Biophilic Design

Biophilic Design
Posted in: Help and Advice

Natural Selection

No-one can deny the incredible beauty of our planet, but the fascination with all things natural isn’t just a physical attraction. Earth’s landscape has allowed humankind to thrive for thousands of years and we are drawn to it on an evolutionary level. Being in nature is innately familiar, so it is no surprise that we want to surround ourselves with calming, restorative and invigorating spaces.

Spatially speaking, biophilic designs respect the airiness of the outdoors. Open doorways, seamless thresholds and wide thoroughfares ensure there is an easy flow around a space. Vast windows ensure daylight floods inside, and specific areas can be tailored to make them more functional or atmospheric at different times of the day. Polished surfaces will continue to reflect light around the space, while darker, matt finishes will absorb it.

When it comes to colour, earthy shades are key. Vibrant primary tones can prove jarring or distracting, so instead choose a palette that mimics your external vista. Sage green, dove grey, woody brown and dusty blue can enhance the balance between inside and out, while rich terracotta, verdant forest green and dramatic charcoal will give a bolder look that’s still in keeping with a harmonious aesthetic. 

People can sometimes presume that natural means plain, but that’s not the case at all. A monolithic expanse of granite, for example, may look sleek and simple, but up close this hard-wearing igneous rock is flecked with delicate minerals such as quartz and feldspar. Marble is another deceptive stone that can look uniform from afar, but unique veining creates movement and visual interest when you examine it in detail. Even a stretch of classic sandstone reveals ancient fossils of the flora and fauna that was trapped between its sedimentary layers during the Jurassic period. It’s these subtle details that will elevate a scheme. The subtle inconsistency of all natural products is part of their charm so embrace aged patinas and weathered finishes for a deliberately well-loved look. 


Mizu Marble Mosaics. Credit: Carden Cunietti
Mizu Leaf Mosaics. Credit: Tilehouse Studio
Grafton Limestone Credit: Sims Hilditch
Trusloe Limestone. Credits: Mittelman Associates

Geometry might seem like a surprising choice in a biophilic space, but nature is full of head-turning motifs that lend themselves to interiors too. Picture the inside of a beehive, a feathered wing and rows of swaying grasses. These organically occurring shapes can be replicated with hexagonal honeycomb tiles, plume shaped mosaics and reed-effect marble. It is an area where porcelain tiles enter the biophilic arena, as realistic imagery and precise craftsmanship unite to pull off patterns with perfection. Porcelain also makes a practical canvas for wood effects, ensuring that wet zones don’t miss out on the inviting appeal of timber. 

True biophilia must of course take into account our impact on the environment. It’s a cause that’s always been close to the hearts of Artisans of Devizes.  

“Natural stone encompasses all of the above requisites for biophilic design and nothing beats a tangible experience with the real thing. The versatility and array of types, colours, patterns and textures means that design options are endless.”

Limestone flagstones make for a classical flooring. Their varied hues and hardy properties make them ideal for spaces that blur the boundaries of indoor and outdoor. Use large scale slabs in porches, foyers, and atriums to connect with kitchens, hallways and decks for a look that leads the eye outwards. 

Warm-toned terracotta is another popular and durable choice for walls and floors. Crafted from clay, terracotta is tactile, rustic in appearance and boasts hearty tones that are reminiscent of Mediterranean climes. Sometimes made from recycled bricks, reclaimed options add extra character and an eco-friendly twist. 

For those finishing touches, use complimentary materials, such as copper, wood and even water, and consider using differing levels and undulating surfaces to fully echo an exterior landscape. Plus, don’t forget to bring in some all-important greenery with lush vegetation or a dramatic living wall.

Honeycomb Recycled Mosaic. Credit: Karen Oliver, Chris Snook
Tetbury Terracotta
Vieux Bourgogne Limestone: Credit: Jaam Architects
Sorbonne Cobbles
May 1, 2024