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    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 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 the 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.

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