Armed with 19 years of experience Meena Murthy Kakkar is the Design Head at Envisage, an Interior and Architecture firm specializing in Design and Build projects.
A genuine love for everything that is naturally indoors is the underlying principle of biophilic design. Incorporating elements of nature- air, water, light and greens- enhances the space visually and uplifts the room’s quality and atmosphere. Biophilic concepts help to create a bridge between nature and interior spaces by means of a human-centric approach to design. With increased stress levels globally, especially amidst the pandemic, a connection with nature in your homes or offices is a suitable solution for one’s physical, mental and emotional well-being. It is a holistic way of approaching design that helps people slow down and stay calm.
Primarily, enabling maximum penetration of natural light in your interiors is a great way to instil an integral element of nature. Altering the conventional wooden windows to contemporary UPVC or aluminium with minimal members can ensure plentiful sunlight inside. Additionally, allowing abundant fresh air into interior spaces refreshes and improves the quality of the room’s atmosphere. An ingenious way of permitting fresh air without worrying about insects is to cover the openable windows with a bug mesh. Easy to install and available in disparate finishes and colours, the mesh is a handy tool for protection against weather conditions, dust etc. In addition, spaces should be designed for adequate cross-ventilation to penetrate a good amount of natural light and air.
Biophilic designs are incomplete without plants! Fill your homes with as many greens as you can manage and maintain. However, selecting the right kind of plants is vital as not all of them survive indoors, especially in corners where sunlight is more diminutive. Plants are natural air fresheners, and their colour psychology helps restore energy and clear one’s mind. Nowadays, there are many interesting ways of incorporating plants into your interior spaces like metal racks, pots, brackets and hanging planters. While many opt for artificial plants indoors, the essence of natural plants is unmatched, especially when it comes to biophilic design. Another natural element that can be highly relaxing and therapeutic is the ‘sound of water’. Water bodies and planters are an excellent combination to incorporate to make indoor spaces calm and peaceful. Sprucing up your spaces with natural colours like ochre, greens, and browns uplifts the mood and sets the room’s tone.
A biophilic design does not only include elements of nature, but even natural materials. Using sustainable and eco-friendly materials instead of plastics and leather is environmentally better and a good alternative to hazardous materials. Materials like cane, jute and bamboo are natural substitutes for standard building materials available today. An overly interesting approach to biophilic design is to incorporate art that emulates nature– scenery, birds, flowers etc., that remind one of nature! Artworks with colours and elements of nature augment the vibrancy and placidity of the space.
Extensive advancement in technology has enabled farming in your balconies. Hydroponics, a state-of-the-art technique, allows one to grow vegetables vertically in tiny spaces like terraces and balconies, requiring minimal soil. Installation of these vertical farms is done by professionals, and currently, many companies offer the same. Urban farming is also predicted to be the next big thing that would be a game-changer in biophilic design concepts and an environmentally conscious world.
Every space has elements of nature, although the extent may vary. That said, a dedicated effort to include natural materials, fresh air, natural sunlight and greens is the need of the hour– not only for physical well-being but also for one’s mental welfare.