In eating areas, there are two primary components to the experience that we are familiar with – one is the food and the second is the interior design. In terms of interior design of an eating area or restaurant, it’s important to consider what the guests think and experience. Some eating areas are built only for function, while others invite people to set up their laptop and to stay awhile. The ambience created can dictate the length of time people stay in the eating space and how often they come.
Eating spaces that provide an extra offering beyond the food can provide an opportunity for people to seek out the experience and the vibe of the space. When the interior design vibe is natural-like to provide a shinrin-yoku experience for occupants, people may view living walls, fountains, and natural furniture, hear calming sounds, see natural light, and breathe fresh air while eating. By bringing nature into eating areas, people may feel more relaxed and inspired to come back, just because of the experience and an atmosphere that engages the senses.
Great ways to incorporate biophilic design into eating areas include:
Earth Tone Colors and Natural Materials
There are many surfaces that are representative of nature. Materials such as wood, stone, bamboo, rattan, wicker, and walls and floors with earth tones inspire imagery of natural scenes.
Control of Natural Lighting
Incorporating and controlling natural light provides users of the eating area spaces with a connection to the outside. In terms of biophilic design principles, use of natural lighting also relates to temporal changes that change throughout the day. A lighting system that naturally or artificially changes in intensity, as well as color temperature, throughout the day to mimic our circadian rhythm helps better connect people to the outdoor environment..
Biophilic Integrated Furniture
Furnishings that include biophilic materials and plants can compliment the overall spatial design. Furnishings that use natural materials and incorporate organic forms provide opportunities to the overarching biophilic interior design aesthetic.
Considering spatial restrictions, suspending gardens from the ceiling provides opportunities to abstract the experience of sitting under a tree.
Green walls allow plants to be brought into the space without losing valuable square footage. Green walls can be made of live plants, moss, and faux material to create a feature wall, to divide space, as well as to create a spatial sanctuary for people eating.
Empirical research has found that the presence of water increases feelings of tranquility. Biophilic eating areas that add the presence of water to spaces have several health benefits such as, lower blood pressure and heart rate, decreased stress level, and attention restoration. Water in eating areas has shown to attract people that seek out the vibe and experience.
There are many opportunities to incorporate plants within a biophilic designed eating area. Plants can be accents to rooms, incorporated into walls, ceilings, furniture, and floors, but also utilized holistically where spatial experience is more representative of an indoor wilderness.
Biophilic design also considers patterns as shown in nature. Patterns can be that of fractal sequence, Fibonacci spirals, and organic patterns like that of a honeycomb. Patterns can be incorporated at the macro-level building footprint down to the micro-scale carpet tiles and wall panels.
Incorporating sounds of nature such as wind, rain, water, birds, and wildlife has the ability to accent the biophilic experience being created in the eating area. Additionally, use of acoustic materials to absorb sound can soften harsh noises, just as vegetation and soil dampens sound in the wilderness.
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 commercial spaces, download our in-depth whitepaper.