Contrary to popular belief, biophilic design does not mean simply putting a few indoor plants in the door of your restaurant, and a handful of natural paintings on the walls. Biophilic design incorporates a lot more than simply greenery-inspired design and décor – rather, it recognises and highlights the connection between human spirit and nature and how the natural world supports our strive for ultimate wellbeing.
One of the easiest ways to really understand and get to the heart of biophilic design is by recognising that it changes according to the impact of man on the surrounding world – keeping us connected to nature while still innovating our surroundings. By that we mean that biophilic design is as much about bridging the natural world with industry, as it is about connecting an interior setting with natural elements that belong and contribute towards health and wellbeing.
In order for a restaurant to be considered biophilic in its design, different areas and aspects of the restaurant need to tap into and directly link back to the natural world – demonstrating cohesive engagement which satisfies the human desire to immerse oneself in nature. It could be through shapes and sweeping lines, it could be through materials and details. It could even be through the use of light and how it moves through a space.
To make this easier to understand, this article is packed full of ideas and tips on how to breathe the natural world into your own restaurant design.
But first, what are the benefits for guests?
The benefits of biophilic design – and why guests love it
Biophilic design brings nature inside in such a way that it feels both seamless and entirely immersive. For guests, not only does it create the kind of experience, which is memorable and unique, but when it comes to dining out it makes the meal feel more immersive and all-encompassing.
It is widely believed that the meals we remember the most owe as much to the setting and atmosphere as they do to the food. By that we mean that food, which is enjoyed in a specific setting, with the perfect atmosphere to compliment the dish, tastes better through the experience as a whole.
Biophilic design taps into this, while also satisfying the very human need to feel connected with nature in order to make us feel calmer, more productive, and more at peace with the world.
Ways to incorporate biophilic design into your restaurant
Here are just a few ways to incorporate biophilic design into your restaurant.
1. Integrate sweeping lines throughout the space
Modern design is often characterised by angular edges and sharp lines – however, biophilic design is more about the natural shapes which occur in nature. From arched doorways to sweeping booths and rounded edges which separate different areas of the restaurant, this is a subtle way of softening your interior and infusing shapes which diners will recognise from the natural world.
2. Consider the flow of light
Natural light remains one of the best ways to bridge inside and outside spaces, with biophilic restaurant design needing to pay close attention to how light is used during the day and into night.
Sunlight is an inherently biophilic design feature, but when the sun sets and evening sets in, it can be difficult to replicate. Finding ways of warming your inside space even when sunlight is not available is key, with our advice being to combine overhead lights with more intimate fittings which grant each table its own privacy.
3. Focus on the elemental materials
Wood has long been a popular material in restaurant and other interior design, owing to its versatile aesthetic and varying degrees of patterning, as well as its durability and neutral colour palette. But wood isn’t the only material that provides a biophilic element to your restaurant design, with leather and stone other materials which tap directly into the natural world.
Surrounding these materials with earthy colours further enhances this aesthetic focus on the great outdoors – think greens and browns, beiges, and other neutral tones.
4. Take inspiration from your restaurant location
Some of the most effective biophilic restaurants are those which take inspiration from the surrounding landscape and from their location – replicating shapes from nearby buildings and viewpoints into the design of the restaurant. If, for example, you’re surrounded by English countryside and green hills, factor these rolling hills into the shapes of your wall décor. Replicate the flow of a curving river through the walkways which separate tables on the restaurant floor and take colours and patterns from local landmarks and use them in your design.
Biophilic design is, first and foremost, a connection between an interior setting and the natural world beyond – encompassing the impact of nature on the setting and finding ways of bringing outside influences inside. It is both welcoming and awe-inspiring and is an effective way of making guests feel relaxed and inherently human – as well as connected with the natural world outside.