Although the exotic outdoors is seen as an idyllic place of relaxation, people still spend the bulk of their time indoors, in their homes, workplaces and shopping centres. This may be why architects and designers now seek design solutions for the future, turning to trends such as ‘biophilia’ as a way to bring nature indoors.

Since the beginning of time, people have turned to nature for their shelter, sustenance, and remedies. Yet with the industrial and technological revolutions came a significant shift in the ways that people interacted with nature. The term ‘biophilia’ means ‘the love of living things’ in ancient Greek. The term was originated by psychologist Erich Fromm in 1964, then made popular by biologist Edward O Wilson in the 1980s, when he noted the manner in which urbanization was producing a disconnect with nature.

The main principle of biophilia involves connecting human beings with nature to enhance their well-being. Building designers can make this connection by involving nature in their designs.

The main idea of biophilic design is to intertwine characteristics of the natural environment into the built environment, like water, foliage, natural light, wood and stone. In place of straight lines are botanical shapes and forms and the establishment of visual connections between light and shadow.

This form of design translates well to the workplace. An employee spends 8-9 hours per day at work, which can result in decreased metabolism rates, enhanced possibility of diabetes and heart diseases, increased possibility of depression, along with pain in the lower back and neck. Building designers have introduced biophilic designs in modern workplaces, producing boosts in productivity and creativity, and a reduction in employee absence.

Wood is an essential ingredient in biophilic designs. An all-natural and highly flexible material, wood devises an automatic connection with the outdoors—this owing to its rich plethora of varieties, colours and textures. As it lines furniture, panels and flooring, polished or unpolished wood reduces stress in beholders.

Wood can be used in all forms of interiors, including hotels, homes, offices and commercial spaces. Wherever wood appears, a vision of the wilderness is produced. And when wood is combined with greenery and natural light, there results a rich palette that promotes one’s well-being.