What Will Biophilic Design Look Like in 10 Years? Here Are 7 Predictions


Biophilic design is the physical manifestation of humans’ intrinsic desire to interact with nature where they live and work. This concept has been gaining momentum since its emergence and will likely be a defining feature of indoor architecture in the near future. 

As the fusion of nature and building motifs becomes more seamless, expect these seven trends to take center stage in biophilic design over the next 10 years.

1. Installation of Living Color Palettes

Why have color schemes inspired by nature when you can have living structures that actually change color with the seasons? Exterior moss walls have become increasingly popular in residential and commercial building design, introducing a dynamic and natural aesthetic.

Throughout the year, moss undergoes subtle changes in shades of green, from bright jade to deep juniper, based on their exposure to varying degrees of sunlight and humidity.

Though studies suggest interior moss walls are not viable at the moment due to the complexities of indoor growth conditions, their appeal is undeniable. These hindering factors are likely to become less relevant as newer innovations in biophilic designs emerge in the coming years.

2. Integration of Bioluminescent Plants

Picture getting some of your interior lighting supply from houseplants. Researchers have identified a special gene in certain fungi that can transform energy into organic light. A company called Light Bio has already made significant strides in developing bioluminescent petunias that emit a subtle green glow in the dark. These autonomously glowing plants open up an exciting world of eco-friendly indoor lighting.

With further research, other shrubs and flowers inside your home or workplace could soon be able to provide even brighter glows, effectively reducing your reliance on electric-powered light fixtures. Imagine having bioluminescent trailing plants like English Ivy or Heartleaf Philodendrons draped along walls and ceilings, adding a cascade of brilliant green light across your interior space.

Outdoors, this glow-in-the-dark gene could be genetically engineered into trees and vegetation to replace street lamps.

3. Increased Focus on Multi-Sensory Experiences

The ability to engage all senses is a key aspect of biophilic design and will likely become a more dominant feature in the next 10 years. This holistic approach includes incorporating natural elements that provide a more immersive experience. For example, walls could be designed to mimic the texture of tree bark. Small fountains can also be integrated into the layout to provide auditory elements from the sound of flowing water.

These additions are just some ways designers create stimulating environments that resonate with humanity’s primal connection to the natural world. More importantly, these elements may also contribute to occupants’ well-being and productivity. It’s fascinating to see how biophilic design revolutionizes spaces into enriching and captivating experiences.

4. Blurred Boundaries Between Inside and Outside

One of the standout trends in biophilic design is indoor-outdoor fluidity, which makes the differences between both spaces feel less pronounced. This element has become more popular and in demand as more people stay inside. On average, Americans spend roughly 90% of their time indoors, whether at home or work. It makes sense that they want to bring in the vibrant, lush outdoor experience inside without compromising comfort.

Blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor environments often involves using rolling doors, large glass installations and retractable walls to create a seamless transition. Picture homes and offices with expansive windows that allow natural light to flood in while providing stunning views of green landscapes. These design choices can make the boundary between your indoor space and nature nearly indiscernible, fostering a sense of freedom and openness.

5. Enhanced Design Personalization and Flexibility

The next decade will likely see an increase in the personalization options in biophilic designs so they are more adaptable to individual requirements. For instance, incorporating modular furniture and movable plant walls allows for unlimited layout possibilities, enabling building occupants to customize their indoor space to their preferences.

This feature would also be highly beneficial in office spaces where employees can find the optimal balance between nature and comfort, improving productivity and work satisfaction. Over time, this level of customization can become a critical aspect of a company’s brand, helping it stand out in a competitive market.

6. Biophilic Design as a Sustainable Practice

As the sustainability trend grows stronger, architects and interior designers will likely feature more biophilic elements to meet compliance requirements. This means prioritizing more eco-friendly materials like recycled composites and repurposed wood to design buildings. There may also be an increased adoption of energy-efficient elements to enhance the connection with nature while promoting environmental conservation.

In addition to being beneficial for the planet, such practices also resonate with clients and employees who are increasingly eco-conscious. By incorporating these sustainable materials into designs, buildings with biophilic designs will be eye-catching and kind to the environment — a total win-win.

7. Improved Technology Integration in Biophilic Design

As building technology evolves, it will play an increasingly pivotal role in expanding the scope of biophilic design. For instance, we might see more advanced systems for controlling natural light, temperature and even smell integrated into interior and exterior spaces.

A good example is smart glass technology, which can change a window’s transparency from clear to frosted on demand. This allows residents to control the amount of natural light as needed to maintain optimal comfort and create a more hospitable environment for indoor plants. It will be interesting to see how this collaboration between technology and nature impacts energy efficiency and leads to more vibrant tech-forward spaces.

Biggest Benefits of Biophilic Design

Several benefits of biophilic design already make the likelihood of these predictions more feasible. These include:

Stress Reduction

Biophilic designs bring the outdoors inside, which can reduce residents’ stress levels. For instance, having an open indoor courtyard can ensure you get access to sunlight and green spaces, which are essential for stress relief. According to reports, being in the sun for five to 15 minutes daily can boost your mood and provide your body with the required dose of vitamin D.

Better Air Quality

Indoor air pollutants can cause health issues and exacerbate existing respiratory problems. Incorporating more plants as part of biophilic design can go a long way in improving air quality and decreasing carbon emissions. For instance, studies show adding more Areca palm plants into your living space can reduce up to 67% of total volatile organic compounds and CO2 by up to 88.5%.

Increased Productivity

Biophilic design can create a more pleasant and comfortable environment, helping to increase workplace productivity. Having natural light, plant-covered walls and unfiltered access to the outdoors can engineer a more relaxing and inspiring atmosphere that can facilitate higher levels of creativity and innovation.

Enhanced Indoor Comfort

Green roofs are integral to biophilic design and provide many benefits, including improved indoor comfort. These roofs help reduce the intensity of the urban island heat effects, so you spend less on cooling your property’s interior. Green roofs also boast incredible longevity and can last twice as long as conventional roofing systems, making them a crucial element in future developments.

Biophilic Design Is the Future of Greener Living Spaces

Whether or not these biophilic designs will come true is a question of time. However, their benefits, especially concerning increased aesthetics, enhanced well-being and sustainability, are undeniable. In the coming years, these design choices will be increasingly vital to satisfying humanity’s innate need to bond with the natural world.

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