Biophilic design is about mimicking shapes and systems in nature for design benefits and simply for a love of nature. Whether it’s through exploring the shapes of stones and the way light falls in a house, or through use of natural materials, biophilic design is a growing trend that brings us closer to our home planet. Biophilic furniture runs the gamut from vases inspired by coral growth patterns to chairs with natural wooden legs.
What was once a niche design trend is now taking off, inspiring everything from entire buildings to the way companies plan around circular economies to reduce waste. We are patterning our human systems after naturally occurring ones, and that’s not a bad thing. Here are some of our favorite biophilic furniture designs.
Ho Aco Coffee Table
The Ho Aco coffee table by Jiun Ho Furniture sets the clean lines of a coffee table slab on top of natural stone shapes for legs. The legs are cast in bronze, creating a table that will last a lifetime and remind you of the flow of water over worn river rocks.
Ascent Seating system by Green Furniture Concept takes a bench and turns it into a flowing undulating extruded shape. This Swedish brand was awarded the Red Dot Award for Product Design 2021 for this sustainable modular seating product. Natural and recycled materials are used to create these unique seats, which explores how we could redefine public seating in airports and train stations.
Vondom’s Biophilia Collection by Ross Lovegrove explores biophilic design through flowing shapes for outdoor furniture. Tables, chairs and other outdoor pieces were inspired by Art Nouveaux, but take the concept of flowing beautiful pieces to their modern limits.
Ways to incorporate biophilic design into your space
Biophilia is simply the natural affinity we have for the natural world we come from. If you would like to incorporate biophilic design into your space this year, here are some simple suggestions that won’t break the bank like designer furniture.
- 1. Buy more plants: Biophilic design can be as simple as bringing more nature indoors!
- 2. Use natural materials to create your own functional furniture: Could you create your own bookshelf out of recycled wood? Or turn your kitchen into the biophilic center of your home by bringing in stone mortar and pestle or wooden utensils inspired by natural forms?
- 3. Repaint and redecorate with a nature-focused theme: From green paint and leaf-inspired blankets to making sure you encourage optimal natural light in your home, this can be a project that encompasses your décor theme as well as your routine.
- 4. Create a meditation space next to a set of planters shaped like natural rocks for a new Zen garden inspiration.
- 5. Repurpose natural deadwood from your yard into a coffee table, or for a walking stick for hikes.
- 6. Purchase natural materials only, and then give yourself the extra challenge to bring in new furniture and décor that is inspired in form as well as materials by the natural world.
Ultimately, biophilic design takes us closer to our home: nature on Earth. So it might be best to focus on whatever you love about the natural world and use that as inspiration, rather than spending money on more things you don’t need. This new way of thinking about design helps us look at ways we can partner with our natural surroundings in the built environment. Some industrial facilities are even being built based on the entire structure shape informed by biophilic design.
Maybe you don’t have the budget to redesign your living space in the shape of an expanding crab shell stuffed with native species plants, but you can take steps every day to live more sustainably both with the materials you put in your home and the form and function that inspires their use.
Images via Jiun Ho Furniture, Vondom and Pexels