Reach out to our sales team to get your next project solved!

How Biophilia is applied to Walls, Ceilings and Floors

A building’s geometry is a result of applying a particular design language chosen by the architect. A design language includes the basic elements: floors, walls, ceilings, volumes, and their subdivision, windows, materials, ornamentation, and the rules for combining them. When the design language of a building is biophilia, opportunities include more than just plants on these surfaces. 

Stephen Kellert in his thought-leadership has provided design professionals with a roadmap to incorporate a biophilic design language within buildings. He stresses that good biophilic design is more than bringing potted plants and artwork into the space. Rather, effective biophilic design is thoughtfully integrated to include elements of nature on surfaces, while maintaining spatial function. Incorporating natural elements into multiple surfaces or dimensions in the workplace creates a more diverse and interesting user experience and increases the frequency of human exposure to nature.

Walls, ceilings, and floors are particularly important surfaces that people interact with on a daily basis.  A space’s inhabitants are likely to be highly engaged with these surfaces throughout the day while interacting with an interior. These surfaces help people with important functions and spatial organization.  When applied thoughtfully, biophilic design can be incorporated onto walls, ceilings, and floor surfaces to provide the physical, mental, performance, and behavioral benefits that human-to-nature connections provide. 

There are several ways to effectively incorporate biophilic design strategies onto walls, ceilings, and floors, the most straightforward of which is to replicate the colors, textures, and patterns found in the natural landscape. With all surfaces within a building interior, it can be more than plants. The following are project examples with their associated strategy of bringing biophilia into the design language, whether to be used as a subtle integration or a prominent application theme. 

Natural Scenes

Design: Straticom

Photography: Bob Gundu

Wall coverings that apply natural scenes or elements of nature.

Earth tone colors

Design: Straticom

Photography: Bob Gundu

Earth tone colors are applied within flooring and walls. 

Use of stone and/or wood

Design: McMillan Pazdan Smith

Photography: Kris Decker Firewater Photography

Wood and stone walls integrated without being overpowering. 

Patterns that include biomimicry 

Design: Corporate Office Solutions

Photography: Sabin Prodan

Window etchings and carpet tiles that softly apply biomimicry

Integrated vegetation on walls and ceilings

Design: Arch-Studio

Photography: Balázs Danyi

Hanging vegetation to provide a human to nature connection that doesn’t take away from valuable floor square footage. 

Design: Straticom

Photography: Bob Gundu

Vegetation that is integrated into walls and ceilings. 

Where else Biophilia can be in the workplace?

Within an office, there are several areas where biophilia can be applied. These areas include:

  • Lobbies
  • Collaboration areas
  • Individual work areas
  • Corridors and thresholds
  • Wall, ceiling, and floor surfaces
  • Eating areas

Each of these zones can incorporate elements of nature through added plants, biomorphic forms, natural materials, sunlight, water, fractal patterns, and views of landscapes. To learn more about incorporating biophilia into areas of the workplace, download our in-depth whitepaper.