Two of my absolute passions in interior design are biophilic design and Feng Shui – both of these design principles are about noticing patterns and replicating nature to bring harmony and well-being into our homes and workplaces. Bringing the outdoors in is a design construct I incorporate into all of my interior design projects, and for which I am sought out by the Northern Territory’s home and business owners for thoughtful design projects.
As human beings we the inside space has an immediate impact upon our senses and consciousness – this impact begins as soon as we enter as our emotions and energy resonates with the ‘vibes’ of the building. I’m sure you can recall entering a building a feeling a distinctly negative vibe, or conversely feeling great energy, warmth, or comfort? Much of the feelings we experience upon entering a space is determined by the design principles (or lack thereof) used in that space.
So, what are the design principles of Feng Shui and biophilic design?
I’m sure you’ve heard of Feng Shui which has been in practice for around 4000 years, but you may not be aware of the principles behind it.
There are four underlying principles in Feng Shui:
- Everything around us is energy
- Your space mirrors your life
- Use nature as your model
- Intention is key
Feng Shui focuses on the energy generated by our spaces and how we can be in harmony with that space – the landform, building design, and a myriad of design details all are considered in how we can make changes or enhance that space to bring it into balance with nature.
Ways that we bring Feng Shui into our homes and workplaces is in reducing clutter which is ‘stuck energy’, ensuring that rooms such as our bedrooms are rooms of relaxation, rest, healing, and intimacy only and free from external distractions such as exercise equipment or work paraphernalia.
Biophilic design emerged from the sciences (biology and psychology) with the term itself coined by social psychologist Eric Fromm in 1964 – later Edward Wilson further popularised it through linkages to neuroscience, endocrinology, and architecture.
Its basis is our innate need as humans to seek a connection with nature in its various forms. We need a connection to nature not only to survive, but to thrive. Studies have shown that people heal faster in environments that include natural light, natural fabrics, colours that soothe, fresh plants and flowers, curves, fresh air, together with a feeling of safety and security. In addition to the benefits on our homes, studies also show that students learn more effectively and workers are more productive in environments with similar attributes. In biophilically designed spaces people also experience less and have a higher tendency to connect with others.
As biophilic design has evolved there are 14 distinct patterns that emphasise our human need to connect to nature within our built environment (especially important in our age of technology where it’s very easy for us to become disconnected and isolated!):
- A visual connection with nature
- Creating a non-visual connection with nature (sound, texture, taste and smell)
- Non-rhythmic sensory stimuli (art, airflow, décor to smell, touch, or feel)
- Variability in thermal airflow mimicking the natural changes we’d experience outdoors
- The presence of water
- Light and shadows that change with time of day or seasons
- A connection to natural systems
- Biomorphic forms and patterns
- Material connection with nature through colour and objects
- Complexity and order as found in nature
- A view that feels open, free, safe and controlled
- Creating a safe, space of one’s own – a refuge or retreat
- Mystery in spaces – to draw us in and surprise
- Risk and peril – through art or décor
As you can see Feng Shui and biophilic design work well together, it’s almost as if one cannot exist without the other!
Both Feng Shui and biophilic design are about noticing patterns and replicating nature to bring harmony and well-being to our living and working spaces. The intention behind the principles of both is to heal our bodies, minds and souls, creating a healthy, happy and productive lifestyle!
You’ll find a complete list of my packages HERE to find out more about how JM Interiors can help you create a home that you’ll love returning to each day – I can work with you on-site or remotely; distance is no barrier! If you’re still unsure about what you need from an interior designer … jump in and book a DISCOVERY CALL and we can work out which is the best way to get your tropical-inspired interior design project started.
And of course don’t forget to do our FUN QUIZ to work out your personal tropical interior design style!