and is something we consider ourselves experts in.

Its effects are instantaneous so it's important you get it right. Neutrals are always a safe bet think stone and terracotta.

The best part?

You can always add and take away pops of colours with accenting elements. Making it easy to switch it up with seasonal or trending colours periodically.

Pssst! In 2021, it's out with the right angles and in with the enveloping curvilinear furnishings!

Experience of space and place 

This includes: 

- Prospect and refuge which involves creating a comfortable and nurturing environment. 
- Organized complexity involving detail, change, and repetition in interior and exterior design. 
- Transitional spaces that create a flowing environment which may include connecting interior and outdoor areas (this is one of our personal favourite to play around with). 
- Mobility, enabling people to easily and comfortably move between spaces. 
- Cultural and Ecological Attachment to Place which creates a sense of cultural attachment. 

Not every part of the biophilic design framework will fit with your company. 

You can choose certain aspects that you feel will enhance the experience of your employees, customers, residents, and other stakeholders

2.  Examples of biophilic design in London

Looking for inspiration for biophilic design in your organisation? 

We’ve collated some of our favourite examples of biophilic design, to show you exactly how it works and to inspire you with your own designs!

Amazon HQ2, Virginia

Introducing the planned HQ2 at Amazon.

Yes, it looks like a glass mountain.

...Yes, you will be able to climb it.

Dubbed “The Helix” the 350-foot-tall tower shaped like a conch shell is slated for completion in 2025.

It will feature all-electric central heating and cooling system, that will run on 100% renewable energy from a southern Virginia solar farm. Plus, it will also seek LEED Platinum certification.

In short, the build by NBBJ Design is set to be nothing short of magnificent.

What impact do you think this spiralling centrepiece will have on the design industry?

Is it a statement about the future of our cities?

Or a throwback to pre-covid techno-optimism?

We’d love to know your thoughts.

The Wardian, London

This stunning eco-influenced residential property on the Isle of Dogs is the perfect example of what incorporating nature in design can achieve. 

Residents can swim in a pool surrounded by a lush tropical landscape.

And life-enhancing trees are a central design feature. 

The structure is still in the construction stage and is the most recent example of biophilic design excellence in the our contry's capital.

The Argyll Club’s Nova North, London

As professionals who spend our lives revealing the beauty of flowers to others, we adore this space. 

The moss wall is perfectly complemented by splashes of colour from blooms carefully placed around the interior. 

The look is completed with textured seating and sand-coloured rugs.

3.  Why use Biophilic Design in Your Corporate Space? 

For corporate spaces, biophilic design is an investment in your employees and the longevity of your businesses success.  

Improving the physical health of employees

Plants improve air quality by removing pollutants and toxins from the air. 

In-office buildings, they can also remove harmful compounds like formaldehyde and benzene that can be found in furniture and carpets. 

This helps to reduce the risk of ‘sick building syndrome’ and can lower sickness absence levels in your organisation. 

Discover other benefits plants can bring by reading our journal entry that looks at domestic use of plants but also applies to commercial premises. 

NASA Study Reveals Best Air-Cleaning Plants For Your Home

Not only that but people feel good in nature, which in turn boosts physical health and wellbeing too.

Enhancing individual and overall mental well-being 

Having access to green spaces and/or nature improves confidence and self-esteem

It also reduces stress and anger and creates a more positive mental attitude.

Creating this type of atmosphere in your company improves your reputation as well as making it more likely people will want to work for you and less likely they will move on. 

This is a huge positive at a time when companies are competing to create safe and welcoming workspaces that are attractive to potential employees.

Increasing productivity levels 

Natural light is vital in the creation of melatonin

This is the hormone that regulates sleep cycles and makes a significant difference to energy levels. 

Making use of natural light in your corporate premises enhances the energy levels of employees.

This makes them more productive

If you don’t have access to sufficient natural light in your premises, you can consider using circadian lighting systems that change temperature and illumination during the working day. 

Another useful tip

Open plan design enables the flow of natural light through internal spaces.

Employee retention 

You can create a greater sense of belonging and loyalty in your employees by keeping them connected with nature throughout their working day - benefiting more their mental and physical health.

When your employees are happy, they produce their best work and are less likely to look for alternative job employment.

Improving brand reputation 

It takes less than a second for someone to form a first impression of your company. 

So, including natural elements that exude a healthy vibe and are aesthetically pleasing makes excellent commercial sense. 

For example, take a look at this nature-inspired window display we designed for our client, Bulgari. 

Is Biophilic Design Expensive?

The cost will depend on how many changes you need to make and maintain to have the desired impact.

Yet, there are options to suit moderate to extensive budgets.

If you're starting out building it's important to talk to your architect, construction, interior designers, and florist from the get-go.

However, if you're already established it doesn't mean you can't incorporate more Biophilic design into your space.

Using natural resources, plants, flowers, and elements of nature on your premises has a similar effect.

You can also use biophilic design as part of your branding strategy for events!
Picture credit: Blooming Haus

4. How to Bring Biophilic Features Into Your Corporate Space  

For complete beginners, there are several steps you can take to make simple yet effective changes...
Picture credit: Blooming Haus Shop
Keep blinds and curtains open where possible, to allow as much natural light as possible into your commercial space. 

Invest in plants to purify the air. 

Use images of nature as part of your decor. 

Develop outside spaces where your employees can spend break periods relaxing. 

Use natural ventilation where possible. 

Pay attention to acoustics by using features such as acoustic ceiling tiles. 

There are also more complex design features you can incorporate. 

An ideal time to do this is when you’re building new premises or adding to an existing structure. 

You can build rooms with strategically placed windows that provide access to calming views. 

Or, you may want to include a water feature such as a fountain or pool. 

A heads up…

Biophilic design is not about volume.

You should think carefully about the result you’re aiming for and how sustainable it is for your company. 

If you’re having new premises designed, you can consider biophilia as the overall theme

But, you can also make a big impact by something as simple as choosing seasonal blooms for your premises. 

Take a look at how much difference our floral designs made to Daphnes London... Italian charm abounds.
The effect of your biophilic design is always the most important factor. 

This includes the way it complements the structure and the positive impact it has on both people and planet.

5. Ready to Enhance Your Biophilic Designs?

We passionately believe in the positivity of biophilic design.

Our mission is to bring more of it to London to build back better!  

It embraces our love of nature and the joy it brings to our lives. 

We know just how powerful it can be. We always bring as many life-enhancing benefits to our corporate and event projects as humanly possible.

And, we’re enthusiastic about helping you to bring your biophilic design ideas to life too.

Oftentimes, clients simply need help sprucing up their current biophilic designs, or help maintaining them.
We’ve developed an in-depth knowledge working with clients including Raffles OWO, Bulgari, Mark’s Club, The Ivy Club, Tatler, Kate Spade NY, and LK Bennett.

Talk to us about stand-out unique floral artistry that helps your brand stand out from the crowd. 

Call us on +44 20 3389 9609 to start your design journey. 

Or, send an email to:

Got a question?

Let us know in the comments and we’ll get on it as soon as possible. 

We’d also love to hear about your experiences with biophilic design and any positives it has brought to your business or life.

6. Other Blogs You Might Find Useful

1. The Best Potted Blooms for Your Office
2. Tips On Planning a Successful Corporate Event
3. How to Choose Flowers for Your Corporate Event
4. Go on A Biophilic Tour of London (MAP)

Have you been admiring any well-executed Biophilic interior or architectural designs in London recently?

Let us know in the comments section below we would love to hear from you.

We love the new residence gardens at Raffles OWO! We recently had the pleasure of planting trees in the garden with the team on Earth Day 2024 - it was so much fun! To read more on our sustainability initiatives at Blooming Haus, click here.

We also LOVE Gary Grant's design covering the entire facade of a hotel (350 square metres), making it the largest wall of vertical plants in London.

The permanent feature is located on the exterior wall of the Rubens at the Palace Hotel in Victoria.
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