Pathway Through Bamboo

What does Biophilia Mean? And Why is Biophilic Design Important?

Savvy highlighted the health benefits of indoor plants in past posts on easy care indoor plants and bonsai trees, but not everyone wants to care for live plants. Have a black thumb when it comes to keeping even the hardiest plants alive?  Biophilic design connects you with nature. Biophilia is a term made popular by psychoanalyst Erich Fromm in the 1960's. The term is derived from "bio" meaning life and "philia" meaning friendly feeling toward, essentially meaning "love of life". Edward O. Wilson popularized the term in his book "Biophilia" published in 1984 suggesting humans are genetically predetermined to be attracted to nature due to evolution.

Path Through Bamboo
Psychology Today
dives into biophilia suggesting:
  • Nature generates wonder and awe, the grandeur of the universe puts personal worries into perspective to focus on the world.
  • Nature is a restorative environment leading to cognitive benefits including less mental fatigue, lowering stress, improving memory, enhancing creativity.
  • Stronger connections to landscapes, animals and water improve survival skills.

    Recent extreme weather and the ongoing pandemic reinforce people's need to respect and embrace nature. Check out the Biophilia Foundation for information related to conservation efforts to preserve biodiversity.

    Urban living and sprawl can make it difficult to spend consistent time outdoors; heck some people spent the last 18 months inside, and that is where biophilic interior design and biophilic architecture come into play. Echoing nature through the use of scale, pattern, dimension, light, layout, sound, and materials all boost personal well belling. Think about walking into a restaurant with hard, shiny, plastic furniture, harsh lighting and noise literally bouncing off the walls. Did you just imagine a fast food outlet? Compare that to walking into a space with aged wood flooring, textured walls of brick or stone, shadow boxes overflowing with plants and flowers, intimate seating arrangements with soft cushions and pillows, natural sunlight filtering in through the windows, and soft music that doesn't drown you out. Is this your favorite coffee shop or store you tend to linger in?

    Painted Wall Pink Flamingo

    Home décor is once again trending towards natural materials, textures and organic shapes rich in biophilia to help bring your love of nature inside. Next week we share specific tips that anyone, in any space can use to reconnect with nature. Add a comment at the end of this post to share your ideas or favorite spots.

    Thanks for reading. Below are some other brands committed to reducing their impact on the environment and raising social awareness.


    We may receive a small commission from links in this post, but we think these companies are worth sharing.

    Inspiring Reads -

    Fund literacy and protect the planet when you buy books from Certified B Corporation, Better World Books. We hope the books mentioned below inspire your journey.



    by Edward Osborne Wilson

    This book this kicked off the whole Biophilic Design trend. It’s a must have on any designer, architect or urban planner’s bookshelf. The line most often quoted is “biophilia, which I will be so bold as to define as the innate tendency to focus on life and lifelike processes.” People often go on to explain that what that means is that it is an essential need in us to connect with nature, to be surrounded by nature, and if we cut ourselves off from it we get sick....



    by Sally Coulthard

    A natural design for living well. Examining the branches of a "biophilic home", the ten inspiring chapters incorporate science, psychology and practical décor advice for making positive and accessible changes in the home or at work. Beautifully produced this makes a great gift.

    Birthright: People and nature in the modern world

    Birthright: People and nature in the modern world

    by Stephen R. Kellert

    Human health and wellbeing is inextricably linked to nature; our connection to the natural world is part of our biological inheritance. In this book, a pioneer in the field of biophilia - the study of human beings' inherent affinity for nature - sets forth the first full account of nature's powerful influence on the quality of our lives.

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    In Case You Missed It - VIVAIA logo

    VIVAIA offers a wide selection of comfortable, stylish women's shoes that are eco-friendly and zero waste by using upcycled materials and 3D technology. Plastic bottles are recycled to make thread, wool comes from happy sheep, infused herbs neutralize insole odors, carbon-free outsoles, simple packaging from recycled cardboard and a commitment to audit and monitor factory conditions for fair, safe employee first working conditions using renewable energy.  Flats are machine washable, heeled shoes hand washing recommended.  Click on your personal style and step into conscious comfort.

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    Santicler manufactures beautiful, easy to care for women's apparel, made with nontoxic materials from renewable resources for the lowest environmental impact . Committed to social responsibility, material ethically sourced and zero waste processes. Packaging is recycled or biodegradable materials without compromising on quality.  As summer winds down we encourage you to jump to their site and get ready for cooler weather with soft, luxurious apparel and accessories. Shop Santicler products.

    East Fork Pottery takes a stand for social equality.  Partnering with community outreach organizations to stretch outside their comfort zone; paying employees a living wage, they are now working towards increasing wages to a family living wage.  Receiving Carbon Neutral Certification and B Corporation Certification has inspired them to make even greater changes. East Fork's About Page was part of our inspiration for starting The Savvy Elephant. AND we haven't even touched on how stunning and beautiful their pottery is!  See for yourself by clicking through to the East Fork Website.  

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