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The rise of Biophilic design

Connecting people with nature through clever design 

It’s no coincidence during the last two years we have all instinctively been drawn to nature as a way of coping with the world around us, whether it was ocean swimming, walks in nature or just spending more time outside, there is something very special and cathartic about fostering a connection with nature.

Which is why Biophillic Design is having a moment, and not just a moment but an awakening to the way we should have been living all along.

According to Biophilia and Greener Spaces Better Places expert Tonia Gray, Biophilia is the knowledge that we are biologically drawn to nature. 

“In essence, we are hard-wired to prefer natural settings and have an innate psychological need to be in contact with nature and the natural world,’’ she says.

“So, with Biophilic Design, our growth and development is inherently designed around this desire. To me, it comes back to the question “how do we build happy, healthy, resilient and harmonious communities?” Green spaces are a key part of the solution. And I’m heartened by this.”

It can not be underestimated the power that nature has. 


“Similar to our love and lust for life, we all have an innate yearning to be a part of the natural world (it’s no wonder nature is used as a form of therapy to reinstate positive emotions),’’ Tonia says.

“Everyone (whether they realise it or not) has a yearning for bringing nature back into our lives in an intimate way, however, it may be further repressed in some more than others due to our growing disconnect with the natural world. With Biophilic Design, our growth and development is inherently designed around this desire.”

Consciously connecting with nature, whether it’s in the way we arrange the furniture in our homes so as to overlook the greenery of the backyard, or walking barefoot on the earth, grass or sand whenever we have the chance, is one of the easiest way to rewire ourselves and re-embrace our need to be in nature.


Tonia’s 5 tips for adopting Biophilic Design into our homes:

  1. “More green! Vertical hangings, indoor or outdoor plants are key to healthier and harmonious living,’’ Tonia says.
  2. “Plant a tree. Really. It’s easier than it sounds,’’ she says. Whether it’s a tiny sapling or a cutting from a neighbour, you’ll be surprised by how great it feels.
  3. It doesn’t have to be just living plants (although they are the goal), Tonia says, weave arts-based practices into our everyday existence.
  4. “Think about a doctors’ waiting room or dentist chair – there are often pictures of nature to make us feel calm. We can apply the same principle into our homes by decorating our space with nature based themes,’’ she says.
    “Another fun option is creating meals that incorporate nature into our dinner parties – leaving guests with no choice but to reconnect to their native roots.”
  5. “Incorporating environmental features, natural shapes and forms, patterns and processes into our homes can help us bring the natural world back inside,’’ she says. “If you can, set up your indoor spaces with a view of plants (whether this is to the outside world or an indoor haven).




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