A custom concrete fireplace surround was designed by Sarah Barnard to mimic the gentle horizontal lines of the nearby sea.
SANTA MONICA, Calif. - Lately the terms "biophilia" or "biophilic design" have sprung up across the internet and the interior design blogosphere, posted between beautiful images of sprawling interior design and architecture filled with plants and nature-inspired sculpture installations. Biophilia isn't new but it is a growing discipline in interior design.
 
Biophilia is the inborn desire to be close to nature-and biophilic design aims to make healthy and comfortable interiors by meaningfully incorporating natural elements into one's home and work environments. Los Angeles-based interior designer Sarah Barnard explained how she uses biophilic principles to create healthful, smart spaces for her clients. "It's intuitive when you think about it. Biophilia exists because we are comforted by nature, and we all understand that on some level." Biophilic design puts a few simple principles to use to create spaces that are both visually beautiful and spiritually healthful. As more and more people make their careers their focus, calmness, serenity and healthy living can be difficult to achieve without the help of nature and smart design. There are years of study to support this: spaces that have nature incorporated are more appealing, and they have marked health benefits.
One of a kind wall sconces were hand carved for this Peaceful Palisades Interior by Sarah Barnard Design.
 
There are three subcategories of the design principles: nature in the space, natural analogies, and the nature of the space.
 
Nature in the space refers to the presence of natural elements in an interior, such as plants, shells, or water features. But it could also mean more abstract features, like natural light or light that changes throughout the day, air circulation, and a view to the outdoors. In particular, natural light or light that mimics natural processes (dawn and dusk) can be restorative.
 
Natural analogies refer to art and forms inspired by nature: a light fixture that looks like a plant or a sculpture that looks like an animal, for example. A good designer will find natural forms and art that imitates nature to make a space serene and healthy.
 
Nature of the space means making the space itself seems like nature. Having a large open space through which one can see an expanse of space, as well as an enclosed room that feels safe fulfills this need. When asked for an example of how Nature of the Space might be used, Barnard said "I finished a project recently where the space had floor-to-ceiling windows with a view to the ocean. I selected low profile furniture to preserve the open space of the room and the sightline to the sea."
 
"When you strip it down to basics, using biophilic design means including pieces of nature in the design, elements inspired by nature, and mimicking natural environments with layout, architecture, and planning," Barnard said. Homeowners and building owners especially might consider taking these premises into account to make their home or office a place that promotes their mental and physical wellbeing. Getting started can be as simple as purchasing a few plants. Ideally, a space incorporates nature, smart design, and healthy living.
 
Sarah Barnard is a member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), is certified by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), and is recognized by the International WELL Building Institute as a WELL Accredited Professional (WELL AP), the International Institute for Bau-Biologie & Ecology as a Building Biology Practitioner (BBP) and by the United States Green Building Council as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP). www.sarahbarnard.com
 

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.