26 Jan Design Trend 2024: Biophilic Design for Restaurants
Biophilic design goes beyond aesthetics can enhance sustainability, a diner’s sense of well-being, and the overall dining ambiance of a restaurant. Read on to learn more about its meaning, origin, and how biophilic principles can be applied to the design of restaurants, cafes, or coffee houses.
What is biophilia and what does it mean for sustainable restaurant design?
The term ‘biophilic design’ has become more mainstream over the last few years, especially post pandemic, as we continue to see the importance of reconnecting with nature. However, the concept of biophilia actually dates back to the1980s and an American biologist, Edward O. Wilson. Wilson introduced the term biophilia in his work, referring to the innate human tendency to connect with and seek affinity for nature. He argued that this deep-rooted connection has evolutionary origins and is crucial for human well-being. His work and research inspired architects and interior designers to incorporate these ideas into their work. As it relates to design, there are some key ways we can do this: reduce energy consumption, improve air quality, and use sustainable/ natural materials to extend the lifespan of the design.
Biophilic Design reduces energy consumption and improves air quality.
Biophilic design often incorporates natural lighting and ventilation strategies to optimize the use of available daylight and fresh air. In turn, energy consumption is minimized, leading to a more energy-efficient building. Biophilic design will incorporate plant life into the space, which not only creates a beautiful aesthetic, but can help improve air quality and circulation. A great example of some of these design elements in action is Phoenix’s Ocotillo restaurant.
The restaurant is a mix of indoor/outdoor dining experiences and features desert plants throughout the space. By using local plants that thrive in the Arizona climate, the need for excessive irrigation and maintenance is reduced and the indoor/outdoor layout helps bring natural light and air circulation throughout the space.
Thinking about designing a sustainable café in Phoenix? Contact us!
Natural and Sustainable Materials
Another key element of biophilic design is using natural and sustainable materials, such as responsibly sourced wood, recycled content, and other eco-friendly materials. This can provide an opportunity for some unique and creative solutions. A great example of this is London’s Silo, a zero-waste restaurant.
At Silo, their design focused on innovative ways they could use sustainable materials throughout the space and was thoughtful about how these materials would biodegrade or be repurposed in the future. They used recycled plastic packaging to create the bar and tabletops. Sustainable wood has been sourced for the table bases and pendant lights made of mycelium hanging over the tables. Not even wine bottles went to waste as they were used to create wall sconces!
One more great example that touches on many the concepts above is Philly’s own Frankford Hall. Originally a two-story warehouse, by the time the building was selected for the biergarten it was basically just the shell. Instead of tearing it down and starting new, the existing masonry was left; a sustainable choice, but not a common one when just the shell of the building is purchased. The brick walls give the space an industrial feel while still bringing in the natural texture and material. Since only the shell remained, there was an opportunity to create a courtyard area in the center portion of the space allowing natural light to flood the space and make room for gravel and trees.
New interior elements, like the bar, incorporate reclaimed wood and steel and the restaurant features pivot windows and garage doors to control air flow through the space. This allows for the indoor/outdoor space to be used year round in a more efficient manner. A much different feel than Phoenix’s Ocotillo, but similar design elements at play that make sense for the existing environment of each location. Whether in Phoenix or Philly our design team here at down2earth interior design will be responsive to the natural elements around us. Contact us if you’re interested in discussing your sustainable restaurant design project here.