14 Biophilic Design Patterns to Improve Your Well-being and Productivity

14 Biophilic Design Patterns to Improve Your Well-being and Productivity

June 16, 2022

Biophilia is humans’ innate desire to return to nature. The design principle incorporating nature into our environment is known as biophilic design.

Many researchers pointed out biophilic design’s advantages over traditional design principles. Often it has to do with well-being and productivity.

Being inspired by nature, biophilic design spans many elements, each with its own advantages to our body and mind.

Here we summarized 14 patterns in biophilic design, classified into three categories.

14 Biophilic Design Patterns

Nature in the Space

Nature in the Space emphasizes direct connection to natural elements, such as plants, animals, water, sunlight, sounds, scents, etc. It brings “natural” elements to “manmade” structures to stimulate our body and mind.

1. Visual Connection with Nature

A visual connection with nature pleases your eyes with visual elements from nature. This pattern utilizes real nature elements and places them in your visual vicinity, such as plants, running water, natural landscapes, etc.

2. Non-Visual Connection with Nature

A non-visual connection with nature provides your other senses, namely smell, hearing, touch, and taste, with natural stimuli. Replacing artificial elements with natural elements proves to be beneficial for physical and mental health.

3. Non-Rhythmic Sensory Stimuli

Non-rhythmic sensory stimuli redirect your attention from tiring mechanical elements of urban life to sudden, natural stimuli. These short, non-rhythmic distractions can replenish your health after struggling against physical and mental stressors.

4. Thermal & Airflow Variability

Thermal and airflow variability provide comfort to your body and mind by alternating the flow of air and temperature in a space. Cycling those elements can reinvigorate your body and mind as a continuous and static environment can lead to boredom and passivity.

5. Presence of Water

The presence of water in a place is generally beneficial for your health. The various stimuli that come from water, such as the water flow, the sound of trickling water, and its cooling effect, work together to refresh you.

6. Dynamic & Diffuse Light

Dynamic and diffuse light in a biophilic design emulates how light works in nature, therefore appealing to our love of nature. This kind of lighting has an impact on mood and performance.

7. Connection with Natural Systems

A connection with natural systems is beneficial for us, due to the fact that we are attuned to nature. One way to benefit from this attunement is to provide our home or workspace with natural elements that remind us of how nature works. Usually, ephemeral elements, such as seasonal plants, work best to emphasize this connection.


Natural Analogues 

Natural Analogues uses indirect evocations of nature. In Natural Analogues, designers borrow, mimic, adapt, or interpret natural elements in their design. The result is an indirect connection to nature.

1. Biomorphic Forms & Patterns

Biomorphic forms and patterns mimic patterns, textures, or numerical arrangements in nature to evoke a positive reaction from you. Although these elements are not the originals, our brain still perceives them as natural and receives positive effects from them.

2. Material Connection with Nature

Using materials from nature to manufacture items in a space elicits a material connection with nature. Manufactured items such as wooden doors, granite floors, and leather seats are examples of things that elicit the connection.

3. Complexity & Order

Mimicking the complexity and order of nature can positively affect your body. Fractal patterns found in nature can be mimicked by artificial constructs. They provide rich information that stimulates our brain.


Nature of the Space

Nature of the Space utilizes spatial configurations to evoke natural feelings. It engages human curiosity and fascination through open spaces and intriguing natural elements.

1. Prospect

Prospect means unimpeded views in this context. Giving a prospect to a place imparts a sense of freedom and happiness.

2. Refuge

Refuge means a place to withdraw; a place of protection. Utilizing refuge evokes safety, calmness, and restoration.

3. Mystery

Mystery elements in a biophilic design can be created by purposefully obscuring our senses. The mystery elements excite our brain by evoking our curiosity.

4. Risk/Peril

Introducing risk and peril to a place adds to our excitement. However, the risk and peril have to be managed appropriately to avoid overstimulation and tiredness.

Which one is the best biophilic design?

There’s no universal standard on which biophilic design is the best. The best practice in implementing biophilic design is to fit them to the local space they will occupy.