Biophilic Design: Drawing Upon Natural Analogues

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Our regular readers will know of Interface’s passion for biophilia; an innate love for the natural world. Human beings have an intrinsic affinity towards nature. This affinity can make us feel more relaxed, reduce stress and enhance creativity when we feel we are connected to nature. Biophilic design capitalises on this and incorporates natural elements into a design or space.

Bio 1

There are three ways of introducing biophilia into a space. Perhaps the most obvious way is by bringing nature inside, using potted plants or, plant walls. Not only do building users benefit from the aesthetic and emotional lift of indoor plants, there are also often improvements to indoor air quality.


The second approach to incorporating boiphilic design into buildings is also quite overt. The very nature of the space around a building and how an architect pays homage to that natural world, either through integration or juxtaposition can be enormously powerful.  Exploiting the natural vista of a location is the most obvious technique here.

Thirdly, natural analogues or organic designs can also introduce biophilia into a space. This is the use of design, which indirectly or symbolically reference elements of nature. Shapes, materials and textures that are found in nature can be used to inspire interior construction. This can take the form of a curved staircase that reflects the inside of a shell, the scales of a fish that inspire wallpaper or textile design or a stretch of dense forest floor, embodied in  modular carpet tile.

1. UR101 Charcoal Lichen, 2. UR103 Lichen, 3. B701 Arctic, 4. B601 Driftwood, 5. Over The Edge Lofty M0980 Custom Colour, 6. HN830 Maize, 7. HN840 Pumice

1. UR101 Charcoal Lichen, 2. UR103 Lichen, 3. B701 Arctic, 4. B601 Driftwood, 5. Over The Edge Lofty M0980 Custom Colour, 6. HN830 Maize, 7. HN840 Pumice

You only have to look as far as Jørn Utzon’s iconic Sydney Opera House design to see how drawing inspiration from organic forms can produce breathtaking results. Organic forms were important principles in Utzon’s design, as can be seen in the shell shapes, leaf formations of the roof tiles and the natural hue of the exterior.

Curved facades and rooflines, natural material hues such as stone, sand and earth or the addition of landscaping are all elements of biophilic design that helps us marry the beauty of nature and the functionality and our built environments.


Biophilia is a pivotal principal that inspires creativity here at Interface. Our Net Effects, Urban Retreat and Human Nature collection all draw upon the unique and ever-evolving characteristics found within nature.

Interface provides a foundation for beautiful thinking made possible through its system of holistically designed carpet tiles which incorporate the benefits of biophilic design and leave us with relaxing and balanced interior spaces.



Sydney Opera House, Utzon Design Principles, May 2002

Australian Heritage Database, Sydney Opera House

Terapin Bright Green

Human Spaces – biophilia


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